My love story with mofongo began in 2019 on a family trip to Puerto Rico. After we had dropped our bags off at the hotel, we ventured out to fill our stomachs. We stumbled into a nearby restaurant, and on the menu, there were a ton of mofongo options. I distinctly remember my first bite: a mound of mashed, fried green plantain layered with garlicky, saucy, spicy chicken creole. From this point forward, mofongo became my favorite Puerto Rican dish, one of the many reasons I can't wait to go back to the island.
Mofongo is undoubtedly the most popular Puerto Rican dish. Its primary ingredient, plantains, is one of the island's most harvested crops, along with coffee and sugarcane. I wanted to try making mofongo for myself, so I reached out to Executive Chef Ramon Carrillo, a native Puerto Rican who helms the kitchens of Wyndham Grand Rio Mar. I first met Carrillo during my trip in 2019, where I devoured his mofongo at Iguanas Cocina Puertorriqueña and learned more about the soul-enriching dish. I learned mofongo originated from enslaved people from Angola and other parts of Africa, who brought plantains to the island in the 1500s. Not only is mofongo a favorite among locals, but it also represents the complex, often overlooked history of the island.