Puerto Rico food scene thriving after string of disasters

The Puerto Rican food scene had reached its peak. Young chefs were inventing delicious new creations, restaurants popped up all over the island, the industry was no longer reliant on tourist season.

Then a series of calamities hit: a hurricane, a series of earthquakes, a pandemic.

Each time, Puerto Ricans recovered and rebuilt — restaurant owners right there with them. Now, as the pandemic starts to wane, the Puerto Rican food scene is thriving again.

“It’s been rocky, but we’re resilient,” said chef Mario Pagán, who owns five restaurants in Puerto Rico. “You can definitely see it coming back around now.”

Traditional Puerto Rican cuisine is a blend of African, Spanish and Caribbean flavors, with stews, fish, arroz con pollo, mofongo, sofrito and adobo among the staples.

The scene began to expand as young chefs took what they learned from universities and culinary schools to the streets. They put modern

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