By Kurt Pitzer; Tara Stevens
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Extra resources for Adventure guide to Puerto Rico
The music comes in a number of forms, and mixes a sultry array of rhythm instruments with Afro-Caribbean musical styles. Tito Puente, the godfather of salsa, fused big-band jazz with the maracas, bongos, timbales, conga drums and claves of Africa and the Caribbean to create what remains the world’s favorite salsa music. Although Puerto Rico has fewer salsa clubs than one might expect, plenty of bars in San Juan and around the island pump this music from the jukebox at ear-splitting volume, long into the night.
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If anything can be called the national dish of Puerto Rico, it’s mofongo (mashed plantain balls flavored with pork rinds) or mofongo relleno (stuffed). Both are served with broth and chicken, fish or meat. The latter involves lining a 10-inch length of bamboo with mashed plantain and then stuffing it with juicy seafood, chicken, pork or beef, and baking the whole thing. If you haven’t had mofongo, you haven’t really tried Puerto Rican food. 36 n Food: A Taste of Puerto Rico AFTER THE MEAL Finish your meal in true Puerto Rican style, with a tembleque (coconut flan), flan (caramel custard), or guava shells stuffed with a mild, milky local cheese.