Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

Season 4 Episode 9

Puerto Rico

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jun 09, 2009 on Travel Channel

Episode Recap

Andrew finds forests, beaches, colonial buildings and high rises in Puerto Rico. The culture and the cuisine of the culture is based on a mixture of Spanish, Taino and African influences, and at the La Bombonera, the oldest coffee shop in the area, he meets Chef Maira Isabel Morales for a meal which includes Majorca (Spanish pastries) and cocas, a type of pizza with vegetables and sardines. At the Piaza de Marketos, the largest local market, Andrew is introduced to the algarroba fruit, maui drink made from tree bark and corazon, which Andrew calls really bad. He also discovers star apples or caimetos.
On the Pork Highway, Andrew reaches Cavey who specializes in pork. El Rancho Original is a lechonero (a pork restaurant), which serves slow roasted pork. All the parts of the pig are served and Andrew raves on the tail to the ear to the toe and nose. The dinner is followed by a festival, but Andrew and Maira are soon off to a mountain top restaurant so inaccessible that it doesn't have a name or appear on tours. The location is favored for its pork and rabbit. Maira never eats the rabbit, but Andrew coaxes her into it.
Andrew is then off to Arecibo and snack shacks called kioskos. He visits the El Nuevo Guyabo, the only place for ceti, a tiny transparent fish made into empanada sandwiches. It's then off to the mountain city of Lares for ice cream served with beer, meat, chicken, sesame seeds, bacalao (codfish), rice, beans and corn. At the Heliadara Lares in the beach city of Pinoes, Andrew finds more food kiosks for mofongo or fried foods made with meat, seafood and vegetables from Africa.
Raymond Sepulveda, a local guide, takes Andrew through the Toro Negro Forest Preserve for a look at the plants and items of the forest. He invites Andrew to a dip in a sacred pond under a waterfall and then it's off to the Morales Family Farm for dinner. Dinner consists of guinea fowl meat in a stew and morcilla, homemade blood sausage. Another dish consists of gandinga, braised stew from the throwaway parts of the pig deep-fried.
In San Juan, the oldest settlement on the island, structures date back to Spanish occupation, but Andrew seeks out Wilo Benet, the chef of the Pilayago Restaurant. With Jose Alvarea, a segway guide, they have a dinner of tripleto, a three-meat dinner of ham, chicken and beef at a street shop so good that Andrew raves over it.
At the Pikayo Restaurant within a local museum, Wilo explains to Andrew her method for modern takes in restoring old dishes. She makes sofrio with the meat off pig's feet and in a stew with vegetables. Andrew raves about the dish, closing the show with a review on Puerto Rico and the fine dining it provides.