I walked to Orozco’s on Ashford Avenue. As I was entering, the host standing outside said, “we have the best mofongo.” Who doesn’t?
I ordered the fish mofongo made with grouper for $13, plus orange juice. The restaurant first served complimentary slices of garlic bread along with the orange juice. I love garlic bread. It was just missing cheese. I didn’t eat all of the slices as I wanted to save my appetite for the mofongo.
When the waiter brought out the mofongo, its portion appeared small: about the size of a Big Mac. It tasted good but nothing amazing. The mofongo was made with mashed plantain. It had a sauce that was bland. Maybe my Sri Lankan palate expected more spices (I was born in Sri Lanka). After a few more bites, I felt I was working to finish the meal instead of savouring it. Though it looked small, it was heavy and filling due to the starchy plantain. I took more slices of garlic bread and ate it with the sauce.
The next day, I went to Old San Juan with my French friend Max. He tried to open a bank account at Banco Popular but was unable, because he didn’t have the proper documentation. Afterwards, we walked around the fort and went to the mofongo hut at Plaza Colón.
I wanted to get to the bottom of this and see if mofongo is the real deal.
I ordered the Beef Trifongo (casabe, yellow and green plantain) Mofongo for $6 plus an Orange Fanta. This mofongo was fast-food style. I saw the cook take it from the fridge and warm it up in the microwave. The portion was smaller than Orozco’s Fish Mofongo. The Trifongo was actually decent and not as bland as Orozco’s. The meat was clearly ground beef, but the fat added flavour to the mofongo.
I think the key to a good mofongo is less starchy vegetables, a good sauce, spices, and the meats ability to marinate the plantain.
Overall, the Puerto Rican Mofongo is overrated and not a must-try. My roommate Mattias, who has eaten mofongo, agreed.
Maybe, I misfired on ordering a real Puerto Rican Mofongo. Let me know how you find Puerto Rican Mofongo.