Boulevards & Byways

Where to go for Lechon in Puerto Rico

The Best Lechon in Puerto Rico

For those in Puerto Rico the holidays  mean indulging in the traditional meal of lechon asado or roasted pig. But we don’t have to wait for a holiday to enjoy lechon and celebrate with family and friends. We’ll direct you to where to go for lechon in Puerto Rico.

 

Here’s where to go for the best lechon in Puerto Rico.

How to get to Guavate:

The barrio of Guavate in the east central hills of Puerto Rico revolves around all things pork – all year round – and whenever I get a chance to spend some time in Puerto Rico, lechon is one of the foods I crave. It’s a bit off the beaten path but well worth the trip.

Crispy skin, well-seasoned and brown. Smoky meat, moist and juicy. Is your mouth watering yet? Did I forget to mention, the whole seasoned pig is roasted on a spit over an open fire.

 

Getting to Guavate is part of the adventure. The snake like hill and pencil thin roads are oftentimes barely wide enough for two cars. Route 184 goes through the verdant Sierra De Cayey Mountains. There’s no town in site, but the lush jungle parts its leaves just enough to reveal teasing glimpses of lush valleys below and verdant mountain peaks above. A few horses lazily graze close to the byway and on occasion, a hut pops up around a hairpin turn.

What you will find in Guavate:

The GPS wasn’t needed to tell us when we reached our destination. Better known as Pork Highway, civilization smacked us in the face as soon as we heard the pounding music, smelled the smokiness of the roasting pigs, and viewed the swinging hips of the locals as they partied to the beat of salsa on the open-air dance floors. The abundant signs for Pina coladas and cervesas beckon all who pass for something cool to drink. Local families buying trinkets and souvenirs for their children who pull at their sleeves into the myriad of shops. There’s traffic, yes traffic. It comes to a stop as everyone searches for a place to park. It gave us time to gaze upon the golden lechon proudly on display in the front windows of the lechoneras, and long lines of hungry customers waiting their turn to be served.

We were directed to park in a lot for a $5 fee and pondered which establishment had the tastiest, most succulent, crispy skin Lechon. Lechonera Los Pinos – one of the many open air eateries with its tin roof and cafeteria style service caught our attention by the  long ine of waiting patrons on the street.

Swinging down his machete, the carver cuts the lechon in one quick chop, There is no menu.  We selected an assortment of  delectable side dishes all of which are on display in steam trays behind the glass counter; Arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), yucca, tostones de platanos (fried green plantains), morcilla (blood sausage) and longaniza (pork sausage). It’s all served on picnic fare – paper plates and plastic utensils – at approximately $8-$10 a plate. We were treated to live music as we ate and several couples jumped up to enjoy a lively dance. It’s a place for families, couples, singles and children. All are welcome. All have a love of lechon and tradition.

Go on a Saturday or Sunday to get the full experience – and get there before noon to avoid massive crowds. Tradition, adventure and great food. It’s what the best lechon in Puerto Rico is all about.

Lechonera Los Pinos
Carrer 184, Puerto Rico
(About 1 hour from Old San Juan)

 

 

 

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