what: Mofongo and fried pork
where: Sabor Tropical food truck, facebook.com/scsabortropical/
A classic Puerto Rican dish, mofongo consists of green plantains that are deep fried like french fries until crispy on the outside and creamy in the center. The plantains are then mashed and typically combined with salt, garlic, oil and often bits of pork skin known as chicharrón. The mash is then formed into a ball or stuffed inside a goblet and served with meat or seafood.
Mofongo is a well-loved dish with complicated roots. It was created by slaves brought by the Spanish from West Africa. They used the land and available goods to adapt a traditional African dish called fufu. Fufu similarly involves starchy vegetables like cassava, boiled down and mashed with some liquid to form a doughy consistency. Mofongo is the evolution, taking the tradition of fufu and combining the abundant plantain found in Puerto Rico with Spanish ingredients like the pork, garlic and oil.
Mofongo became more readily available in Columbia recently with the opening of Sabor Tropical, a Puerto Rican food truck offering variations of mofongo alongside specialty pressed Caribbean sandwiches like the Cuban, roast pork and more.
This week’s Bite features the classic version of mofongo with fried pork chunks known as carne frita. The fried plantains have a balance of creamy and crispy textures along with bites of chicharrón that provide a ton of pork flavor throughout. The pieces of pork are massive, yet still juicy and tender. The accompanying salad of lettuce and tomato may seem silly, but actually goes a long way in bridging all the heavy components together.
Sabor Tropical features several fun Puerto Rican drink offerings to wash your mofongo down. The most fun is Kola Champagne, a bubblegum-esque soda created by Angel Rivero Mendez, who was a captain in the Spanish Army during the Spanish-American war. Check their Facebook page for the truck’s next location.