On the small island of Vieques, some eight miles from the main island of Puerto Rico, is an unexpected surprise, a burgeoning food truck scene with colorful trucks serving Caribbean, Latin American, and Puerto Rican fare.
During the week, the trucks gather in Isabelle where the city government offices are located, and on the weekend, they congregate along the beach in Esperanza, near the Malecon, the main street in Vieques populated with bars, restaurants, and shops. The trucks and stands selling pinchos (savory chicken and beef skewers) are almost always parked at the ferry terminal, one of two ways to get to Vieques from the mainland and other Caribbean islands — the other is to hop on a plane (but there are no food trucks at the airport).
If you haven’t rented a car or bike, you can easily get to the food trucks by hoping on a publica, a commuter van that traverses the island, which spans roughly 20 miles, or hire a car through your hotel. Some of the island’s 8,000 inhabitants even arrive via horse as there are 3,000 wild horses that roam the island, descendants of those brought by Spanish explorers in the 15th to 19th centuries.
No matter where your visit takes you in Vieques, here are five food trucks to try:
La Pabrille de Angel: This silver and red truck cooks up traditional Puerto Rican cuisine just like your abuela makes. Try the carne guisada (beef in tomato sauce) or muslo de pollo con cadera asado (grilled chicken leg). The portions are enough to feed two. For a snack, try the tostones (fried plantains).
Pastelillos de Alcapurrias: The aptly named Pastelillos de Alcapurrias specializes in street snacks like alcapurrias (a fried meat fritter) and pastries like papas rellenas (a ball of mashed potatoes stuffed with meat or seafood).
Try the papas rellenas at Pastelillos de Alcapurrias. Photo credit: Lauren Mack
Los Colombians: As the name suggests, Los Columbians serves Columbian dishes like choipapas, thinly sliced spicy sausage placed atop French fried plantains, and smothered in cheese.
No Name: The unnamed pastel green truck near the Malecon serves a menu of home-style Puerto Rican fare like arroz y gandules y carne guisada (rice with pigeon peas and beef stew) and chuleta frita (fried pork chop), along with snacks like meat and chicken pastelillos. Save room for desserts like besos de coco (coconut bars) and tembleque (a traditional pudding dessert of grated coconut, coconut milk, and cinnamon) and a refreshing glass of horchata de ajonjoli (an icy concoction of sesame seed milk and cinnamon).
Sol Food: Often parked at the entrance of Sun Bay, Sol Food serves pinchos (skewered meat) like garlic shrimp; chicken with garlic, cilantro, and vinegar; and empanadas in flavors like traditional beef with capers and green olives and ham with Cheddar, Swiss, and aged gouda.
Lauren Mack is the Travel Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.