As with any major holiday, Puerto Ricans have a particular menu for Christmas. Fruitcake, egg nog (as you know it) and ham take a back seat to island specialties.
Not surprisingly, a certain roast suckling pig everyone knows and loves makes an appearance, but so do pasteles and tembleque and the 'Rican version of egg nog.
Here's the full Christmas menu.
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Lechón, or roast suckling pig, is a sacred food all over the island, a weekend tradition and the perfect thing for group gatherings. But in Christmas it takes on additional importance; for most Puerto Ricans, no holiday is complete without it. There's a reverence around the lechón at Christmastime, and most 'Ricans will have a home-cooked version waiting for them ... or else.
If you want to recreate a 'Rican Christmas classic, start with this recipe.
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Pasteles, or meat pastries, are a very traditional Christmas food. Usually made with pork, they're wrapped in plantain leaves and paper for a festive, Christmas-gifty look. But as with any gift, it's what inside the packaging that counts!
The ones shown here are much fancier, and not typical of a Christmas pastel, but they're still pretty delicious. For the Christmas version, our own Latin food guide, Hector, has a great recipe.
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A coconut-based pudding will go down smooth and easy after a rich holiday meal. Actually, I've had tembleque in this form, as brought to you by Hector, and as a hard jello-like cake.
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Puerto Rico's take on egg nog combines rum, cinnamon, cloves, coconut and egg. It's a rich, creamy drink, and every 'Rican house will have a glass ready on Christmas Day. Here's the recipe.