Feature,  First Bite,  Spring 2020

Chef Ryan Owen’s Review of Mofongo Relleno From Guavate Puerto Rican Eatery

Review of mofongo relleno

Mofongo is one of the most iconic dishes of Puerto Rican cuisine locally and worldwide. Unfortunately, I hadn’t been exposed to this amazing dish until I moved to Orlando in 2006. 

I walked into Guavate in East Orlando, I tried their version of mofongo, and it was love at First Bite. Mofongo is made from green or ripe plantains, yucca, or a mixture of the 3, better known as trifongo. My absolute favorite is the one made with yucca, but all the variations are good.

The original dish wasn’t as elaborate as the version that I enjoy these days. It was green plantains that had been deep-fried and mashed in a pilón or food mortar, then mixed with chicken broth and or butter accompanied by some sort of protein. 

My favorite mofongo dish

My favorite is mofongo relleno, which is stuffed with your choice of protein and sauce. The sauce can vary from an al ajillo, which is a garlic-butter sauce to and a la Criolla, which is a tomato-based sauce with onions and garlic and even a cream sauce or chimichurri. 

I have traveled to Puerto Rico numerous times and tried variations of this dish from coast to coast trying to find the best one. I did enjoy most of the mofongos I ate on the island, but they were all a disappointment when compared to the one at Guavate Puerto Rican Eatery in Orlando, FL. What makes theirs so special is how they incorporate the fat and pieces of the crunchy cracklings from their Pernil or roast pork into the mash.

Review of mofongo Guavate Puerto Rican Eatery

For this review, I visited the restaurant recently after not coming for many years and I’m glad to say the food is just as good as I remembered it. I ordered my favorite mofongo made from yucca, stuffed with shrimp and smothered in garlic-butter sauce, which is just a piece of heaven on a plate. I also ordered somewhat of my personalized creation to mix it up, the green plantain mofongo stuffed with skirt steak smothered in a la Criolla sauce and topped with two large pieces of crunchy pork skin. They were both incredible. 

The years have taken a toll on the venue and it’s dingier than it used to. The place definitely needs a facelift, but the food and the warmth from the staff are still impeccable!  

Chef Ryan Owen

Orlando Food Critic