Hope tastes like plantains and pernil. Two years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit Puerto Rico, rebuilding efforts have led to an increased emphasis on sustainable farming, breaking up the colonial legacy of industrialized agriculture and reliance on imported food while also doubling down on native ingredients.

Now local farmers enjoy steady business from seasonally minded chefs pushing the culinary heritage of cocina criolla. Both farmers and chefs are powered by a resilient spirit that can be witnessed in real time, as La Placita de Santurce is packed once more with dancers balancing flaky empanadillas and Medalla beer. At these upstart and legacy spots, the food of Puerto Rico has never felt more Puerto Rican.

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