Lechoneras of Guavate
The town of Cayey is situated near San Juan, and many of the locals from nearby cities flock to a well-known district in the town every weekend, namely Guavate. For most Puerto Ricans weekends are the ideal occassion to spend time with their families and to ensure a delightful experience they seek out the best places to enjoy a tasty meal. Sundays especially are used for family lunch outings, and there is no better destination in Puerto Rico than Guavate to enjoy lechon.
Lechon is roast pork, and the residents of Guavate have gained worldwide recognition for their skill at being able to offer the tastiest and softest lechon. Traditionally the entire pig would be spiced to perfection and then placed on a varita (a wooden spit) over an open fire. Today a steel spit it used, for health reasons, but the taste and tenderness of the meat still remains the same. It takes approximately six to eight hours for the roast pork to be cooked, after which experienced restaurant workers carve up the meat, ready for serving. For visitors who do not eat pork, there are many other tasty dishes on the menu, such as tender chicken, sausage and turkey, which is served with a variety of side dishes, including rice, tostones, beans and mofungo. Lechoneras (establishments that specialize in lechon) are located throughout Guavate and are at their busiest over weekends.
Lechoneras are usually situated near the roadside and are often surrounded by forests and small streams, allowing children to play and frolic while adults enjoy the festive atmosphere of the establishment. During the week, many of the restaurants are closed, and those that are open offer a very quiet lunchtime retreat. On weekends, however, Guavate is usually filled with music, dancing and drinking, luring many young locals and travelers to enjoy its vibrancy and is known as the place to be to meet up with friends and family. Visiting Guavate, and its festive lechoneras, is a recommended attraction in Puerto Rico, as it is a rare, tasty and unique experience that cannot be enjoyed anywhere else in the world.