Longanizas de orocovis: Bar Restaurante La Sombra y Longanizas Doña María

La Ruta de la Longaniza: A Taste of Orocovis | by VIEWPR

by Cristina Pérez

A view of Orocovis from PR-156 with the author, who is taking a rest from the winding roads (photo: Eric Rodriguez)

Dozens of travelers — a bit weary after traversing the curves of Orocovis, but always enthused — line up their cars in front of the chinchorros and sit wherever they can. Locals and visitors gather around the tables, chatting loudly to hear each other over the timbales’ rhythmic, metallic thumps.

Salsa dancers take over the improvised dance floor, and everyone stares at them, gauging their time to join in on the dancing. Although it may look like a special celebration to a visitor, locals know that this joyful gathering happens on a weekly basis.

A waiter soon approaches the table and gets the order; large trays of longaniza — served in different ways — accompanied by mouthwatering mofongo sway back and forth from the kitchen to the tables. Evidently, the only way to succeed in a chinchorreo tour is to share the food with your fellow travelers.

Pork longaniza with tostones and salad in Ciclon Sports Bar & Grill (photo: Cristina Perez)

Meanwhile, there’s drinking and feasting on delicious frituras or fried food: rellenos de papa*, alcapurrias* and carne frita*⁠ are quickly devoured with large gulps of local beer.

But the diners won’t stay here long: at the Ruta de la Longaniza, it is tradition to do bar hoppping. And after a drink or two, you’ll go on to the next stop on the list. After all, longaniza reigns as absolute sovereign along the winding roads of PR-155 and PR-156 from Morovis to Orocovis.

Ruta de la Longaniza sign on PR-156

But what is longaniza?

The longaniza (pronounced loan-guh-NEE-suh) is a sausage brought from Spain centuries ago — which is why you can still find it in many Latin American countries — , but it was in 1934 that Doña María of Orocovis started selling the Puerto Rican-style sausage that we celebrate today. Sold in her husband’s Colmado La Sombra, Doña María’s rice with longaniza proved to be a beloved staple in the gastronomy of the town.

Restaurant La Sombra in Orocovis, the birthplace of the Puerto Rican longaniza (photo: Eric Rodriguez)

Eventually, business boomed, longaniza became an island-wide favorite, and La Sombra turned into a restaurant that still serves longaniza to locals and visitors from the whole world.

Raw longaniza for sale in Restaurant La Sombra (photo: Eric Rodriguez)

Nowadays, almost every Puerto Rican can attest to the longaniza’s complexity of flavors and the strong hold it has on the island’s gastronomic experience. So, here is a brief list of some of its distinctive traits:

First, the texture: if fried, it’ll be slightly crunchy on the outside, fragrant with herbs and robustly seasoned to the taste; inside, soft, irregular pieces of pork or chicken burst with the flavorful juice of having been simmered on the steady fire of the fogón — the traditional wood-burning stove.

A feast for the senses: friends gather around longaniza, fried yuca, tostones, rice with longaniza and stewed beans (photo: Cristina Perez)

And let’s not forget the seasoning: oregano, garlic, pepper, and annato for coloring. Puerto Ricans are known worldwide for knowing how to make food taste just right, and longaniza is certainly not an exception.

In Orocovis, arroz con longaniza is concocted in a large cast iron pot that marries the sausage’s flavor with herbs, sofrito and rice. But longaniza can be served sliced; with mofongo or tostones; as a pizza topping; or maybe covered with a delicate guava reduction, or even served in a fried plantain sandwich. Whatever piques your interest (and your appetite!), you’ll find it chinchorreando in the Ruta de la Longaniza.

La Cobacha Criolla offers a great variety of dishes: the Mar y Tierra is astounding. Don’t miss the Mofongo Pyramid! (photo: Cristina Perez)

Chinchorreo: a local gastronomical attraction

Among locals, chinchorreo is one of the most popular gastronomic experiences in Puerto Rico. It’s inexpensive, you’ll meet a lot of new people, and it’s a sure way to experience an authentic Puerto Rican tradition.

Now, just to clear doubts: a chinchorro is a modest, usually family-run bar or restaurant where you can grab a drink and Puerto Rican appetizers. To chinchorrear is to hop from chinchorro to chinchorro with a group of friends or family.

Boxing contest in Vagoneando Restaurant, where you can also try great longaniza dishes (photo: Cristina Perez)

Originally, chinchorros served as colmados, small markets on the side of the street where the men would stop to have a drink and something to eat before heading home from work. Over the decades, women joined in on this tradition and chinchorreo became a more family-oriented experience.

Nowadays, chinchorreo has become such a sought-out experience that several companies dedicate solely to renting buses for the different chinchorreo tours around the island.

Cafetin Los Amigos, a chinchorro famous for its spicy longaniza (photo: Cristina Perez)

And now, a list of some of the most remarkable chinchorros in Ruta de la Longaniza:

1. Colmado y Restaurante La Sombra

The original developer of the showstopper Puerto Rican longaniza, this restaurant sells several longaniza dishes. You can also purchase raw longaniza to cook at home. Don’t miss the exquisite arroz con longaniza.

2. Cafetín Los Amigos

This long-standing establishment also sells raw longaniza. Its spicy flavor is quite sought-after by many. Longaniza con mofongo is a must.

3. Ciclón Sports Bar & Grill

Although they mostly serve seafood, their chicken breast filled with longaniza and the longaniza burger are to die for. Also, this restaurant is just steps away from Toro Verde, so you can enjoy a hearty meal after ziplining.

4. La Terraza

Attention, pizza-enthusiasts! The enormous Supreme Pizza is topped with longaniza, shrimps and vegetables. You’ll love it.

5. Los Naranjos

If you’re seeking a fancier option, this may just be the place for you. They have a wine cellar with one of the best selections in all of Orocovis.

6. Vagoneando

This is the best place to hang out with the locals and taste their delicious longaniza egg rolls. Some nights, they’ll have live music or boxing matches going on.

7. Bertito’s Car Wash and Grill

Yes, this restaurant has a car wash. It also has an uninterrupted view to the sea and is quite close to Puerto Rico’s geographical center (marked with a red post). True, it’s not located in PR-156, but the drive up the mountains is worth the hassle. Also, bring a jacket, the high altitude makes it far colder than the rest.

Try the plantain and longaniza sandwich; it’s scrumptious.

8. La Cobacha Criolla

This cozy restaurant sells its famous mofongo pyramids. Try them with the Mar y Tierra — shrimp enveloped by 6 ounces of exquisitely seared churrasco. The $5.50 mojitos are as good as they get!

NOTES on Puerto Rican gastronomy:

* Relleno de papa is a fried ball of mashed potato filled with meat (pork, chicken, beef or cod).

*Alcapurria is a fried, cylindrical mass of mashed green bananas and yautía, filled with beef, pork, or crab.

*Carne frita is fried pork chunks.

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Arroz con Longaniza

Para quienes siguen nuestras redes sociales saben que soy del campo de Puerto Rico y aprovechando que estaba en la isla quise preparar Arroz con Longaniza para nuestra cena de navidad. La longaniza es muy famosa en la montaña de la isla, sobre todo en el pueblo de Orocovis, donde a mi entender consigues una de las longanizas más deliciosas de Puerto Rico.

Preparé este arroz para nuestra cena de Acción de Gracias en mi casa en EU, pero lamentablemente nunca pudimos conseguir longaniza de la isla por lo que me tocó prepararlo con una muy similar a la nuestra. Ese arroz quedó tan y tan rico que decidí prepararlo durante mi visita a mis padres en la isla y de paso conseguir la famosa longaniza boricua. Le llamo el Arroz con Longaniza con lo que encontré en la alacena de mis padres  pero igual de delicioso fue el resultado


  • 2 tazas Arroz
  • 1 paquete longaniza de cerdo
  • 1/4 taza calabaza
  • 1/4 taza pimiento
  • 1/4 taza jamón cocinar
  • 2 cucharaditas de aceite
  • 3 cucharaditas sofrito
  • 1/2 lata de salsa de tomate
  • 1 sobre sazón con achiote
  • 3 tazas de agua
  • 2 cucharaditas de sal
  • 3 hojas de recao
  • 2 – 3 hojas de laurel
  • 2 cucharadas pimiento morrón


  1. Rebanar en pedazos pequeños dos de las longanizas y la restante la vamos abrir para sacarla de la tripita de la longaniza. Aprovecha y pica en pedazos pequeños la calabaza, el pimiento y el jamón de cocinar. 
  2. En el caldero vamos a poner el aceite a fuego medio y vamos a esparcirlo por toda la olla. Agregamos la longaniza y el jamón de cocinar cuando el aceite esté caliente y dejamos sofreír por varios minutos.
  3. Luego que la longaniza se sofría vamos a agregar la calabaza, el pimiento, el sofrito, la salsa de tomate, el sobre de sazón y movemos todos estos ingredientes. Añadimos el arroz y lo mezclamos todo, bajamos un poco el fuego y dejamos cocinar por unos tres minutos para que el arroz absorba esa mezcla de sabores. 
  4. Agregamos el agua al caldero. Asegúrate que el agua esté caliente al momento de llevarla al caldero. 
  5. Mezclamos todo y probamos la sal para decidir cuánta cantidad debes ponerle. Esto va a depender de la longaniza que estas utilizando. 
  6. Poner el fuego a medio alto.
  7. Agregamos el recao, el pimiento morrón y las hojas de laurel. 
  8. Vamos a esperar a que el agua se evapore completamente.

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