Atlanta celebration highlights Puerto Rican dish mofongo

Credit: Courtesy of The Imprints Agency

Credit: Courtesy of The Imprints Agency

A much-loved Puerto Rican dish traditionally made of mashed plantains, garlic and chicharrones will be celebrated Sept. 24 at Hector Santiago’s El Super Pan in the Battery Atlanta.

This will be Atlanta’s first celebration of National Mofongo Day after Miami-based chef Jose Mendin founded it in 2021. The event, organized by Taste Network, will showcase eight chefs’ versions of the dish. The lineup features chefs from Atlanta, as well as other areas of the country, including Mendin, who owns Pubbelly Sushi in Miami.

Attendees should come to the event with an empty stomach. Besides mofongo dishes, there will be a whole roasted pig, Spanish wine from the Ribera del Duero and Rueda regions, cocktails and a beer brewed especially for the occasion by Wrecking Bar Brewpub.

“It’s a chef-driven event,” said Julio Delgado of Fogón and Lions, adding that not only will the participants honor the flavors of mofongo, but also show their style while doing it.

Chef Andre Gomez of José Sucio said mofongo is a comfort food that can be enjoyed at any time, like mashed potatoes or matzo ball soup.

Credit: Couresy of The Imprints Agency

Credit: Couresy of The Imprints Agency

“Throughout the years, we try to elevate it as chefs, kind of bring a little bit of what we tasted as kids and then present it in a way that’s a little more creative,” Gomez said.

Mofongo comes from a mixture of cultures, Santiago explained, including West Africa, Spain and Taíno — the indigenous people of the West Indies. While classic mofongo often is served with carne frita, or fried pork, the dish easily can be adapted to fit various tastes and dietary restrictions, including vegan or fish versions, he said.

Santiago’s mofongo at El Super Pan has cilantro in it, giving it a green color, and he prefers it served with pork belly that’s been slow-cooked and fried.

“We’ve been making the same mofongo since our time at Pura Vida (Santiago’s restaurant that closed in 2012), so I’m talking about a 20-year history of the same dish,” he said.

At the event, Gomez said he will serve yuca mofongo with ropa vieja, or slow-braised beef, and piquillo escabeche. Other versions to look out for include mofongo with a tamarind pork belly filling from Santiago, a chicken encebollado trifongo from Delgado and mofongo with shrimp and garlic kimchi from Mendin.

Several featured cocktails include an espresso martini, a rum old fashioned and a Jim Beam mint julep.

There will be empanadas from El Super Pan, a DJ playing music and domino tables, Lowe said. Additionally, 10% of ticket sales will go to Ser Familia, a nonprofit that says it empowers Latino families through educational programs, workshops and retreats, to build a healthy family environment.

Credit: Courtesy of The Imprints Agency

Credit: Courtesy of The Imprints Agency

National Mofongo Day is a way to showcase the “pride and joy of your heritage,” Delgado said, especially since the Latino community in Georgia has grown over the years.

According to the Pew Research Center, the Latino population grew faster in the South from 2010 to 2019 than in any other region, with an increase of 26%; in Georgia, the Latino population increased by about 32% between 2010 and 2020, according to previous reporting by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“There’s a lot of Latin chefs in this town that are working extremely hard to leave a mark and represent our culture the best way we can do it,” Delgado said.

The celebration is meant to bring more attention to the beloved dish, Gomez said, and to bring more people out to try mofongo.

“To be honest, I’m super proud. It’s an honor,” Delgado said. “To be able to do a National Mofongo Day, it just fills my heart.”


National Mofongo Day. 5-9 p.m. Sept. 24. El Super Pan. 455 Legends Place, Atlanta. $85 per person for unlimited food and drinks; tickets available online. 404-849-3569,

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