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Plaza Del Caribe Features Giant Mofongo Dish

July 22, 2001
Copyright © 2001 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

PONCE, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Mofongo, a mixture of mashed plantains with garlic and meat, is one of Puerto Rico's biggest dishes, and it's just gotten much bigger.

A shopping mall in the island's second-largest city, Ponce, on Sunday created what it says is the world's biggest mofongo, mixed in a wooden mortar 10 feet tall and 6 feet in diameter.

At least 4,000 portions were served by mid-afternoon, and there were about 5,000 more to go, said Arturo Valdejully, president of the Plaza del Caribe mall.

``We could estimate it's about 4 tons,'' Valdejully said.

The main ingredient of mofongo is the plantain, a Caribbean staple that resembles a banana but tastes more like a potato when used before ripeness, as in mofongo.

Sunday's batch included 3,000 plantains, 300 pounds of chicken, 100 pounds each of pork rinds and onions, 50 pounds of mild peppers, three gallons of sofrito -- a sauce base made from peppers -- and generous amounts of oil, tomato sauce and ham.

``It was delicious -- a little dry, but with good flavor,'' said Ponce resident Sarah Echevarria, who came with her family.

The mall contacted officials from the Guinness Book of World Records and hopes to have its claim to the largest mofongo verified in a few weeks, Valdejully said. There is no record for the Puerto Rican dish now listed on the Guinness Web site.

Five cooks from a local restaurant began making the dish at 1 a.m. Sunday, and it was served in the afternoon.

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