Piragua is the Puerto Rican Spanish word for snow cone. This refreshing pyramid shaped ice treat is popular all year long and I had the opportunity to have one on a recent visit.
For the rest of the Spanish-speaking countries a piragua is a boat similar to a canoe. The word piragua is the result of combining the words pirámide (pyramid) and agua (water).
The Puerto Rican piragua is sold by piragüeros, street vendors with colorful carts covered by an umbrella. It is hand-shaved with an instrument called a cepillo, that literally means “a brush.” The shaved ice is covered with a flavored syrup of your choice, for example: ajonjolí (sesame seed), anís (anise), cereza (cherry), china (orange), coco (coconut), crema (cream), frambuesa (raspberry), fresa (strawberry), limón (lemon), melao (sugar cane), melón (watermelon), parcha (passion fruit), piña (pineapple), tamarindo (tamarind) or uva (grape). You can sip the piragua using a small straw or start eating the ice right away.
Here is a video I took of a piragüero in action!
Mobile viewers: watch this video here: http://youtu.be/lVimKFl2uMM
Spanish words for snow cone in other countries
It is common to find snow cones in many Spanish-speaking countries, but they use different names. Here are some examples:
1. cepillado: Venezula (Zulia and Falcón)
2. chúrchil: Puntarenas, Costa Rica
3. copo: Costa Rica
4. esnorbor: Venezuela (East part)
5. granizado: Spain, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador
6. minuta: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras
7. nieve: Honduras
8. piragua: Puerto Rico
9. prensado: Ecuador (in the coast)
10. raspadilla: Peru
11. raspado or raspada: Argentina, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador
12. raspao: Colombia, Panama, Venezuela (Caracas and The Andes)
13. yun yun or yunyún: Dominican Republic
What’s your favorite snow cone flavor?
Check out these other Puerto Rican Spanish Slang Word articles.