Miles of Aisles: Top 5 GOYA Products to Try

In large part, I agree with GOYA's slogan: "If it's GOYA, it has to be good." That mantra, however, isn't particularly helpful when you're at the grocery store facing down shelf and shelf (or even entire aisles) of GOYA products. Here are five of my favorites to try:

5. Low Sodium Black Beans. Many assume that in choosing black beans over refried, you're always selecting the more healthful option. Unfortunately not the case often with canned beans, as all varieties can be equally loaded with salt. GOYA's low-sodium canned black beans are flavorful and a welcome addition to chilis and burritos that won't have you gulping gallons of water later to rehydrate.

4. Caramel Flan. "What is flan," a fellow grad student once remarked to me, "but a poor man's crème brûlée?" Poor flan! Its lack of diadem of caramelized sugar has it relegated to the cheap dessert category. Try GOYA's boxed mix and you'll rethink its designation as just common custard.

3. Mexican Rice. I'm a big fan of all of GOYA's seasoned rice mixes, all of which produce interesting carbohydrate accompaniments in little time (and therefore allow you to focus on more labor-intensive entrees). While other Mexican rices mixes are colorful but flat in flavor, GOYA's version presents a nice jalapeño kick and nice herbal notes thanks to some garlic.

2. Mango Nectar. All of the GOYA nectars I've sampled stand out for their lovely thick textures and intense fruit flavors, but the mango is particularly terrific. Though fine on its own, mango nectar is perhaps better used as a base for a tropical smoothie or as a mixer for a rum highball.

1. Plantain Chips. You're go bananas for these plantain chips! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) The thick medallions of fruit deep fried issue a resounding crack with every bite and provide a wonderful balance of sweet and salty. GOYA's website suggests they make a wonderful garnish as well as a snack. I'm thinking of putting some on my next peanut butter sandwich.