When I was a child in Puerto Rico, I used to play a game called “Gallitos”.

Using the seeds of the algarrobas fruit (known as Stinky Toe in some parts of the world), kids would drill holes into the seeds and tie a string to it. One kid would lay his gallito on the ground while the other kid would his swing his gallito to try and hit the first one. If he hit the gallito he would get another turn. If he missed then he would have to put his gallito on the ground and the other kid would get his turn to hit it.

It would go back and forth until one one kid cracked the other’s gallito.

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And let me tell you, these games would get vicious! I remember being in a circle of boys cheering the game on, with a healthy dose of trash talking going on as well. We all had our techniques that promised a better chance at hitting the other gallito. And every once in a while there would be one SUPER GALLITO that could not be cracked no matter how hard we tried.

Legends were born. Reputations destroyed. And friendships hung in the balance as we faced each other off. It was more that a simple lunch time game, it was war, with the social order of the playground hanging in the balance.

The game was especially popular in my school because there was an algarroba tree just over the fence, passed the baseball field. So it was extremely easy to grab more gallitos to keep the fun going.


We’d crack those hard shells open; then brush off the meat inside (which smelled like shit, quite literally, but is edible and supposedly quite tasty) to get those precious gallitos seeds, and hopefully find the one that would obliterate the competition.


Here’s a video demonstrating the game. Skip the first minute to get to the action.

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