Tourists staying at hotels in the Dominican Republic on the All Inclusive system sometimes are offered dishes in Dominican style cuisine. But real national food, as elsewhere, is served in local restaurants (Comederia) where Dominicans dine.
To choose the right Dominican restaurant, notice how crowded it is. The more delicious, the more local visitors there are.
But first, let's find out what and when do Dominicans eat.
Once you’ve tried real Dominican cuisine, you will notice that it is based on combination of different types of meat with necessary addition of rice and beans, as well as bananas and local vegetables. It is also seasoned with local herbs which give a unique taste and flavor to each dish.
The day starts with a rather substantial breakfast. Usually it is scrambled eggs with slices of ham and mango, then a puree from vegetable bananas or boiled sweet potatoes seasoned with herbs and onions, cheese and pieces of meat. And breakfast ends with coffee with a lot of sugar. Just for breakfast, Dominicans often eat pieces of cheese fried in oil, literally melts in the mouth.
For lunch Dominicans usually eat chicken with rice or Sankocho - a soup from meat with rice and stewed vegetables.
In general, rice and meat are the most frequent products on the Dominican dinner table. There are many ways of cooking rice and even more ways of cooking meat. Bean gravy is always served over rice and vegetable salads from avocados, tayotas, yucca and other local exotic vegetables.
As a rule, Dominicans families have dinner at home. Most often they have for dinner the same thing as for lunch, just smaller portions.
If you decide to try real Dominican cuisine, you should read our small guidebook to local dishes. We will indicate a Spanish name and main ingredients of each dish so that you can more easily understand the menu.
This extremely thick soup consists mainly of meat, chicken or fish. The main ingredient is Sancocho- pieces of young corn on the cob.
Actually, you can put almost all the edible things that are found in the kitchen into such a soup. That is, to Sancocho you can add pork sausage, pork, and bacon, as well as lime, garlic, cassava and yams.
Seafood soup with rice. Lovers of fish should definitely try this slightly unusual, but very tasty soup.
The dish is quite simple and consists of red beans, rice and meat (the color of the Dominican flag) with the addition of fried bananas and vegetables. Dominicans eat it for lunch and dinner. Typically, La Bandera is served with a salad or with crispy fried bananas
Another dish definitely worth trying for fans of culinary tourism. The real Mophongo consists of several layers laid up in leaves. In each layer there are different ingredients. Usually there is fried banana puree, bacon or other types of meat.
There is a simplified version of Mofongo where the banana puree is simply mixed with pieces of meat and vegetables as well as with garlic and olive oil.
(fried crispy pork or chicken). There is also a recipe for mofongo with shrimps.
Outwardly, Mofongo looks like the pyramids in children's sandboxes. It looks strange but if you see such a pyramid,you should try it.
Let's name some more well-known dishes of Dominican cuisine:
They are prepared, if possible, preserving the appearance of the product. Fish, crabs, lobsters and mussels are boiled or baked on the grill, or fried and sprinkled with coconut chips. The main feature of seafood is the variety of sauces.
is a delicious dish made from fish cooked in coconut sauce.
Read more: Fishing in the Dominican Republic
Most dishes in the Dominican Republic are served with cooked rice or Tostones (fried bananas). Beans and local vegetables are also often served as a side dish.
Bananas are of the plantain type from which they prepare toastones. They are larger than ordinary bananas and are not sweet. They are cut into cut into slices - about a half-inch thick and fried in a pan with a small amount of oil. On the outside, the toast is covered with a thin roast crust, but inside it is soft and tender.
For dessert, try the sweet cream from beans, a fruit cake (usually with pineapple), rice pudding, coconut biscuits and coconut ice cream.
But there are several "branded" Dominican delicacies, for example:
"Dulce-con-Coco" - chip coconut with molasses;
"Dulcice-con-leche" - a mixture of milk with molasses;
Dulcice-de-Naranha - jam from orange pulp with molasses;
"Coco-Nueve-Con-Leche" - jam from coconut pulp with milk.
The best Dominican dessert is, of course, fruit. They are always ripe here because they ripen throughout the year. The most delicious fruit, but, unfortunately, not suitable for any long-term storage and transportation. You can buy them from farmers or from roadside venders.
It is worth mentioning some types of local fruit, some of which you probably know
Pineapples, which are called piña in the Dominican Republic, are delicious and juicy here. They are recommended to everyone who wants to lose some weight. To do this, they should be eaten on an empty stomach.
In the Dominican Republic, more than 40 types of mango are grown. However, if you want to try different fruit, you have to come here between April and September.
There are many kinds of bananas. There are the usual yellow ones. There are red ones. There are bananas for frying and many others. Dominicans add them to all dishes, even those made from meat or chicken. It comes out delicious - if you know which banana to use and where to add it.
Papaya, or as the locals call it – lechos - a fruit that can be simply eaten or ground into a smoothie drink, or added to the morning porridge.
Dragon Fruit (Pitahaya) - large fruit of reddish color, inside of which is an edible pulp. Cut the fruit in half, then eat the pulp with a spoon They are especially recommended for people with a sick stomach or diabetes.
Chinola (passion fruit) is an incredibly useful fruit grown on a vine. It is quite sour, so it is better to eat it after cutting off the top and adding a spoonful of honey. Chinol is added for flavor to the local ice cream, as well as in juices.
Sapote is a large brown fruit with suede-like skin. Inside there is a large varnished stone and flesh similar to an orange cream. It tastes like a sweet pumpkin and a boiled carrot.
Mammoth. This fruit grows in the mountains so it is quite rare and expensive. It is advised to keep it in the freezer before eating.
Granadilla has an acidic flesh with seeds inside. Most often it is used for making juice.
Guanabana or a creamy apple is a large and a prickly green fruit. Inside there is white flesh with bones. It quenches thirst and helps heal many diseases.
Hagua is used for making juice.
Nispero is a medlar. The whole fruit consists of flesh.
Food in the Dominican Republic is usually accompanied by a glass of water with ice, and finish with a cup of fragrant coffee.
From among alcoholic beverages, rum is popular. In the Dominican Republic, many different brands of rum are produced: dark, light, aged with various additives. In pure form, the rum is drunk in small portions but often diluted or used in cocktails.
There are almost no Dominican wines in the country but here they make good beer. The main brands are the President, Bohemia, Quisqueya and Senise.
Sometimes locals prefer the drink "Malta Morena". Despite the beer-like ingredients, it is a sweet non-alcoholic beverage. It can be mixed with condensed milk to give a creamy taste.
Among non-alcoholic drinks, locals prefer orange juice, coconut milk, fruit drinks. They often add sugar to the fresh squeezed juice.
Almost everywhere are sold huge, juicy, tasty burgers Chimichurri with a variety of sauces and Frituras - all kinds of fried hot snacks are sold along the roadsides.
In the Dominican Republic, they use the same spices as most of you do. But there are some differences. For example, chili pepper, various kinds of mint, flax seeds are used often.
An unusual spice that is worth trying is biha. They are the ground seeds of one of the local shrubs. Biha colors the dish in orange and also adds a special flavor and taste to meat or fish.
The basis of many countries’ food is bread. A product similar to bread is also sold here. There is some choice and although it is very expensive, the local bread is only good for making toast or sandwiches.
We really hope that our article will arouse your interest in stepping outside the hotel and trying real Dominican cuisine. After all, to know the beauty of the country and the nature of the people can be done, in a great part, through national food.