The Dominican Republic, a country full of beautiful beaches, clear waters, and friendly people is also a place where you can find some of the tastiest food in the Caribbean.
Dominican cuisine is a reflection of the country’s history and culture. Dominican food is a mix of Spanish, African, Taino and French influences. The main staples of Dominican cuisine are rice, beans, and plantains.
These ingredients are used in many traditional dishes such as la bandera Dominicana (the Dominican flag), arroz con habichuelas (rice and beans) and tostones (fried green plantains). Dominican food is typically hearty and filling. Meals often include meat, beans, rice, vegetables and fruits.
Here are 14 Dominican dishes you have to try on your next visit!
Mangú (with Los Tres Golpes)
Mangú is definitely the most popular dish in the Dominican Republic. It consists of boiled green plantains that are mashed and fried, usually served with sautéed onions, garlic, and vinegar, topped with eggs (sunny side up), salami, and cheese.
The history of this dish goes back to the time of the Taínos, the indigenous people who inhabited the island before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. The Taínos called this dish “mabú”, which means “food of the gods”.
The traditional Mangú recipe is accompanied by the famous Tres Golpes: salami (sausage made from a mixture of beef and pork), fried cheese, and eggs. Due to the varieties of plantains found in the Dominican Republic, there are great variations in flavor from one mangú to another, so you almost have to try them all!
Mangú is the favorite breakfast of Dominicans, however, depending on its preparation, it can be served during lunch or dinner. You can find it in almost any restaurant on the island, in some street stands, and of course in people’s homes.
It is a dish that in the past was mainly consumed by low-income families, but nowadays it represents the traditional Dominican cuisine and it is common to find it in every home regardless of social status.
Dominican Sancocho is a thick soup made with different kinds of meat (chicken, beef, pork), tubers, and vegetables. The most common tubers used are yams, plantains, sweet potatoes, and cassava, however, the list of vegetables can be very long and each family has its own recipe.
This dish is usually served on special occasions such as birthday parties, baptisms, or weddings, but it can also be found in some restaurants that specialize in traditional Dominican cuisine.
The sancocho is a very flavorful dish, due to the slow cooking process that allows all the ingredients to mix their flavors together. It is usually served with white rice and a side salad or avocado.
One popular variation is the Sancocho prieto (prieto means black). This is cooked at low temperatures for a long time, so it turns dark brown, hence its peculiar name.
Arroz con Habichuela
Arroz con habichuelas, or beans and rice, is a typical Dominican dish that is prepared with red beans (habichuelas coloradas), white rice, meat (chicken, beef or pork), sautéed onions, garlic, cilantro and tomato sauce. This is one of the most popular dishes in Dominican Republic.
The habichuelas, or beans, are an essential part of the diet of Dominicans and are usually eaten at least once a day. Beans and rice is a dish that can be served as a main course or as a side dish. It is very common to find it on the menus of Dominican restaurants.
Arroz con habichuelas is a very simple dish to prepare, but it requires some time because the beans have to be cooked until they are very tender. Dominicans usually eat this dish with a side of salad and fried green plantains (tostones). It is also common to see people eating it with avocado or a piece of cheese on top.
La Bandera Dominicana
La Bandera Dominicana, or the Dominican flag, is a popular dish that represents the colors of the Dominican Republic flag: red, blue and white. It is made with white rice, meat (chicken, beef or pork), beans, sautéed onions and garlic, cilantro and tomato sauce.
This dish is one of the most representative dishes of the Dominican Republic. It is usually served with a side of avocado, tostones (fried green plantains), or fried sweet plantains. “La comida” as it is also called, is served in most restaurants on the island and in Dominican homes.
While the beans that are normally served are red, they can be substituted for pink or pinto, white or black, without that meaning a radical change in its components. In any case, the variety of colors in this dish is what makes it so special and representative of the Dominican Republic.
Tostones are a type of Dominican pastry made with green plantains, oil, salt, and water. Tostones are very popular in the Dominican Republic and can be found in most restaurants and street stands.
To prepare them, green plantains are peeled and sliced into thick rounds. The rounds are then fried in oil until they are golden brown. Once they are fried, the tostones are smashed flat with the back of a spoon or a tostonera (a special tool used for smashing tostones), before being fried a second time to reach the right crispiness.
Tostones are the favorite side dish of the Dominicans and can be found in street food stands as well as in people’s homes. These fried green plantains, as they are also called, are generally served with a little salt, a touch of garlic and ketchup or some other dipping sauce, and are enjoyed as an appetizer or snack.
Plantains are part of the African heritage. They arrived in the Dominican Republic when Africans were brought to the island as slaves during colonization. Since then, they have been an indivisible part of Dominican cuisine.
Another popular way to eat them is to accompany them with fried salami and a cold drink of your choice. Because of their popularity, they can be found in any establishment on the island, from fancy restaurants to the most humble street food stands.
Empanadas are a type of Dominican pastry made with flour, water, salt, butter, and fillings such as cheese, meat, chicken, or vegetables. Empanadas can be either baked or fried. Empanadas are very popular in the Dominican Republic and can be found in most restaurants and street stands.
The dough for empanadas is made by mixing flour, water, salt, and butter. The rolled-out dough is cut into circles which are filled with the desired filling and sealed by folding them in half. The empanadas are then either baked or fried. Baked empanadas are usually served with a dipping sauce such as ketchup, mayonnaise or garlic sauce. Fried empanadas are usually served with a side of Dominican hot sauce.
There are many different empanadas in the Dominican Republic, but some of the most popular include: empanadas de yuca (yucca empanadas), empanadas de pollo (chicken empanadas), and empanadas de queso (cheese empanadas). If you are visiting the Dominican Republic, be sure to try one of these delicious empanadas.
Yaniqueque is one of the most consumed street foods on the beaches of the Dominican Republic. Yaniqueque was originally created in San Pedro de Macorís and its fame quickly reached the whole island, becoming one of the favorite snacks for sunny days at the beach.
The preparation of this salty delicacy very much depends on the taste of the different vendors who sell it on the beautiful Dominican beaches. In Boca Chica, for example, the yaniqueque is prepared with salted fish, ketchup and a cold drink. Other versions are stuffed with cheese, vegetables, eggs, ham, or lambí.
It is an extremely inexpensive dish that allows free imagination to create a unique recipe to enjoy the sunset while contemplating the Atlantic Ocean.
Kipes are a Dominican snack made with bulgur wheat and spices such as adobo and sofrito. They are usually filled with meat (chicken, beef or pork), cheese, or vegetables. Kipes are very popular in the Dominican Republic and can be found in most bakeries and some street stands.
Kipes originate from the Middle East and were brought to the Dominican Republic by Lebanese immigrants. The kipes are usually fried, but some prefer to bake them or even stew them. This dish is usually served as an appetizer accompanied by a salad or avocado.
The kipes have become part of the Dominican culinary culture. If you are visiting the Dominican Republic, it is essential that you try this delicious dish.
Pescado Frito (Fried Fish)
Pescado frito is a popular dish in the Dominican Republic that consists of fried fish, often served with tostones (fried plantains), rice and beans. It is usually made with whole fish that has been gutted and scaled, but some restaurants also serve it with fillets.
The fish is coated in a mixture of sazon (a Dominican seasoning), garlic, onion, cumin, green peppers, and tomato sauce. After that, it is fried in hot oil until it becomes golden brown.
It is a very simple dish, but it is very tasty and refreshing, especially when accompanied by a cold Presidente beer. You can find Pescado frito on every beach in the Dominican Republic, as well as in many restaurants around the country.
Pica pollo is a popular Dominican dish that consists of chicken pieces that have been marinated in lemon juice, garlic, onion, cumin, oregano and pepper. The fried chicken is usually served with white rice, beans and salad. Pica pollo is a very tasty and easy-to-make dish that is perfect for any occasion.
The authentic pica pollo is made with chicken legs, but you can also use chicken breasts or thighs. The key to making this dish really delicious is in the marinade. The lemon gives the chicken a unique flavor that is perfectly balanced by the other spices. If you want to try something different, you can also add some pineapple chunks to the dish.
Habichuelas Guisadas (Stewed beans)
Habichuelas guisadas is a popular Dominican dish. The beans are cooked until they are soft and then served with white rice. It is a very simple dish, but it is very tasty and filling. Habichuelas guisadas is a perfect meal for any time of day. Dominican Republic is famous for its stewed beans. The secret to making really delicious stewed beans is in the seasoning.
Stewed beans are a culinary tradition that is part of the famous Dominican Bandera, the island’s delicacy par excellence. Depending on the diner’s taste, they can be served with white rice or simply on their own.
According to the region, the preparation of the beans may vary. Some people add hot, salty and sweet peppers, garlic or paprika. Its consistency must be creamy in order to moisten the rice.
Habichuelas con Dulce (Sweet Beans)
Habichuelas con dulce is a very popular Dominican dessert that is made with red beans, milk, sugar, coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla. The habichuelas (beans) are cooked in the milk until they are soft and the mixture has thickened. Then, the sugar, coconut, and spices are added and cooked for a few more minutes.
It is a very simple dessert, but it is very delicious and refreshing as it is served cool or at room temperature. You can find habichuelas con dulce in most bakeries and some street stands.
Sweet beans are traditionally made during the religious commemoration of Lent. It is a dish that is hardly found in any other region outside the Dominican Republic, which makes it the national dessert.
The classic recipe consists of red beans, milk, sugar, cookies, cinnamon, cloves, yams and raisins. In addition to these ingredients, there are many variations that include spices such as nutmeg, star anise, ginger, malagueta, or cardamom.
Niño envuelto (Rice and Beef Rolls)
Niño envuelto is a traditional Dominican dish that is made with beef, pork or chicken that is wrapped in cabbage leaves and then boiled. It is usually served with white rice, beans and salad. Niño envuelto is a very tasty and easy-to-make dish that is perfect for any occasion.
The meat of choice is first cooked until it is tender. Then, it is shredded and mixed with sazon (a Dominican seasoning), garlic, onion, cumin, green peppers, and tomato sauce. After that, it is wrapped in cabbage leaves and boiled until the flavors have melded together. This dish is very flavorful and filling, and it makes a great meal for any time of day.
People say that this dish originated in the 19th century when immigrants from the Middle East brought it to the Dominican Republic. From then on, the variations that we know today emerged.
In addition to the Middle East, there are similar dishes in Europe. For example, in Poland the Gołąbki is prepared which, according to experts, is the most similar to the Dominican version, although it is quite difficult to establish any historic relationship.
Yaroa (Loaded Fries)
Yaroa is a Dominican dish made with fries, meat (beef, chicken or pork), cheese, onions, and tomato sauce.
The potatoes are fried and the meat of choice is cooked until it is tender and then shredded. After that, the fries, meat, cheese, onions, and tomato sauce are mixed together and baked.
This dish is considered one of the best street dishes. It is among the favorites of nightclub-goers. It is a snack that is primarily found in take-out food trucks.
The history of this dish is quite recent in the Dominican Republic. It first appeared in the late 90’s in Santiago, and from there it became popular among young people throughout the country.
As you can see, there are many different dishes that make up the traditional cuisine of the Dominican Republic. Each dish has its own unique flavor and history.
Dominican food is very flavorful and sometimes spicy. The most common spices used are oregano, cumin, garlic, and pepper. Dominican cuisine is also known for its use of fresh ingredients, such as tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and peppers.
When indulging in a culinary tour in the Dominican Republic, one discovers the wonders of the flavors of its cuisine. Tropical fruits, tubers, combined with pork and beef, among others, which descended from the Spanish ships in the 15th century, intermingled with the recipes of the enslaved Africans.
All this generated the typical Dominican food that locals and visitors enjoy with such vehemence. If you have the chance to visit the Dominican Republic, be sure to try some of these delicious dishes!