The Dominican Republic has a rich and varied cuisine. As a former Spanish colony, the local cuisine shows a strong Spanish influence, but it also has roots in African and Taino (the indigenous population) traditions. Dominican cuisine shares similarities with several other Latin American cuisines, particularly Puerto Rican and Cuban.
While many dishes tend to focus on meat and starches (mainly rice), fruits and vegetables also play an important role in Dominican cuisine. In fact, almost every cafe serves a wide selection of freshly prepared tropical fruit juices. The delicious juice options include chinola (passion fruit), piña (pineapple), lechosa (papaya), zapote (sapote), tamarindo (tamarind) and mango.
There are a variety of traditional ingredients that many Europeans and North Americans may not have encountered before. One example is yuca or cassava, a root that is used as a vegetable and also made into a flat bread called casabe. Another is tayota, a type of squash. A final example is platano or plantain, green bananas used in both side dishes and main courses.
Many Dominican dishes are prepared with sofrito, a mixture of sautéed vegetables, herbs and spices. The ingredients for sofrito include onions, garlic, green peppers, tomatoes, thyme, parsley, coriander, cilantro and vinegar.
A typical breakfast dish made from mashed plantains (green bananas). It can be served with sautéed onions, cheese, or salami.
La Bandera Dominicana (The Dominican Flag)
A typical lunch dish, it consists of rice, red beans, meat and a vegetable side dish.
Bread dough or flour tortilla stuffed with meat, cheese or vegetables and then fried.
The local version of this Spanish rice dish uses annatto instead of saffron.
Fried plantains flavored with olive oil, garlic and bacon.
A hearty stew made with large chunks of meat and vegetables.
Moro de guandules con coco
Rice with coconut milk and pigeon peas.
Sopa de mondongo
A soup made by slowly cooking tripe, cabbage, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, onions, celery, cilantro and garlic.
A flat bread made from cassava (a root vegetable).
Arroz con maiz
Sweet corn with rice
Habichuelas con dulce
A dessert made with red beans, coconut milk, condensed milk, raisins, butter, cinnamon, salt and sugar.
Arroz con leche
The classic Spanish recipe is still used for this sweet milk and rice pudding.