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A Guide to Dominican Cuisine

by Starwood Caribbean

What’s on the Menu?

With its more than 500 years of history, it stands to reason that the Dominican Republic boasts a diverse and rich culture. And rich is perhaps the most accurate way to describe the country’s cuisine, a vibrant mix of indigenous, European and African influences.

If you’re a lover of traditional breakfast dishes, then Dominican mangú might just become your new morning favorite. Made with boiled green plantains and served with sautéed onions, fried cheese, fried salami and eggs or avocado, mangú has its roots in Sub-Saharan African. Boiled mashed plantains can be traced to the Congo region and likely came to the island during the height of the slave trade.

The Kitchen

As far as lunch and dinner go, locrio and la bandera are two dishes that can’t be missed. Locrio is a rice dish similar to paella or pilaf and consists of seasoned rice with some kind of animal protein, usually chicken, Dominican salami, guineafowl, rabbit, pork, herring, shellfish or sardines. La bandera (the flag), on the other hand, is more like the typical Latin American dishes you find in countries like Colombia and Venezuela. It’s made up of long grain rice, red beans and chicken, though you can also enjoy it with beef, pork or goat.

The Dominican kitchen also offers a variety of deep-fried handheld snacks with various origin stories. The most interesting of these may be quipes (sometimes spelled kipes), the Dominican version of a Lebanese dish brought to the island by Middle Eastern immigrants towards the end of the 19th century. The Dominican recipe is made with seasoned ground beef, wrapped in wheat dough and fried until crunchy and brown.

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Traditions

Another tasty deep-fried treat that can be found on the sandy beaches of the island are yaniqueques. This staple was brought over by cocolos (English-speaking immigrants) in the 19th century and is made from three simple ingredients: flour, water and baking soda. Dominican pastelitos are unlike most Latin American counterparts because they’re prepared as round pouches and are usually filled with ground beef, then deep-fried to crispy crunchy perfection.

The native Taino influence can be found in a yucca-based flatbread called casabe. Like most breads, casabe can be enjoyed with any meal and topped with a variety of ingredients. It is typically served for breakfast with coffee, but can also be found alongside soups and sancocho. However, if what you seek is a sweet snack, the Dominican kitchen offers a number of exotic and indulgent treats. Try habichuelas con dulce (sweet cream of beans), dulce de coco (creamy coconut treat), flan, dulce de leche or the spongy tres leches.

The Rum

After a day of sun and sand, you may find yourself craving something refreshing, cool and as tropical as the island itself. In this occasion, you definitely have to try morir soñando, a drink made from orange juice, milk, cane sugar and chopped ice. It’s just what you need to cool off.

If there’s one thing the Dominican Republic is known for it’s their rum, so naturally there is a staple drink that will make you feel right at home. Mama Juana is a drink made by allowing rum, red wine and honey to combine in a bottle with tree bark and herbs. Some locals believe that Mama Juana is an aphrodisiac, but it is also rumored to have medicinal value.

The Dominican kitchen is a rainbow of flavors and colors with its roots in diverse cultures throughout the world. Be sure to have a taste when you visit this remarkable Caribbean paradise.

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Sheraton Santo Domingo Hotel

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

365 George Washington Avenue, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, I02-05, (1)(809) 221 6666

Overlooking the Caribbean and near the Colonial Zone, our hotel boasts modern rooms, upscale dining, a casino, and ample event space.

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A Guide to Dominican Cuisine