Culinary offerings in the Dominican Republic are as diverse as its denizens. The plethora of indigenous foods has been used in simple yet delicious recipe variations for generations, each family, and each region of the country, adding their own particular flavor and flair. Some are also different variations of dishes found in other Caribbean islands and Central America.
Boiled cassava, plantain and other root vegetables are a mainstay at every meal. Most often, these and other ingredients are combined to create Mangú, sort of a mashed potatoes dish. Look for other favorites such as the island’s most popular dish is La Bandera – broiled chicken, white rice and red beans. Sancocho is a stew made with beef or chicken, plantains, avocado and roots and Ropo Vieja is a popular fried shredded beef dish, just to name a few. And of course, fresh native fruit—bananas, mangoes, coconuts, oranges, pineapple, are in abundance.
Grilled fish and seafood encompass yellow fin, catfish, shrimp, calamari, conch, lobster and other sea creatures. Savory herbs, roots and spices from various cultural traditions are used to add incredible flavor to everything from meats to vegetables, seafood and fish, poultry and even beverages. Speaking of beverages, rum is king in the Dominican Republic, and figures prevalently in many island cocktails as well as in many desserts.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you won’t be disappointed, as many of the country’s favorite desserts are on the sweet side. Dulce de leche, milk cream flavored with fruit and/or coconut; flan; bizcochos, a type of cakes with a white cream topping, mango cake, arroz con leche or rice pudding, are just a few of the island’s popular desserts.