These are some recommendations for you to enjoy the richest local preparations in the guest of honor destination of Anato’s Vitrina Turística.
A trip will never be successful if there is no good food, therefore, the gastronomy of the Dominican Republic is another of the fundamental elements that make it a very popular destination for tourists from all over the world.
As the Official Tourism Website of the Dominican Republic assures, this country has a great variety of dishes, ranging from soups and stews to fried snacks and coconut sweets.
Beyond the classic Caribbean dish of rice and beans, there are other exclusive specialties of the Caribbean country. Here are some of Go Dominican Republic’s recommendations.
The typical Dominican breakfast is mangú, affectionately called “los tres golpes” (the three strokes). It is made with a green plantain puree and finished with red onion cooked in a vinegar sauce, cheese and fried salami. You can also add eggs.
Lunch is the main meal of the day. The typical dish is the Dominican flag: a huge plate with rice and habichuelas (beans), with chicken or meat and accompanied by a salad, avocado and tostones (fried and smashed plantain). There are multiple variations of rice, moro with pigeon peas, locrio (a rice dish reminiscent of paella with seasoned rice, chicken and other meats).
Also, sancocho has a very symbolic weight and is usually made for a special occasion, including New Year, and should be shared with family and loved ones. This thick tuber stew combines chicken, pork, yucca, yams, green plantains and potatoes. It is served with a bowl of white rice and avocado slices.
Another quintessential Dominican food is pasteles en hoja. Often served at Christmas, these are the Dominican version of tamales, although made with plantain dough, filled with meat and wrapped in a banana leaf.
Likewise, mofongo, an original Puerto Rican dish, has its own Dominican version, with mashed plantains, garlic and pork or shrimp.
Note that each region has its own specialties influenced by its culture. In Samaná, for example, seafood is often cooked with coconut, an African-American influence, as well as fish. In the northwest, goat meat is a staple, and in the central highlands you will find grilled meat restaurants or roadside barbecues.
Seafood is a big part of the diet in this Caribbean country. You will find the freshest fish, straight from the sea to the table, particularly chillo (red snapper), in coastal fishing towns and cities such as Bayahibe, Sanchez, Sabana de la Mar, Samana and Puerto Plata.
Going to the beach and ordering a fried fish with tostones, avocado and yaniqueque (a thin and crunchy fried round Johnny cake) is a highly recommended option.
Sweets and desserts
The Caribbean country’s tourism authorities assure that Dominicans are very sweet-toothed. They love desserts of all shapes and sizes.
The most special Dominican dessert is habichuelas con dulce, a sweet bean-based dessert, consumed mostly during the Easter season, but which can be found in different bakeries all year round.
Additionally, the most popular desserts are coconut, milk or corn based. Coconete is a round, crunchy coconut cookie. It is also ideal to try the tres leches cake, as well as the majarete, a sweet corn cake sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Caramelized fruits are also popular. You’ll see chunks of dried papaya dipped in sweet syrup. Due to the warm weather, some popular ways to cool off, other than fruit juices, are cold ones, which is shaved ice topped with a syrup of the flavor of your choice.
Dominicans love street food and their fried foods, say Dominican Republic officials.
A favorite, especially at night, is chimichurri or “chimi”, a juicy Dominican version of the hamburger, stuffed with a grilled combination of seasoned meat, lettuce, onion and tomato, inside a toasted white bread spread with mayonnaise and tomato sauce. It is served in a plastic bag to catch the pieces that fall out, which you should try to empty by hand.
For its part, pica pollo or twice-fried chicken is among the most popular things you will find on the streets, as is chicharrón de cerdo (pork crackling). While yaroa is the number one choice of those looking for something late at night, a kind of dish reminiscent of a lasagna with layers of chicken, meat, sweet plantain, cheese and fries baked together and finished with mayonnaise and tomato sauce.
Another must-try is picalonga, which is a mixture of pork made from the inner parts of the animal, including blood sausage, sometimes hanging openly from the food cart waiting to be cooked. Other very Dominican snacks, which are recommended to try include catibias or yucca empanadas stuffed with meat, or seafood, such as crab and conch, and quipes, a Lebanese heritage, Dominican version of their kibbeh.
Fruit lovers will find paradise in the streets of the Dominican Republic, where vendors cut and prepare fruit salads on the spot, in the markets, along the highways or elsewhere.
In this destination you will find the usual fruits, such as banana or papaya, locally called guineo and lechosa. But you will also find passion fruit (chinola), omnipresent and cheap, mango of different varieties, sapote, granadillo, soursop, carambola, tamarind, coconut, pineapple, guava, among others.
There are also fruits with medicinal properties such as jagua, which is not ingested but its juice is drunk; it was used by the Tainos to make body paint, and is still consumed as a source of iron and to increase the immune system. Caimito is used to cure stomach pains. Loquat is a fruit full of potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium.
On hot days, cool off with a sugar cane or tamarind juice, or a batida, the Dominican fruit milkshake made with evaporated milk, with your choice of fruit, then sugar is added to taste (although you can also ask for plain). These are found on the menus of cafes, restaurants and street stalls. The Dominican star milkshake has a curious name: Morir Soñando made with milk and fresh orange juice.
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