Did you know that typical Cuban food is a fusion of African, Spanish and Caribbean influences? This results in a variety of unique flavors and dishes. Cuban gastronomy is based on fresh and natural ingredients, and has a wide variety of traditional dishes that reflect the culture and history of the country. From rice with Moors and Christians, to roast suckling pig and ropa vieja, each bite of Cuban food is a unique experience for the senses. In this post we show you the 12 best dishes of typical Cuban food so that you can delight in its flavors and textures.
TYPICAL CUBA FOOD: 12 DISHES YOU MUST TRY
1. Ropa vieja, the most famous Cuban dish
To start with this post about the best typical food in Cuba, we have to mention what is probably the most emblematic dish of the country, ropa vieja. Its peculiar name is due to its appearance, since it is shredded meat, cooked with vegetables and spices that looks like old clothes.
But there is also talk of one whose name comes from a Cuban tale. The story narrates the life of a very poor old man who could not buy meat for his family. Therefore, he decided to cook his own clothes, hoping that they would become real food. Unexpectedly, a miracle happened and the clothes turned into shredded meat.
This dish calls for beef, preferably brisket, cooked for several hours until soft and tender. Once at the point, the meat is sautéed in a pan with onion, garlic, tomato, green and red pepper. Finally, white wine and meat broth are added and allowed to simmer for the flavors to blend. This typical Cuban food is served with white rice, black beans and fried plantains.
2. Rice and black beans
Rice and black beans is one of the typical Cuban dishes that cannot be missing from the topsince it is considered one of the most emblematic of the island. It is a simple and cheap dish, but full of flavor and tradition. The rice is cooked with black beans and seasoned with garlic, onion and cumin, which gives it its characteristic flavor.
It is often served with fried plantains and pork or chicken. Rice and black beans can be eaten as an individual dish or accompanied by other main dishes such as Ropa vieja or Lechón asado. This dish is not only a daily food, but it is also very popular in the celebrations and festivities of the place.
3. Roast suckling pig, try it and fall in love with typical Cuban food
But if we talk about typical Cuban food popular at parties and celebrations, roast suckling pig cannot be missing! The pork is marinated with a mixture of spices, garlic and sour orange juice. All this before being slowly roasted in a wood oven. As a result, you will find a juicy, tender and flavorful meat that is usually served with rice, black beans and fried plantains.
However, despite an exquisite preparation served at eventsit is not necessary to wait for a special occasion to taste the Roasted Pig, since found in many island restaurants and street stalls. But we must warn you that each family and restaurant have a different way of preparing it. The only thing that doesn’t change is the delicious mojo sauce..
4. Rice with Moors and Christians, a classic of typical Cuban food
When you visit Cuba, surely you cannot miss one of its most iconic dishes. We are talking about arroz con moros y cristianos, a mixture of rice and black beans cooked together. But even if it sounds very similar to black beans and rice, we have to tell you that they have certain differences despite being very similar. For example, this dish includes a stir-fry of onion, pepper, garlic, and other seasonings, as well as bacon or chorizo for flavor.
Apart from having a delicious flavor, the story behind this recipe is also very interesting. And it is that we have to go back to colonial Cuba, in the time of the Spanish conquestwhen Muslim Moors and Catholic Christians were fighting each other in Europe. The mixture of rice and beans symbolizes the union of these two cultures in a single dish. And it is that something that stands out from the preparation is the combination of textures and flavors that transform this dish into a unique culinary experience that you cannot miss during your trip to Cuba.
5. Cassava with mojo
As many know, in Latin America, cassava is one of the products that stands out the most in its gastronomy. Well, it couldn’t be missing from this delicious Cuban dish either. It is cassava cooked in water and salt until it reaches its ideal soft texture. Then, in some cases, the tuber is fried and served with a garlic and onion sauce known as “mojo”.
The mojo is prepared with olive oil, lemon or orange juice, minced garlic, onion and salt. In this way, the cassava acquires a unique and delicious flavor that we are sure you will love. Also, mojo is used in different Cuban dishes, but it is undoubtedly the perfect complement to yucca. So, when you go through Cuba, always ask for this amazing dish and enjoy this amazing combination.
6. Cuban sandwich, one of the richest and best-known typical Cuban dishes
But if we talk about typical Cuban food, the Cuban sandwich is probably one of the first recipes that come to mind, It is one of the most popular in the world. This hot sandwich is made with delicious, crusty Cuban bread, roast pork, slices of ham, cheese, pickles and mustard. But if you thought that was all, we tell you that in some places you can also find it with salami, avocado or tomato.
We are sure that if you want to try Cuban food, this is an option with which you will never go wrong! The sweet and sour flavor of the pork mixes with the acidity of the gherkins and mustard, creating a unique and delicious combination. In addition, this sandwich is perfect to pack it and enjoy it anywhere and anytime. So if you are thinking of making one route through Cuba in 15 days, this is the perfect option for the road.
7. Fried pork dough, a popular option for typical Cuban food
Continuing with this list of typical Cuban food, the pork dumplings are the queen of the party! With its irresistible flavor and crunchy texture, this dish will conquer your palate. Without a doubt, this delicacy is a unique one that no lover of Cuban food should miss.
Its preparation is based on cutting the pork into small pieces and seasoning it with garlic, salt and lemon. Then, it is fried until crisp and golden. This delicious option can be enjoyed as a main dish or as a side to other Cuban dishes. However, Regardless of how you taste this delight, you will not regret trying this Cuban specialty.
8. Fried ripe plantain
Another of the most popular Cuban delicacies is the fried plantain. You will find this dish together with several of the most typical preparations of the island, as it has won the hearts of all. To prepare it, cut the plantains into slices and fry them until they are crispy on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside.
It is said that this delicious preparation originated in the time of the Spanish colonization, due to the limited access to certain ingredients, new and exquisite recipes were devised. However, despite being the perfect accompaniment, they can also be eaten as an appetizer or as a dessert, sprinkled with sugar or cinnamon. Without a doubt, you cannot miss them on your trip to the Caribbean country.
9. Tostones, a famous snack of typical Cuban food
But another of the dishes that you cannot miss are the delicious tostones, a charming appetizer and typical accompaniment of Cuban cuisine. Similar to the previous post, these are slices of green plantain fried twice, giving them an out-of-this-world crunchy texture. They can be served alone, with mojo sauce, or as an accompaniment to main dishes such as roast suckling pig or rice with beans.
Tostones are a delight for lovers of fried food and Afro-Cuban culture. Also, they are easy to find in any restaurant or street food stall on the island. Do not miss the opportunity to try them!
10. Rice pudding
And the time has come to talk about one of the richest and most emblematic desserts in Cuba. Made with rice, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and sugar, it is a smooth and creamy delight. In addition, it is perfect to enjoy after a generous meal or as a daily treat.
To prepare it, rice is cooked over low heat in milk, cinnamon and vanilla. Sugar is then added and continues to simmer until thickened and creamy.. It is a simple but delicious dessert that will surely leave you wanting more. In Cuba, arroz con leche is usually served at special events such as weddings and birthday parties, so It is a perfect dessert to share with friends and family..
11. Buñuelos, one of the favorite sweets of Cubans
Continuing with the delicious Cuban desserts, this is another incredible option if you want to sweeten your palate with an incomparable sweet. The fritters are characterized by their soft and fluffy texture, which blends perfectly with their crispy outer shell and topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon. They are often served as a dessert or snack at parties and family gatherings in Cuba.
Fritters are easy to make, requiring only a few ingredients like flour, yeast, sugar, and milk. However, the key to making a good buñuelo is getting your dough to the right texture and consistency before frying it. Furthermore, in some regions of Cuba they are prepared with a touch of rum or anise, while in others some honey or molasses is added to give them a sweeter flavor.
You will also find them filled with cream, dulce de leche, or even cream cheese, so you will never get bored of them. Here we encourage you to try them all, we know you won’t regret it!
12. Cuban tamale
And to end this post about typical Cuban foodwe cannot leave out the Cuban tamale. This delicious dish consists of a soft, tender corn dough stuffed with peppers and spices, together with a spectacular mixture of pork or chicken. The dough is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed until cooked through. As a result, you will have a soft, tasty and aromatic tamale.
Also, this dish has a variant called tamale in casserole This is a similar recipe but cooked in a casserole instead of being wrapped in corn husks. This preparation is more common in the central region of Cuba and is the perfect option to try it for breakfast. On the other hand, we must tell you that in some regions of the island, it is customary to add pieces of chorizo to give it more flavor. So don’t wait any longer, hurry up and enjoy all the delights that the Cuban gastronomy has to offer!
SUMMARY OF ALL THE TYPICAL CUBAN DISHES
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