Cuban cuisine has the influence of Spanish, African, Caribbean and American cuisines which gives an interesting flavor. You can find tasteful dishes country wide and especially in touristic areas. This guide explains the basic of Cuban cuisine and the different meals to eat.
Typical meal is rice with beans, cooked apart named “Arroz y Frijoles” or cooked together named “Congri” (with red beans) or “Moros y Cristianos” (with black beans), some tubers like “yuca”, pork meat and salad. The “Mojo” is used as well, prepared with oil, onion, garlic and other species. The traditional way to eat pork (in celebrations and large parties) is roasted in the outdoor with “yuca” and “moros y cristianos”; or fried in its own fat. Cubans love fried bananas sliced in small discs called (“mariquita” or “chicharrita”) or in larger cylinders caller “tachinos” or “tostones” (after being squashed) if the bananas are green or “platanito frito” if they are grown up. Avocado is widely used in a time of a year.
Typically, all dishes are served together, except for deserts.
The usual meat for Cubans is pork and chicken, beef and lobster is restricted by the government; tourists have access to all kind of meats. Other meat consumed: lamb, fish, ham, shrimps. Meat is usually cooked as roasted, fried, or in “fricasé” (with tomato sauce, spices and tubers like potatoes)
Common salads are tomatoes, lettuce and cabbage; other ingredients used in salads are carrots, chards, cucumbers, peppers, radishes. Salads are prepared very simple, with vegetables cut and mixed with oil and salt, also with vinegar and lemon. Avocado is widely used a time of the year.
Ham is the basic ingredient of sandwiches, made of Cuban bread, slices of ham, a cucumber or tomato, sometimes with cheese, everything is pressed and grilled for a while to make it hot. The traditional sandwich is called “pan con lechón”: bread with shredded grilled pork and maybe a “mojo”.
There are a lot of traditional alcohol based drinks: Cuba Libre, with rum, Coca-Cola, sugar and lime; Mojito with rum, mint, sugar, lime, and club soda; Daiquiri and others. Beers are much loved too; national brands are Cristal, Bucanero, Mayabe, Cacique, Manacas, Tinima and others. Nonalcoholic beverages like Malta are available and fruit based beverages like “Jugo de frutas” (fruit juice) or “batidos” (fruit, sugar, milk and little salt blended) are excellent. Refer to the upcoming guide Cuban Beers to Drink for more information.
National cultivated fruits are “guayaba” (guava), mango, “plátano” (bananas), papaya, “piña” (pineapples), “naranja” (oranges). Other fruits like apples, peaches and pears are imported.
Traditional deserts are made of fruits like “dulce de naranja”, “dulce de guayaba”, or natural products like “Arroz con Leche” (rice with milk). Ice-cream and bakery sweetmeat and candies are available as well.
Stews and soups are used as well; they include meats, corn, and tubers. There is a traditional stew named “agiaco” made of a mix of lots of tubers and vegetables and the “caldosa”, similar but larger, heavier and with meat.
The “tamal” is a traditional food made or corn; milled, cooked and wrapped with the corn cob’s own exterior.
Italian food is highly consumed especially pizzas and spaghettis. Chinese food is used in china town but the Chinese fried rice is used in the entire country.
Names of some Cuban dishes
Dulce de coco con queso,
Filete de pescado grillé,
Harina de maíz seco,
Sopa de plátano
Yuca con mojo,