Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean, with rich culture and heritage, their cuisine is one the many things Cubans are famous for especially the local street food is to die for. Cuban cuisine is a fusion of Caribbean, Spanish and African cuisines. Some Cuban dishes share a similar taste, flavor, and spices, techniques that are commonly used in African and Spanish cooking.
16 Traditional Dishes to try out when in Cuba
1. Ropa Vieja
This particular dish is famously also called Cuban’s National Dish, packed with a variety of flavors using a special cooking technique called braising. Its key ingredients include flank steak, brisket or chuck roast along with various herbs and spices to bring out the flavor sauteed in olive oil. It is served alongside rice. It’s a special comforting food by the Cubans.
These are twice-fried plantain slices, Plantains belong to the banana family. They are a savory dish, unlike banana’s sweetish taste. Their cooking process includes frying, flattening, then frying again. These are considered as a famous welcome local street food dish.
3. Masitas de Cerdo
A well-balanced flavor of garlic and the tanginess infused with pork cubes which are sauteed in oil until crusty. This dish is traditionally served with sweet sauteed onions on top alongside beans and rice.
Yuca is a traditional root vegetable found in Latin America or Africa. The sight of this dish is as comforting as its taste. Served during the holiday season when with family or can be found at any party. It is a simple dish to cook. The key ingredients include Yuca, garlic, lemon juice, and sweet onion.
This dipping sauce can go with literally anything. It is a blend of fresh garlic, citrus, lime, and a bunch of other spices.
A classic Picadillo is an ingredient-driven recipe that differs from country to country and from state to state. A traditional Cuban Picadillo’s key ingredients are traditional ground beef, tomatoes, cinnamon, and raisins for a little sweetness and olives to add a little salty taste. The main ingredient which makes it a traditional Cuban dish is the richness of cinnamon.
7. Arroz Congri
Black Beans and Cuban rice, a traditional Cuban dish whose aroma will increase your hunger and your capacity to eat. The method of preparing this recipe is to cook the black beans and rice together which will give the rice its black color along with flavor. They are also cooked along with peppers, onions, garlic, cumin, and bay leaf. This is a great vegetarian dish commonly served with salad.
8. Cuban Sandwich
The famous Cuban sandwich is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami on Cuban bread. This is a smartly paired combination of ingredients, the Cuban bread stands out in the taste. The softness and the tenderness of pork and the grilled bread will make you want more each time you grab a bite.
This is one of the ultimate holiday dishes, plus the leftovers taste really good, even better as they can be used to make Cuban sandwiches and one can always be innovative and create something new. To make this dish, one must have the utmost patience as the pork shoulder needs to be marinated for almost a day or two, depending on the chef. The tenderness of pork meat with flavorsome ingredients makes the dish wholesome. Mojo goes great along with this dish.
The traditional Cuban Flan is a must-have dessert in Cuba. It’s made with evaporated and condensed milk topped with caramel. It has a soft texture and it literally melts in your mouth when you taste it.
They are light, fired pastries which definitely need skills to get a precise shape. This is an important part of traditional Cuban dishes. The key ingredients include Yuca, lemon juice, egg yolk, etc. They are served with special syrup.
12. Vaca Frita
Vaca Frita is almost similar to ropa vieja. This is a simple dish that is generally shredded beef fried in oil until it’s fully cooked and gets the crispiness. The key ingredients here are obviously shredded beef, beef broth, pepper, and lime juice along with finely sliced onions and lemons for plating.
Boliche is a beef roast that has been marinated in citrus juices overnight or depending on the chef’s cooking methods. It is soft and tender, infused with various flavors while marinating and in the process of roasting the beef. This is a slow-cooked dish to achieve its tenderness.
14. Arroz Con Pollo
This is one of the staple traditional Cuban dishes which is rice and chicken. It’s a one-pot dish filled with colors and is infused with a variety of flavors that are perfectly blended with each other.
15. La Caldosa
This is one wholesome soup that is very nourishing and flavorful. It is made out of any meat of your choice, broth, root vegetables. It is one of the most comforting Cuban dishes which makes you feel like home.
They are not just juicy or filled with flavor on the outside but also from the inside, they are tender and chewy. These are baby back ribs that are marinated and served with a mix of sour orange juice, lime juice.