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World Travel Guide > Guides > Caribbean > Cuba

Cuba Food and Drink

While Cuba isn't a culinary hotspot, visitors are rewarded with hearty food free from additives represented by puzzling E-numbers due to the trade embargo. Regular Cubans rely heavily on rice, beans, chicken and pork. Fish and seafood are available at top-end restaurants.

It's worth noting that unlike the neighbouring Jamaicans and Bahamians, Cubans often shun spicy flavours. The national dish is the ajiaco criollo - a stew of vegetables and different kinds of meat - and it comes in many versions. Other typical dishes of the Cuban cuisine are congri (rice with red beans) and moros, also called moros y cristianos (rice with black beans). Picadillo a la habanera (ground beef with tomato sauce) is also a typical Cuban dish.

Specialities

Ajiaco criollo: This Creole stew is the national dish of Cuba and has many versions. Typically it contains vegetables with different types of meat.

Congrís: Black beans and rice, known locally as Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians).

Frita: Local version of the American hamburger made with ground beef and chorizo, served in small Cuban bread buns topped with onion and julienne potato fries.

Pulpeta: Meat loaf made with ground beef and ham stuffed with hard-boiled eggs.

Pan con timba: Bread with guayaba paste and cream cheese.

Ropavieja: Slow cooked beef simmered in tomato criollo sauce until it can be shredded.

Boliche: A beef roast stuffed with chorizo sausage and hard-boiled eggs.

Mojo: A sauce for roast pork (and other meats) made with oil, garlic, onion, oregano and bitter orange of lime juice.

Picadillo: A hash with minced beef, peppers, onions, garlic, cumin, tomato sauce, stock and olives, also with raisins, potatoes and capers.

Mojito: Potent national cocktail made from rum, soda water, crushed mint, lime juice and chopped ice.

Daiquiri: Blended cocktail of rum, ice, sugar, lime juice and a dash of maraschino.

Guarapo: Sugar cane juice.

Cafe Cubano: Espresso-style coffee.

Tipping

A 10% gratuity is normal.

Drinking age

16.