Dominican Republic Food and Drink
Native Dominican cooking combines Spanish and African influences with local produce. There is plenty of fresh fish and seafood, and the most popular meats are chicken, beef and pork.
Island-grown tomatoes, lettuce, papaya, mangoes, passion fruit and citrus fruits are delicious, while rice, yucca, and sweet potatoes are staples. Meat dominates restaurant menus, with the gut-busting La Bandera (‘The Flag’) being the closest to a national dish – it comprises chicken or beef and is served with rice, plantain, avocado, yucca and salad. Lunch is the main meal of the day.
As for drinks, the island’s traditional sugarcane is used to produce some fine rum, including blanco (white), dorado (golden) or añejo (aged). Delicious, though very sweet, fruit shakes are sold from street stalls. Known as batidos, they are made with fruit, milk, sugar and crushed ice – just the tonic for a hot day.
Asopao de pollo: Chicken and rice stew, a hearty dish.
Chicharrón de cerdo: Fried pork rinds, a popular snack.
Chimichurris: A common street-food, this sandwich is loaded with ground beef or pork, covered with mayonnaise, ketchup, tomatoes and cabbage.
La bandera:A reference to the country's flag and widely considered the national dish. Comprising white rice, red beans, stewed meat, salad and crispy fried plantain known as tostones.
Mofongo: Fried green plantains, seasoned with garlic, olive oil and pork cracklings.
Niño Envuelto: Rice and meat wrapped in cabbage.
Sancocho: Served on special occasions, this thick stew is made with pork, chicken and beef with various vegetables including yam, yucca and plantains. Often served with white rice and avocado slices.
Coffee: Dominican coffee is excellent and served very strong, usually black.
Local beer: Presidente is the most popular beer and often served chilled. Other brands include Bohemia (a pilsner-based beer) and Quisqueya.
Mamajuana: A potent herbal drink made from cured tree barks soaked in rum, red wine and honey.
Rum: Popular brands include Brugal and Barceló. Rum is the liquor of choice and it is used as the base for many cocktails.
Majarete: Sweetcorn and coconut milk pudding sprinkled liberally with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Tres leches: Sponge cake soaked in condensed milk and heavy cream.
Things to know
Avoid drinking tap water and consume pineapple and coconut juice in moderation as they are laxative.
Hotel and restaurant bills usually include a 10% service charge (on top of the 18% tax). Additional tip may be given as an appreciation of good service.