Cuba has become a favorite destination for tourists from around the globe.
The country offers a unique mix of culture, history, and cuisine.
From Havana to Varadero, travelers can enjoy some of the best food in the Caribbean.
Cubans love their food. They eat well, they drink well, and they even party well.
In fact, Cuban cuisine is known for its rich flavors and bold spices.
If you visit Cuba, you’ll want to experience the island’s culinary delights.
Cuba is famous for its rich, flavorful dishes. Whether you’re looking for something sweet or savory, there’s plenty to choose from.
Here are ten of our favorites.
1) Vaca Frita
Vaca Frita is a Mexican dish made with beef brisket. It is traditionally served with tortillas, beans, rice, guacamole, salsa verde, and sour cream.
Topped with cilantro, lime juice, onion, and jalapeño pepper, it is often served with chips. It is also sometimes called “beef taco” due to its similarity to tacos.
Vaca frita is a dish made with shredded raw beef that has been cooked in a seasoned sauce. It is often served with rice and beans.
It originated in Cuba and is still very popular there. It is also very common in many Latin American countries.
It is usually served either grilled or fried, although it can be eaten cold.
There are many variations of vaca frita, including those prepared with chicken, pork, lamb, fish, shellfish, vegetables, fruits, cheese, spices, herbs, and other ingredients.
Some restaurants serve it with rice and beans, while others serve it with french fries, salad, and/or tortilla chips.
Many versions of vaca fritas contain a meat stock called guisado.
2) Dried Shrimp
Dried shrimp is probably the most popular snack on the island.
There are two main varieties: black dried shrimp, which are larger and have a stronger flavor, and white dried shrimp, which are smaller and less spicy.
Cuba is known for its fresh seafood. There are many restaurants serving seafood throughout the country.
Some of the best seafood dishes are served at the paladars.
These restaurants offer daily specials. One of the best places to get seafood is Café Brown.
Tamales were first introduced to Cuba during Spanish rule.
Today, tamales are one of the country’s national dishes.
Typically, tamales are made with fresh corn, and seasonings and wrapped up in corn leaves. These are then boiled and served.
Tamales are available in many varieties and flavors, including sweet ones like tamales de guayabera and tamales de chicharrones.
There are also savory versions, like those filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables.
Boliche is a traditional dish of Cubans made with eye round beef roast stuffed full of chorizos.
These chorizos are cooked in a delicious sauce and then served with rice, yuca, and a large helping of fried plantains.
Although it may sound like an odd combination, it really works well together because the chorizo gives the meat a unique flavor, while the fried plantains add a crispy texture.
You will also get a great dose of carbohydrates from the rice and yuca.
And you can always top your meal with a nice cold mojito!
5) Deviled Crabs
A fresh blue crab dish cooked in a herb sauce served with rice and beans.
Technically, this isn’t really Cuban food at all. It was invented in Tampa, Florida (created by Cuban immigrants), and then brought back to Cuba for everyone to love.
It’s pretty delicious, even if you won’t find it anywhere else.
Costillas is a delicious Cuban dish made with baby back ribs.
These ribs are marinated with citrus juices, oregano, and garlic, resulting in a sweet, tangy flavor.
You can try it at Paladar los Mercaderes or El Chanchullero de Tapas in Havana.
Everyone loves rib eyes, and these baby backs come with a Cuban twist instead of the barbecue sauce that we usually expect.
Instead of the barbecue sauces that you might be expecting to see, these ribs come marinated in orange, lime, garlic, and oregano. These ribs are delicious!
7) Mixto Sandwich
Sandwiches are popular in many countries, but the Cubano is a favorite.
It consists of thinly sliced ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard pressed between two pieces of Cuban bread.
You’ll also find them at Cafe Bohemia in Old Havana.
A Cuban sandwich is a type of sandwich made with roast pork, Swiss cheese, dill pickle slices, mustard, mayonnaise, and lettuce.
It is often served in a bun with a side of coleslaw.
It originated in Cuba, but its popularity spread around the Caribbean and eventually worldwide.
8) Arroz Con Pollo
Arroz con Pollo is a Cuban classic. It is usually served with black beans and white rice.
There are many ways to serve Arroz Con Pollos, including fried, baked, sautéed, and even made into a soup.
Arroz con pollo can be found all over Cuba, but you will find the best versions in Havana.
Café Brown and La Concordia both get great reviews for their Arro Z Con Pollo.
La Concordia serves theirs on a beautiful balcony overlooking the city.
Tostones are two times fried plantain. Plantains are an item you will find all across Cuban menus.
They are smashed and formed into delicious cakes that are fried and deep-fried.
These can be topped with things such as guacamole.
At the restaurant called Mas Havana, just outside the old part of Havana, they add both guacamole and shrimp for one of Cuba’s best-reviewed tostones.
Perfect tostones are made using two different types of bread.
First, you need the Cuban sandwich loaf. This type of bread is called a pan de Cubano.
It is made out of white flour and water, and it gets its name because it is often served wrapped around a Cuban sandwich.
Second, you will need the Cuban roll.
This is similar to a baguette, but instead of being round, it is long and rectangular.
You will also notice that the Cuban roll does not have any holes in it. These rolls are usually baked in an oven at high temperatures.
After baking, they are cut into slices and then dipped in a mixture of cornstarch and water. This creates a crisp coating on top of the bread.
Picadillo is an authentic Cuban dish made with ground beef, potatoes, and raisins.
It is cooked in wine and seasonings. It is traditionally eaten with black beans and rice.
It is also served at parties and celebrations.
Cuba has an abundance of amazing things to do and see, including beautiful beaches, museums, parks, bars, clubs, restaurants, shopping, and even nightlife.
There are so many things to do in Havana and they have incredible food. You will be spoiled for choice when visiting Cuba.
So, if you’re planning your first visit to Cuba, we hope you enjoyed our list of some of the best Cuban dishes and snacks to try while you’re there.