Cuba is a region renowned for its rich and colorful culture. Go there, and you will be met with beautiful, endless beaches, bright vintage cars and soulful music.
With so many different interesting aspects of Cuban culture to explore, it can be easy to forget about how great the food is there, too.
There are so many incredible dishes to try if you plan on visiting the region, so if you’re curious about what you can expect on your next trip, take a look below, as we explore 10 of Cuba’s most popular dishes.
10 Popular Dishes
Some Cuban dishes are world renowned, like the ever famous Cuban sandwich. However, there are also lots of other dishes produced by this gorgeous region that you might not yet be aware of.
To find out more about these different foods, read on.
1. The Cuban Sandwich
The Cuban sandwich has been said to have been first introduced by a tribe called the Taino in Cuba.
With the influence of Spanish settlers and other Europeans, several different variations of this sandwich now exist.
The Spanish variation contains pork, however, the traditional Cuban sandwich we all know and love is made with smoked ham, pickles, cheese, mustard, and Cuban bread.
This dish makes a perfect lunchtime snack for those who are visiting the country and want to sample its most famous food item!
2. Fried Pork Dough
Probably not the best option for those who are on a diet, the fried pork dough served in Cuba is one of the most calorie dense on our list.
This delicious dish is made by marinating the pork with lime (one of Cuba’s most popular fruits), before seasoning it with salt and pepper.
After the flavor has been added to the meat, it is then fried until it reaches a mouthwateringly crispy texture. In order to give the meat a sweeter flavor, sometimes the sour lime is replaced with orange.
This dish can be served by itself, or can accompany other meals as a side.
3. Arroz Con Maiz
This dish is not only popular in Cuba, but throughout the whole of Latin America. It is delicious, but yet very simplistic in nature.
It consists of rice which has been cooked with corn, usually in the same pan. Cuba has its own specific variation of this dish, which adds more flavor.
Cubans make arroz con maiz by adding not only corn, but also other ingredients such as chorizo, chicken stock, and white wine.
Sometimes the rice is also cooked with cumin to give it some extra spice.
4. Cuban Tamale
Most of you who are reading this will have already heard (and tasted), a tamale. However, the Cuban variety differs from the traditional tamale that we are all familiar with.
A popular food throughout the entirety of Southern America, they consist of corn dough which has been filled with various meats and vegetables.
The Cuban tamale varies based on the texture of the pastry, sometimes found to be softer than regular tamales.
In addition to this, the Cuban tamale differs from other regions such as Mexico, for example, as the Cuban’s like to evenly distribute the fried pork throughout the dough.
5. Ropa Vieja
The next item on our list is actually one of the most popular with tourists visiting the country and sampling the local cuisine.
You might be surprised to know that ropa vieja actually translates to ‘old clothes’, this is because of the appearance of the shredded pork in the dish.
Exceptionally easy to prepare, the dish is usually made of shredded pork or duck, which is then put in a tomato based stew.
Cumin, peppers, onion, and laurel leaves are also added to the mix, giving it a deliciously distinctive flavor.
This dish is also known as the national dish of Cuba, so make sure to put it on your list of things to try while you’re there!
6. Arroz Con Leche
I’m sure all of you dessert lovers out there have been waiting for this one! Arroz con leche is a truly scrumptious dessert that will cause your mouth to water in anticipation.
It is a creamy dessert made from milk which is mixed in with rice, cinnamon and vanilla. Some sugar is then added to give it a deliciously sweet flavor.
Because of the nature of the dish, the rice will be sure to leave you feeling full after eating it, making it an incredibly satisfying dessert.
7. Arroz Amarillo Con Pollo
This dish translates to ‘yellow rice with chicken’. This is a dish that is very popular with Cuban’s when family gatherings take place.
The reason this is, is because it is so easy to prepare in large quantities and to serve. The most similar dish to the arroz amarillo con pollo is the Spanish paella, both are made from yellow rice and vegetables.
The Cuban version is a bit simpler though, and is usually just made up of chicken and vegetables without lots of spice. It can be prepared to either be crisp or stogy, it’s all about personal preference.
8. Banana Fufu
This is one of the more unusual items on our list. Banana fufu is basically a banana that has been boiled and then fried.
The seasoning that it is fried in is called sofrito, which allows the banana to achieve a dough-like texture. Although it is fried, this dish is actually fairly healthy.
It is also suitable for vegas, something which can be rather unique in Cuban culture, as you can see from the other dishes on our list that there tends to be a lot of meat included.
9. Chicken Fricassee
As the name suggests, this dish is made using chicken, which is then browned in butter and braised in a creamy mushroom sauce.
The sauce itself is quite thick as it’s combined with flour to achieve a denser texture. It is a very quick dish to prepare, as all of the ingredients go in the same pot, which is then simmered for 30 minutes.
In Cuba, this dish can also be cooked in a rich tomato sauce, as well as mushroom. This version of the dish also includes potatoes, making it a very hearty meal for when you’re really hungry.
10. Shrimp Enchilado
We can’t finish off the list without mentioning a Cuban dish that involves seafood, afterall, Cuba is an island, and so many of their dishes are inspired by these kinds of food.
The shrimp enchilado, or shrimp creole, as it is sometimes known, is essentially shrimp simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce along with onions and peppers.
If you are visiting, make sure to try one of their seafood dishes, this would be a perfect one to sample!
Cuba is a region with a wide array of different food dishes. Whether you are looking for lunch, dinner, dessert, or even just a quick snack! You will surely be able to find something that suits your needs.
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