A common misconception is that Cuban cuisine is bland. Yet, Cuba’s culinary culture is far from boring. And no, it’s not just rice and beans. Stemming from different cuisines such as Spanish, African, and even Chinese, Cuban food has its own distinctive flair. With unforgettable and well-balanced flavors, Cuba’s food scene will surprise you. Tuck in and enjoy our foodie’s guide on the 6 must-try dishes in Cuba:
1. Ropa Vieja
Perhaps one of the most popular dishes in Cuba, ropa vieja or “old clothes” (alluding to the meat), is a moreish mix of onions and bell peppers in a rich tomato sauce. The show stealer – shredded flank steak, stewed within the flavourful sauce. The iconic meal typically goes well with rice and fried plantains, creating a vibrant and delicious combination.
Another must-try staple is picadillo, a well-balanced stew boasting sweet and savoury flavours. Picadillo consists of slow-cooked ground beef, tomatoes, potatoes, a dash of wine, and local seasonings. What makes picadillo unique is the addition of raisins for sweetness, and olives for a touch of saltiness. It can come with rice or as a filling in tortillas and tacos.
3. Yuca Con Mojo
A local favourite, yuca con mojo is simply cassava topped with a sauce consisting of bitter orange for a pop of flavour. It accompanies lechón asado (roast pork) perfectly!
This corn-based classic is made differently in Cuba! Nonetheless consisting of freshly ground corn, the Cuban version, however, involves meat mixed with the dough rather than as a filling, as in the Mexican tamale. Tamales are very common all over Cuba, making it a definite must-try!
A popular choice for dinner, Boliche is a mouth-watering dish comprising of a tender eye round beef roast stuffed with chorizo. The beef gets simmered in wine and water with heaps of onions, and the chorizo is typically marinated in a mixture of citrus juices. Not only does it contain a frenzy of different flavours, but its accompaniments are just as yummy – rice, yuca, and fried plantains!
6. Platanos Maduros Fritos
These sliced sweet and succulent plantains fried in sizzling oil mean you’re in for a treat! As a Cuban staple, you’ll find that platanos maduros fritos are a faithful accompaniment to a plethora of Cuban dishes.
Has Cuban cuisine surprised you? Check out our Cuba Tours now for the chance to gorge on endless, delicious Cuban food!