The way to a person’s heart is said to be through their stomach, thus these traditional Dominican foods will make you love this Caribbean nation. Dominican cuisine reflects the country’s rich history, culture, traditions, and identity by combining recipes and ingredients from Spanish conquistadors, native Tainos, and African slaves, and spiced with flavors from across the globe.
Visiting the Dominican Republic means tasting all of its flavors, including the Taino people’s tubers and tropical fruits.
The oregano, beef, pork, and saffron were brought by the Spanish in the 15th century, as well as African slaves’ ingredients and methods (like bananas and yams), resulting in indigenous delicacies such as mofongo and mang.
Traditional Dominican foods are a mouth-watering mix.
Popular Dominican Foods
Below are the 30 most popular Dominican foods you should try
1. Catibia or Cativia (Empanadas de Yuca)
Popular among locals. Catibias are similar to wheat empanadas, but are much more delicious! They’re prepared with grated yuca flour and can be stuffed with chicken, cheese, or anything else you can think of.
This is a delicacy that requires a significant amount of time to create by hand (“guayando la yuca”) but is worthwhile.
Guayando la yuca literally means “grating yuca,” but it can also mean “working very hard.” Both the words yuca and guayo are from Taino, as the Tainos used to grate ( guayar ) their sacred yuca.
They can be found in the Monte Plata province, as well as in classic eateries in the Colonial Zone.
2. Sancocho (Stew)
Sancocho, which derives its name from the word sancochar, which means ‘to parboil’ in Spanish, is frequently misidentified as a soup.
Not so! Sancocho is considered the Dominican Republic’s national meal, and after you have it, you’ll understand why.
This hearty soup of meats, maize, and potatoes combined with plantain is frequently served alongside a fluffy pile of white rice to round out the meal!
Sancocho is popular at the essential midday repast, but it can also be eaten for late dinner. And don’t forget to try the famed Sancocho de Siete Carnes before leaving the Dominican Republic. This Dominican classic is a lot more than soup!
2. La Bandera
La Bandera, or ‘The Flag,’ is called after the Dominican tricolor flag because the colors are similar. This recipe, which consists of red beans, stewed pork, and white rice, will get you ready for the day ahead.
The versatility of this combination of rice, beans, and meat meal is its appeal. Depending on your preferences, the meats can be stewed or fried, and red or white.
Often, merchants will let you select the color and type of bean you desire, allowing you to design a dish that genuinely reflects your preferences.
La bandera, like sancocho, is primarily eaten for lunch, and it is likely to serve as your first Dominican dish because of its popularity.
Domplines are healthy dumplings! Domplines are a Dominican Republic culinary treat that is usually topped or served with cheese.
The beauty of domplines is their ease of preparation. As a result, this meal is popular across the Dominican Republic. It is commonly served with herring, salami, meats, and a variety of additional toppings.
Domplines are popular at any time of day and can even be served for breakfast. You might never want to go back to porridge or toast in the morning after trying these varied and delicious dumplings!
On the surface, you could mistake locrio for la bandera, as both are rich in rice, beans, and meat. But as soon as you see locrio and take your first bite, you’ll sense the difference.
Locrio is more close to Spanish paella than La Bandera, which is a mix of meat with sides of rice and beans served on a single platter.
Salami, chicken, rabbit, herring, and guineafowl are common meats in locrio. However, seasoning is the secret to locrio, and its distinctive combination makes locrio a solid favorite among Dominicans and visitors to the island alike.
Mangu is one of the most prominent Dominican food, and its origins may be traced back to the country’s African heritage.
Mangu is a mashed plantain dish that may be eaten at any time of day or night, and it is generally served with cheeses, eggs, salami, meats, or whatever else strikes your fancy. Delicious and filling!
6. Tostones (Fried Plantain)
Plantain is a popular cuisine in Africa, the Caribbean, and other parts of the world. Fried plantain is a staple of Dominican cuisine, and this delicious dish is produced by simply slicing ripe plantain and frying the slices in oil.
Fried plantain is a nutritious meal you can eat anytime and mostly goes with cheese, eggs, pork, or salami. It may also be eaten with rice and is frequently washed down with an ice-cold cola.
7. Chicharrón: Crispy Fried Pork
Chicharrón is crispy fried pork, a favorite Dominican snack and street food. The pork is seasoned and deep-fried until it becomes crunchy and golden brown, resulting in a savory and addictive treat.
8. Arroz con Pollo: Dominican-Style Chicken and Rice
Arroz con Pollo is a cherished Dominican dish where chicken is cooked with rice, vegetables, and flavorful spices, resulting in a comforting and aromatic one-pot meal.
Considering that the Dominican Republic is an island, it should be expected that seafood and fish are popular and important components of the Dominican Republic’s cuisine.
Pescado frito, or fried fish, and shrimp stew, or shrimp asopao, are two must-try Dominican seafood dishes.
The country’s seafood dishes achieve the perfect combination of sweet and salty ingredients, cooked with a hefty dose of Caribbean heart and flare and typically eaten with peas, rice, pigeon, and fried plantain.
In the Dominican Republic, asopao translates to “soup-like,” and it refers to a filling dish of rice and soup. This traditional Dominican cuisine is a popular dish throughout the country.
Asopao can be blended with almost anything in the fridge, including pig, beef, or chicken. It could also include cassava or veggies. Whatever your preferences are, we guarantee there is an asopao for you!
Asopao is typically served for lunch, although it can also be eaten for dinner.
11. Pasteles en Hoja (Cake In Plantain Leaf)
Cake in plantain leaf, while not precisely a cake in the traditional sense, is quite popular in the city of San Pedro de Macoris. It is not a sweet meal, despite its name, and it is cooked with meat.
It’s prepared with grated green plantain and ground beef that’s been boiled inside plantain leaves and served with mayonnaise, ketchup, or spices.
This classic Dominican meal is served on Dominican dinner tables during the Christmas season. Fortunately, you can still find and try it all year round!
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12. Habichuelas Guisadas (Stewed Beans)
Habichuelas Guisadas are savory Dominican-style stewed beans. Pinto or red kidney beans are cooked with vegetables, spices, and sometimes meat, creating a rich and flavorful bean stew that is served over rice.
13. Moro de Guandules (Pigeon Peas and Rice)
Moro de Guandules is a traditional Dominican rice dish cooked with pigeon peas, coconut milk, and savory spices. It’s a delicious accompaniment to many Dominican meals.
Yanikeke, also known as yaniqueque, is a type of fried floury dough that can be found at almost all Dominican Republic street food shops and beaches.
It is one of the country’s most popular street snacks and can be eaten alone or with a variety of sides such as salami and fried fish. Yanikeke can also be stuffed and folded like an empanada.
Pastelitos are savory pastries that can be filled with a variety of ingredients, such as chicken, meat, or cheese. These small pastelitos are typically served as an appetizer at parties or sold on the street by skilled street food sellers.
Pastelitos are a traditional Dominican Christmas dish, however, they can be served with any meal. As far as Dominican dishes go, pastelitos are a must-try.
16. Habichuelas con Dulce
Beans may appear to be an unusual dessert, but everything will make perfect sense once you’ve eaten the Dominican Republic’s most surprising sweet dish.
The textural and flavor combo of this simple Dominican delicacy of kidney beans and evaporated milk improves with each swallow.
17. Chimichurri Burger
The Chimichurri Burger is a popular Dominican fast-food item. It features a seasoned beef patty topped with cabbage slaw and a tangy ketchup-mayonnaise sauce, all served in a soft bun.
18. Ensalada Verde (Green Salad)
Ensalada Verde is a refreshing and vibrant green salad made with lettuce, avocado, cucumber, and tomatoes. It’s commonly dressed with a zesty vinaigrette, making it a perfect complement to any meal.
19. Morir Soñando
Morir Soando (literally “Die Dreaming”) is a non-alcoholic fruit cocktail with an intriguing name.
Drinks are as important as food in the Dominican Republic, as you will quickly discover if you visit. Refreshing beverages like these are a terrific way to beat the heat during the day.
Morir Soando is a creamy, delicious blend of passion fruit juice, milk with evaporated milk occasionally used, cane sugar, and crushed ice. Oranges are also commonly used in this national drink.
Morir Soando is a popular aperitif in the Dominican Republic.
20. Dulce De Leche
Dulce de leche is a rich, delicious, and viscous sauce akin to caramel that is popular throughout Latin America. It can be eaten soft and gooey or hardened, more like fudge.
Dulce de leche is prepared by slowly melting sugar and milk over time, but evaporated milk is a great substitute.
Although dulce de leche can be eaten on its own, it is traditionally served with a dessert and is commonly seen on muffins, cakes, waffles, and other sweet delights in the American continent. This very delicious dessert must be tried!
21. Fruit Candy
Fruit is in abundance in the Dominican Republic and is an essential component of the island’s dessert menu.
Sweet fruits like cherry, orange, and guava are usually used in candies, which are then topped with a liberal drizzle of thick, rich dulce de leche. Totally indulgent!
22. Helado de Batata
Deliciously simple ice cream made with three simple ingredients: milk, sweet potato, and sugar. And occasionally with coconut!
This dessert is mostly found in the freezers of elderly women in rural areas, where it is lovingly cooked and sold. If you can’t find one of these vendors, try some ice cream from one of Jarabacoa’s local ice cream shops.
23. Yuca al Mojo
Yuca al Mojo is boiled cassava served with a tangy garlic sauce called mojo. The combination of flavors makes this simple side dish a delightful accompaniment to many Dominican meals.
24. Tres Leches Cake
Tres Leches Cake is a moist and decadent sponge cake soaked in a mixture of three different milk—evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. It’s a beloved dessert in Dominican celebrations and gatherings.
Mab, or Mav, is a Caribbean drink made from the bark of the Mauby tree. The mab was developed from medicinal roots used by the indigenous people and was then altered to taste by Europeans, Africans, and Caribbean islands.
Although many countries have different forms of this drink, Dominican mab is comparable to root beer in effervescence and sweetness. Some think it has medical effects, while others claim it is an aphrodisiac.
Go to El Seibo to get your hands on this Dominican champaign.
26. Chenchen with Goat or Beef
In San Juan, in the country’s southwest, this cracked corn pilaf is eaten instead of rice. Serve with goat, beef, or as a rice alternative in La Bandera dishes.
Corn is native to the Americas, but raise your glass to Haiti and the African nations for the origin of chenchen.
27. Chivo Guisado
During family gatherings, steamed goat is a popular and delectable option. It’s made with goat meat in a thick sauce made with sour citrus, garlic, onions, and tomatoes.
The goats are frequently given wild oregano, which lends this meal its unique flavor. Visit San Pedro, Azua, Monte Cristi, or San Cristobal for delicious chivo guisado.
28. Mofongo with Pork Rinds or Shrimp
This one is designed for garlic fans. Mofongo is generally served inside a pilón and is made of plantains mashed with crunchy pig scratchings, and garlic formed into a ball, and topped with pork rinds or shrimp.
Not only that, but it also comes with a garlic broth which you can use to moisten the plantains while you eat.
Mofongo is not just another plantain-based dish; it is an African culinary treasure (similar to fufu). Great Mofongo with shrimp can be found in Samaná and La Vega.
Mofongo is also popular in Puerto Rico, where it is typically served with a tomato-based pork stew.
On a tropical island, a cold plate of mixed seafood and vegetables? Yes. You can have salpicón as an entrée or as a main course on a hot beach day.
It contains chunks of boiled or cooked seafood (maybe a combination of fish, shrimp, octopus, conch, and/or any other seafood), as well as chopped vegetables à la vinaigrette.
You can eat it on the beach as is, or with tostones, french fries, rice, salad, or fried yams. You can season it with lime or hot sauce to suit.
Longaniza is a crispy and delicious pork sausage that resembles fried Spanish chorizo. It is regularly sold as street cuisine in numerous Santo Domingo areas, as well as in rural restaurants.
It’s a terrific way to end a night out on the town for many young Dominicans. Serve with tostones as a side!
Dominican foods offer a tantalizing journey through a diverse and tasty culinary landscape.
From La Bandera, the national dish, to Tres Leches Cake, a beloved dessert, each dish reflects the country’s rich culture and love for delicious flavors.
By trying these 30 most popular Dominican foods, you’ll immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Dominican cuisine.