A Guide to Dominican Republican Cuisine (Top Dishes + Best Food)

Last Updated on March 28, 2021

Here you can read our on the eating out opportunities, gastronomy and cuisine of Dominican Republic, including top dishes and best food you should try on your Dominican Republic visit. It’s difficult to know where to begin. The food in the Dominican Republic is tipped to be the best in the Caribbean for its strong flavors and vast range of classic dishes.


While the cuisine certainly borrows from the other islands and features some overlap, for example, each Caribbean island has its own version of rice and peas, what makes Dominican food so great is its many influences.

Plantain 1024x683
Plantain

This makes the food rather ‘standout’ and a trip to this island worth it just for the flavors. The cuisine here takes influence mainly from its Spanish heritage as well as indigenous Taino Indians and Africa. However, you can also expect to experience flavors from the Middle East and Latin America. Now that your taste buds are tantalized, here are a few of the dishes that have made Dominican Republic cuisine just so popular.

Sancocho

This is a really old dish and that’s perhaps why it tastes so good – it’s been perfected over the years! The original sancocho recipe dates back 400 years to when the Spanish brought African slaves over to the island.

It’s a stew made traditionally in the Dominican Republic with beef and yucca. It’s an incredibly starchy root vegetable, similar to a potato. Corn on the cob is also added and sometimes plantains. Sancocho is rich, hearty and delicious.

Kipes

You don’t get much more traditional than kipes. These are a really tasty snack which beautifully reflect the Middle Eastern influences the Dominican Republic is known for. They are sort of like dumplings but deep fried and can be stuffed with beef, pork or vegetables. They were first made by the Middle Eastern immigrants who settled on the island in the twentieth century.


Arroz habichuela y carne

Residents of the Dominican Republic will testify that you could quite easily live off this dish! The dish’s basic ingredients are rice, beans and meat. What’s great is that there isn’t one recipe to follow as each household/restaurant will have its own version and use what’s available

Sort of like paella or gumbo where its composition changes depending on where you are and what you have. Essentially, you’ve got carbs, protein and fibre in one delicious dish. If you find a restaurant where goat is used, pick that, you won’t regret it.

Mangu

This is mashed or boiled plantain. Mangu originated in West Africa which is another nod to the Dominican Republic’s robust list of influencers. Mangu is traditionally served for breakfast, which sets anyone up for the day, and it can be served with all sorts of delicious sides including; cured meats, fried cheese and eggs (usually scrambled.)

Pasteles en hojas

Pasteles can be found throughout the Caribbean. They are grated plantain which is formed into a paste and shaped into a rectangle. Then, the plantain pouch is stuffed with meat – usually beef that has been well seasoned.

It is then wrapped in a banana leaf and boiled until the meat is cooked. Pasteles en hojas can be found throughout the Dominican Republic and are a seasonal staple.