6 Unique Foods You’ll Only Find in the Dominican Republic
Dominican food stands head and shoulders above the rest of Latin America.
As a whole, Dominican food has more “on-the-tongue” strong and sweet flavors. And, even their main dishes make use of plantains, sweet vegetables, and fruits.
While there are many similarities between Latin American and Dominican food, influences from Africa and the Indigenous Taino help set it apart. You’ll even find some Middle-Eastern flavors thrown in. As a result, even when you do find a dish shared between the Domincan Republic and other Latin American countries, it’s made totally unique in Domincan hands.
We’ve listed some of the Dominican Republic’s “must-try” dishes and drinks, here. Some are uniquely Dominican, while others are uniquely Dominican takes on common foods. You’ll have to forgive our pictures! Some are of the unique Dominican article, but others are the closest we could find.
Mangu and Los Tres Golpes:
We hope you like plantains.
Mangu is a uniquely Dominican dish that is, quite simply, amazing. It’s a dish made with mashed plantains and often served as part of a Dominican breakfast. There’s an interesting story behind its name that claims that “Mangu” came from shortening what everyone said when eating the dish:
“Man, this good.”
Whether or not that’s true, it is accurate. And, if you want a full Domincan breakfast, you’ll want it paired with fried Dominican Salami, eggs, and Queso Frito (fried cheese). Together, these are known as Los Tres Golpes… “The Three Strikes.”
Habichuelas con Dulche (Sweet Cream of Beans):
This is another uniquely Dominican dish, and it usually surprises non-Dominicans. It’s a sweetened bean dessert with a consistency like pudding, and despite how unusual that sounds, it’s massively popular in the Dominican Republic.
It’s often served during the Lenten period and made in massive quantities to be shared with friends and family. On top of that, every family has their own unique recipe, and each claims to have the “best.” So, if you get the chance, try as many varieties as you can.
Sancocho de Sietes Carnes:
“Sancocho” is not an inherently Dominican dish. It’s a strong, savory meat stew made by mixing meat, root vegetables, and (we said, they’re popular here) plantains. Like Habichuelas con Dulche, it’s usually made in large quantities and meant to be shared, and most versions of “Sancocho” are popular throughout Latin America.
Sancocho de Sietes Carnes, on the other hand, is the Dominican take on Sancocho. And, for those with rusty Spanish—that translates to the “Sancocho of Seven Meats.” Predictably, it’s Sancocho… with seven varieties of meat thrown in.
Need we say more?
Pastelon de Platano:
Pastelon is popular in the whole of Latin America, and each nation has its own variation. But, originally, Pastelon is from the Dominican Republic, where it exists in seven major varieties.
The most popular of these is “Pastelon de Platano,” which is…
Well, a giant, meat-filled plantain lasagna.
Is your mouth watering, yet?
The plantains the main ingredient, here. They’re usually fried, then baked. In between layers of these, you’ll find onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, olives, capers, ground meat, and various cheese. The whole thing is cooked with beaten eggs to keep everything in place, and when it’s all done, it’s garnished with parmesan cheese and parsley.
Mama Juana is another item you’ll only find in the Dominican Republic, and it’s the only drink to make our list.
Before we begin, take note that Dominican rum is incredibly popular worldwide due to its unbeatable quality.
Now, take that rum and allow it, red wine, and honey to soak in a bottle with tree bark and herbs. Originally, this combination of herbs was created by the Taino Indians, and some claim that the drink is an aphrodisiac. Some even go so far as to say that it can cure the flu, aid digestion, improve sexual performance, and cleanse the blood.
So, take a shot. What do you have to lose?
Let’s end with a dessert.
Majarete is a Domincan take on Mazamorra (The picture to your right) made by cutting corn from the cob and boiling both parts in milk. Then, you toss the cob and blend the milk and corn together before straining it and throwing it back in the pot with corn starch, butter, evaporated milk, and sweet seasonings. Finally, you top it with nutmeg.
It winds up being a perfectly sweet and creamy way to end the night.
As you can see, Domincan food is unique, and if you have a sweet tooth or a flair for the decadent, then you have another thing to add to your “to-do” list when you arrive in the Dominican Republic.
Written by Connor Johnson
Connor Johnson is a flexible content and copy writer located in the Boston area. He supplements his writing with in-depth research and general marketing skills. He can be contacted here.