Cuba is home to some of the most delicious, colorful and all natural foods. With numerous dishes made with fresh fruits and vegetables; they have a healthy twist with an exotic taste. Since many of the trees are adorned with these fruits and vegetables such as avocados, plantains, mangos, pineapples and coconuts; they are the basis for the many dishes that they make and serve throughout the country for residents that are always there or visitors that are just passing through.
The flavor of the food is where they start when making any dishes. In order to make a high quality Cuban meal, the taste buds have to have a mix of sweet and savory flavors. They start by sautéing green bell peppers, onions and garlic together in olive oil. This provides a base to start making many meals from, with the thick flavor underlying the meats, fruits and vegetables that they use in each dish. Contrary to what some believe, Cuban dishes are more sweet than spicy. Spicy dishes are available, but traditional dishes have less of a kick to them.
Cuban Specialty Dishes
Known as the Cuban hamburger, they are one of the most popular dishes to request while in the country. The sandwich consists of a meat patty that is shaped like a traditional hamburger, but instead of being completely beef, there is both ground beef and pork. This gives it a sausage flavor. Served in a warm bun and coming with a side of crunchy potato sticks, it is like being home but with a different twist.
Croquetas are made with leftover dinner meat. It doesn’t matter what type of meat it is. It can be ham, beef, pork, turkey or a mix of them together. The meat is processed into a paste mixture. The paste is then molded into long bars with rounded edges. An egg batter is made and slathered on the meat bars. Seasoned bread crumbs are placed over the egg battered meat bars and then fried to a golden brown. Croquetas can be enjoyed alone, with a favorite Cuban dip or in between bread as a sandwich.
Much like our omelets we enjoy on a daily basis, but with a mixture of other delicious fruits and vegetables packed inside it. Ham, eggs, sweet plantains, avocados, potatoes, eggs, onions, sweet peppers and so many other delicious mixtures are all stuffed into a warm tortilla shell. The eggs are not scrambled when placed in the omelette, they are cooked right on top of the tortilla so the tortillas are easier to fold and eat.
Flan is a golden custard that is baked to create a smooth, thick, creamy dessert that many enjoy after a large meal. Once the flan is fully baked, it is drizzled with caramel to give it an even sweeter twist. Served in a small bowl because of how sweet it is, it is a favorite treat for the residents in Cuba and those visiting.
Whether you want to try something new, or something that has remained a tradition throughout Cuba for years; many of their dishes are cooked to order and as delicious as the next. Try a sampler of foods from restaurants in the area or order something different from those you’re visiting with and share. Many restaurants in the area have traditional meals posted on their menus and can recommend some of the tastier dishes depending on the flavor you’re looking for. Enjoy being in Cuba and the delightful, flavorful dishes that they serve you. Make sure to stop by for some drinks too, the Cuba Libre is delicious!