On your next beach vacation to the Dominican Republic, you’ll want to experience all the island offers, including its local fare. Get a taste of this Caribbean paradise’s unique heritage with our list of local favorites, national dishes and traditional menu items.
Los Tres Golpes
Translated as “the three hits,” Los Tres Golpes makes Dominican Republic’s favorite national breakfast. Made up of mangú, fried eggs, queso frito and thick-sliced fried Dominican salami, you may want to take this recipe home from vacation.
Mangú: It’s hard to visit DR without trying Mangu, as it’s served all day long. This beloved side dish is made with boiled plantains that are later mashed and topped with pickled red onions.
Queso Frito: Simply put, it’s deep-fried white cheese. Sounds heavenly, right?
Dominican Salami: What meat eater doesn’t love salami? This true national staple is frequently served fried with breakfast in thick-cut, circular pieces.
Although translated as Dominican stewed beans, this far downplays the excellence of the habichuelas guisadas. Enjoy beans stewed with vegetables, herbs and meat or fish, then served with arroz blanco and a salad.
Arroz Blanco: White rice may sound boring, but in Dominican culinary culture, it’s an “absorbent” ingredient—meant for cooking in multiple creative and delicious ways. Arroz blanco may be eaten any time of the day, but it is usually served as part of lunch.
Ensalada Verde: In the Dominican Republic, ensalada verde can be one ingredient or as many as the budget allows. This salad is typically served with oil and vinegar as its dressing and vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber, onions or peppers for lunch.
Pollo guisado is Dominican braised chicken similar to chicken fricassee, and commonly substituted for habichuelas guisadas. However, certain flavors like adobo powder, keep it clearly defined on its own terms.
This common Latin American stew is hearty and strong, with meat, root vegetables and plantains. However, the Dominican take on Sancocho is quite specific: sancocho de siete carnes or sancocho made with seven meats. There’s no shortage of nightlife in DR and since sancocho works as a hangover cure, it’s often served on weekends and for special occasions.
Habichuelas con Dulce
Traditionally served as a dessert during the season of Lent, this indigenous Dominican soup is translated as “sweet cream of beans.” Pureed red beans are cooked with coconut milk, evaporated milk, sugar, cloves and cinnamon. The result is thick, creamy, sweet and delectable—even without the small milk cookies that are usually served on top.
Tostones are twice-fried plantains, similar to French fries or potato chips, except once they’re fried, the chips are pounded flat with a specialized tool and fried to a crisp a second time. These chips are frequently served with a garlic dipping sauce and fried pork or pickled hot peppers accompaniment.
La Bandera Dominicana
No visit to the Dominican Republic is complete without trying “the Dominican flag” dish. This traditional midday meal is commonly made up of rice, red beans, meat and tostones, but it varies widely, sometimes incorporating stews like pollo guisado and habichuelas guisadas.
Wash your favorite Dominican dishes down with a glass of Mamajuana—the indigenous drink with a worldwide cult following. This strong cocktail, similar to port due to its dark red color and sweetness, has rather controversial medicinal benefits. Ingredients include tree bark, roots, rum-soaked herbs, red wine and honey, making a sweet tonic for the organs, blood and alimentary system.