One of the things to do in Cuba is certainly to taste some of the island’s traditional dishes!
This Creole dish is usually reserved for special occasions and consists of long-cooked filamentous beef in a special broth, accompanied with a sauce of tomato, onion, olives, garlic, salt and pepper and served with rice You can easily find it in restaurants.
The plantain banana
The plantain banana is a fruit that is eaten like a vegetable. It is served fried, very often in slices, and serves as an accompaniment to main dishes. If the slices are thin, they are called mariquitas; when cut into thicker slices, they are called tostones.
A recipe very similar to the previous one, but with the use of fewer ingredients: the fried cow is shredded beef that is seasoned with salt, lemon is added and it is cooked with a garlic and onion frying. It has no sauce, unlike old clothes, and is eaten with rice and/or patacones (fried plantains).
Moros y Cristianos
Inexpensive, this dish consists of white rice and black beans, whose colours inspired the name of the recipe since it literally means “Moors and Christians”. Its version with red beans and meat is called “congri”, the basic dish of Cuban cuisine. It is especially used to accompany meats.
Arroz con pollo
This chicken rice is a popular and easy to find dish in Cuba. Its speciality lies in the spices that accompany the meat and rice, as it is usually accompanied by cumin, saffron, olive oil and oregano, but also by tomatoes and sometimes even peas, for a complete meal.
Not very commercialised, fans will have to go as far as Guamá or Giron to find some. The taste would be quite similar to that of veal, and it can be cooked, for example, with a spicy pineapple sauce.
These appetizers are made from mashed potatoes, rolled into a small ball in egg and breadcrumbs. They are sometimes filled with meat and peppers, as well as garlic and onions. They can be found on most Cuban tables at mealtime.
Cuban lobsters are quite famous, you can find them in most restaurants, prepared in various ways. They can be spicy and spicy, or cooked with sofrito, but it is said that the best ones are eaten right after fishing, grilled with a simple lemon fillet. The best would be to try it in a private house
Please note: lobster fishing is highly regulated and is not possible during the breeding season.
In Cuba we only ate it once, but when we traveled to Colombia we swelled up like chili! And it is delicious! It is a soup prepared with meat (in Cuba they use mainly beef and pork), corn, yucca, potatoes, green bananas, guasca, avocado, lime and spices (cumin, pepper, chili and salt).
Picadillo a la criolla
Another of the typical Cuban dishes you have to try before you go. It is prepared with minced beef and pork minced beef stewed in onions, tomato, pepper, garlic and spices. Usually accompanied by white rice and black beans and fried plantains.And often ingredients such as olives, wine or raisins can be added. It is also known as “picadillo a la cubana” or “picadillo a la habanera” but they are all the same dish.
Cuban-Style Stuffed Pineapple
Pineapples are Cuba’s favourite fruit: they are found in sauces, spiced or stuffed with minced meat. In the latter case, beef and ham are added, as well as butter and sugar during cooking, for exotic sweet/savoury flavours.
Yucca with mojo
Yucca with mojo is a traditional Cuban dish, simple to prepare but with a very tasty result. The yucca is boiled and the mojo is prepared with olive oil, lime juice, salt and garlic. It is usually ordered as an accompaniment to other dishes or to share, almost never as a single dish (although if you are a vegetarian it can save you a nice meal).
This is a very well known dish in Cuba. Lechon asado is a spit-roasted pig, cooked until the skin is crispy. You may even be able to see a pig roasting in one of the food stalls. If you like, you can try fried pork rind alone – it’s called “chicharrones”.
Lechon asado is often served with a sauce called mojo, made with garlic, spices, oil, onion and a small amount of bitter orange or lime juice.
In Cuba, lechon asado is a typical dish for celebrations. Several times, a whole pig is cooked in the ground and covered with banana leaves. It is a tradition and a feast. In addition, they often roast the pig in a specially designed box called porcelain.
The Tamal is an indigenous recipe, made with corn mass and cooked in a banana leaf. It is possible to add elements such as chicken or pork. There are also variants with rice
chicharrones con limon
Perfect to enjoy as an aperitif with a good Crystal Bear
Pizza is an institution in Cuba. We can say that you have not been to Cuba if you do not stop in a ventanita to taste a pizza.
With the Pizza experience, you will also take a lesson on the art of recycling paper. Here we can learn that it is possible to eat in the street without polluting with unnecessary packaging.
Sandwiches are never missing from Cuban windows, but if you want to try the unique and authentic Cuban sandwich, watch out for the ingredients: Cuban bread, roast pork, sweet ham, mustard, Swiss cheese and pickles in brine. Die!
Arroz con Leche
It is a popular Cuban dessert, generally made from eggs and condensed milk, creamy and tender, served with vanilla, lemon or cinnamon aromas.
Although there may be slight variations from one place to another.
What is clear is that it is one of the most loved desserts, by locals and tourists alike.
Nothing more local than walking the streets of Havana with a Bon Churro
Dulce de Mani
Very popular in Cuba, Dulce de mani is sold mostly in the street by street vendors. Another dish to try, especially since it is delicious and it helps the local economy.
Cuban cakes are always very colorful, and… very sweet. Enough to give you a revolutionary strength !
Romeo y Julieta
Made with guava and cheese, it is a very popular dessert in Cuba. Ideal also when you go hiking
Coppelia’s ice cream
Ice creams in Cuba are delicious and you can’t leave the island without tasting Coppelia’s ice cream.
Very popular, you will often see long queues, but it’s worth it. They are also incredibly cheap.
Best Restaurants in Cuba : 4 Top Recommendations
To eat in Cuba as a local, you have to go to paladares, restaurants set up and run by a family in their own home.
Quite common in Cuba’s big cities and typical villages, paladares are the ideal place to discover the culinary traditions of this Caribbean country.
Taberna La Botija
In a quiet corner of Trinidad, a town in the province of Sancti Spíritus in Cuba, is La Taberna La Botija, a small picturesque tavern with a colonial accent.
A la carte, meat, fish, but also a variety of tapas based on local recipes are offered for those with a small appetite and those who wish to discover a variety of dishes.
What do we order? The lobster grilled on the embers, the signature dish of La Taberna.
You also come here for its good cocktails, such as the Mojito or the Piña Colada, Cuban classics, but also for its local wines that you must absolutely taste.
In the evenings, you can attend a concert by a group of young Cubans or salsa singers, just to let off steam on the dance floor.
Address: Amargura 71-B | esq. Boca, Trinidad 62600, Cuba
To eat in Cuba as a local, you have to go to paladares, family houses turned into restaurants.
The Guarida is a perfect example. In this paladar in Havana, there are rows of restaurant tables in a large living room. On the menu? Cuban gastronomic dishes: red beans, white rice, marinated chicken fillets… all finely presented and revisited.
For the little anecdote, the restaurant La Guarida was used as the setting for the Cuban film Fresa y Chocolate, nominated for an Oscar in 1995.
And for the perfect Cuban experience, you go up to the beautifully appointed terrace to enjoy a good cigar accompanied by a mojito.
The perfect Cuban rooftop to enjoy your stay.
Address : 418 Concordia, La Habana, Cuba
Atelier is another paladar to eat in Cuba as a local.
Just a few steps from the Malecón promenade, Atelier is an intimate and discreet place where you can eat traditional Cuban dishes such as picadillos, grilled lobsters or a succulent Ropa Vieja, made from long-cooked filamentous beef in a special broth, accompanied by Cuban sauces and flavours.
In the kitchen, chef Michael Calvo draws inspiration from the family recipes of his childhood and regularly changes his menu according to seasonal products and available ingredients.
Address: Paseo Y 2, Vedado, 5ta, La Habana, Cuba
Otra Manera is another paladar that pushes the limits of gastronomy in Cuba.
This typical family home is distinguished by its modern and vintage decoration.
The menu changes according to the seasons and the mood of the lady of the house, who knows perfectly her local clientele, its demands and tastes.
In a cocoon of intimacy and an exceptional setting, you can have lunch or dinner at ease while savouring a modern cuisine strongly inspired by Cuban tradition.
To take full advantage of the sun and summer temperatures, we sit on the green terrace, like a small private garden, far from the noise and crowds.
Address: Restaurante Otramanera, 1810 Avenida 35, La Habana, Cuba
Eating in Cuba FAQ
Is cuban food spicy ?
Cubans like to season their food with sofrito, a sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, onion, oregano and pepper, which flavors many of their dishes.
Is Cuban Food healthy ?
Inspired by the tropics, Cuban cuisine uses some of the typical ingredients that go into most local dishes: black beans, rice, spices and meat.
Can I drink the tap water in Cuba ?
The water is theoretically drinkable, but we recommend that you don’t drink the tap water. Try to buy closed bottles, your stomach will thank you and you will avoid possible indigestions.
What food do Cuban people eat ?
Cuba is a place with typical dishes and a rich gastronomy. For a relatively small country, Cuba has an abundance of culinary delights, even if the vagaries of rationing and state-run restaurants can overshadow its dynamic potential.good example is the cuisine of eastern Cuba, which borrows generously from African and Caribbean culinary traditions for its use of coconut, chocolate, honey, annatto seeds and other spices. Cuban cuisine uses fresh ingredients prepared simply, often in stews, soups and sandwiches. Meats are roasted slowly until they fall tender.
How much does food cost in Cuba ?
Here is a list to get you an idea
Pizza : 0,2 Cuc
Main dish: 3-12 cuc
Main dish with seafood: 8 -20 cuc.
– Pasta: 3-7 cuc.
– Drinks: 1-3 cuc
– Cocktails: 1,5-3 cuc.
– Street soda, cans and mineral water : cost 1-1.5 cuc.
What does cuban food consist of ?
Pork is undoubtedly the most popular meat in Cuba and appears in many local dishes. The island’s pork meat is of better quality than beef. There are several types of preparation for pork: cooked, fried or grilled. From the pig meat, one can prepare the lechon asado. This typical Cuban dish is prepared with black beans cooked with white rice. The black beans are stuffed with meat, usually marinated pork. Garlic, oregano and sour orange are also added to the recipe. It should be noted that rice and black beans are among the basic ingredients of the Cuban population. You will find them all over the island, and at a good price.
What is Cuban Food ? History and Origin
It can be said that the basis of Cuban gastronomy is Spanish cuisine, since its food has brought an infinity of ingredients and the way to prepare them, but due to the difficulty of obtaining some of the ingredients of typical Spanish dishes in Cuba, the Creoles have gradually introduced new indigenous elements. Cuban cuisine has also been influenced by African cuisine and comes from the time of slavery, when the cooks themselves were slaves. These influences greatly affected the way dishes were prepared and also brought new ingredients, such as yams.Cuba has received thousands of Chinese immigrants, who have also contributed to Cuban gastronomy. In this case, the most important element of their contributions was the jinx.All these influences have provided Cuban cuisine with its own unique identity in the world.