Food Travel

The Incredible Food (and drink) of the Dominican Republic

I was so happy with the food and drink in the DR. I watched some videos before leaving, but was not expecting the depth and breadth of food that I experienced. I have been to a few Caribbean countries and none were as impressive. There are lots of gaps – for example – in Puerto Rico, they eat very little seafood, strange considering it is an island; in Cuba, there is a lack of fresh vegetables, and so on. In the DR, the people are very passionate about their food. I spoke to many locals who were proud of the diverse vegetation, and many local dishes. So here is a summary of what we ate an enjoyed in the DR. Note that we stayed at Amanera and some of the food you will see is from the resort. Usually, when travelling, we make it a point to eat as little as possible in the hotel (just breakfast). For this trip, due to COVID, this was not always possible. However, we did speak to the manager of the food and beverage program upon arrival to discuss creating different Dominican dishes for us daily, and expressed our interest in local food. Nevertheless, whether the food was from the hotel or outside, it was always delicious.

Lets start with the rum. Its absolutely delicious and is nice just neat. The one I really liked was Extra Viejo. I think the producer is Brugal.

Like many nations with Spanish influence, they have empanadas.

..and like many Latin American countries, beans and rice are a staple.

Fresh salads are part of the cuisine. They make a lot of use of avocados. Some form of plantains are common with every meal.

This was a delicious fish in a typical coconut sauce. Very good. You can see the smashed and fried plantains to the left (tostones).

This was a beach BBQ the resort put on one night. The inspiration for the chef was more Argentinian than Dominican, but it was very delicious and a great time.

fresh mango
some more great rum
This was probably the best cigar I have had (though I am no expert); no after taste in the morning! Fuente Opus X

Next was one of the highlights of the trip. A couple locals took us to a beach frequented by locals, Playa Caleton, where we enjoyed an amazing lunch on the beach. There is no menu. A server brings out the day’s catch on a platter, you choose what you want and how you want it cooked. We left it all to the locals and they did not disappoint. Incredible. The food included fried fish which was seasoned to perfection. Also, grilled shellfish, fresh salad, tostones, fries, conch, shrimp with garlic (so good), octopus in a tomato sauce, and beans and rice. I highly highly recommend you do something like this.

Local food, local beer

Just like Puerto Rico, Mofongo is eaten in the DR. Mofongo is smashed fried plantains with garlic and various other ingredients.

The next dish is one of my new favorites – Sancocho. Its basically a hearty broth (somewhere in between stew and broth) with various meat and corn. Its delicious.

One of the only local desserts we tried, other than chocolate, which the country is also known for, a tres leches cake.

A tour of a chocolate production facility

One of the only restaurants we ate in on a day trip to the capital – Santo Domingo.

They had a buffet assortment of local food; this was recommended by our guide

We ate in the food in the car as we had to be somewhere.

The food was spectacular and of course, more sancocho:

This one was better than the first one from the hotel

…and finally, for our last meal in the country, the F&B manager recommended Dominican fried chicken.

This was the BEST fried chicken I have ever had. I told them if they opened one in the US or Canada, KFC would be in trouble. The seasoning is perfect. The chicken is moist. So crispy. In fact, as I sit here writing this in Miami, which fortunately has an abundance of Latin American food, I am going to go find a Dominican fried chicken place. Also pictured above is something called pastelon. It reminds me of a cross between a shepherd’s pie and a lasagna, but made with mashed plantains instead of potato/pasta.

…and there you have it. I am sure I missed so many things. Our driver mentioned that if we came back, we have to try the goat too. Overall, extremely impressed by the cuisine of the DR. The top three things I had were the sancocho, fried fish, and fried chicken. I will be definitely be making sancocho at home.

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