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Dominican Republic Food and Drink

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Dominican food is a mixed blend of African, Spanish and Taino Indian influences, and if you just stick to your meals in your all-inclusive hotel buffets then you will not get a real taste of the island flavours at all. The food whilst not heavily hot spiced like neighbouring islands of Jamaica and Trinidad draws a different range of spices to tingle and tempt taste-buds with plenty of fresh herbs, garlic and tangy sauces.

Rice and Beans!

The most common plate eaten by everyone here is rice and beans. From toddlers to old folk this is pretty much the staple of every meal being highly nutritious and tasty. The dish is called the Dominican Flag and the beans (red kidney beans) are cooked in a pungent herby tomato sauce, this dish usually comes with fried chicken or pork and a basic salad (cabbage is used here a lot instead of lettuce as a salad base). Do not be surprised to see "green" tomatoes in a typical Dominican salad - they are crunchy and very tasty! Garlic, tomato and green peppers are all key ingredients in Dominican cooking (La cocina Dominicana) and are the base for most of the sauces used here.

Some like it hot!

For something spicy try the stewed goat or chivo picante (picante means spicy/hot). Goat tastes very similar to lamb for the uninitiated but is known to be a little boney. This is delicious and comes served with rice, tostones (Fried plantian chips) and salad. The goats are grown in the west of the country and are fed fresh oregano which grows in abundance in the countryside giving their meat a unique and sweet flavor.

Favourites

Sancocho is one of the most famous dishes in the DR. Originated from the Spanish housewives who colonized here in the sixteen hundreds this dish is made from 5 different meats, an amazing selection of tubers, vegetables and spices. Served as a hearty stew/soup fresh avocados (when in season) are sliced on top.

Fish and Seafood

Fresh seafood and fish are specialities in most restaurants here, from sea bass, parrot fish and tuna all locally caught, fried, poached, grilled or baked, plain or served a la criolla (spicy tomato sauce), with garlic or con coco (with coconut) in certain parts of the country. Shrimps, lobster and crab can be found in most restaurants and are served simply to let the natural flavours speak for themselves. Some of the best places to taste sea food are the small shack type restaurants found on beaches where you can see a barbeque in place and pick what you want off the grill. Served with salad and French fries, the coolest beer you can imagine sit back under your palm tree and watch the waves as you tuck into your Caribbean tropical delight!

Word of Warning

A lot of the food, especially in hotels, is deep fried using coconut oil - so a word or warning when you first arrive is not to stuff too much at once and ease your delicate tummies into the buffet line gently. Coconut being a natural laxative is a main cause for most tummy upsets over here.

Fruits

Real home grown organic fruits are readily available in not just your hotels but in supermarkets, outdoor markets and street vendors everywhere, fresh and sun-ripened and all those tropical colours and flavours ready to explode in your mouth – delicious. Pineapples, passion fruit, mango’s, papaya’s, oranges, star fruits, bananas, and many more are often used fresh in smoothies/milkshakes or "batida’s" as they called in the DR.

What to Drink

The aforementioned drinks are in chronological order from waking up to disco dancing and then going to bed!

Breakfast time – Dominican coffee ranks as one of the number one coffee’s in the world. Most Dominicans take it in small doses literally smothered in sugar – this is called a café cito. However you like it, black or with milk it is delicious coffee and you should always make sure you take a couple of packs back home with you to remind you of your fabulous vacation.

Mid Morning – A freshly squeezed juice is available just about everywhere, from inside your hotel to most cafes and bars offering a staggering selection of juices. Fresh orange juice is cool and refreshing just about anytime!

Lunchtime – Bottled water is a must to re-hydrate yourselves but as it is now after 11.00 you couldn’t go far wrong with a cool Presidente, the number one selling beer on the island. Other brands of beer are Bohemia and Brahma.

Afternoon – Cocktail time has arrived already – choose from a pina colada, bana mama or melon ball the choice is yours – just remember the amount of coconut milk used could have you running to the loo more times than you really want too!

Sodas are widely available over here, not much choice in the range of diet sodas but the main sellers like Pepsi and Coca Cola can be bought nearly everywhere. Interesting to note that a soda is usually more expensive to buy than a shot of rum!

Evening – Wines are imported into the DR, making them costly when eating out and a limited choice usually. Rum is made on the island and comes in a confusing amount of ages and tastes. The main brands are Brugal, Barcelo and Bermudez. The rums are darker when aged, however you can also buy white rum too. Watch out for 151 rum as it is 100% proof and great as a take home present for your mother-in-law as it will have her out for weeks after just one sip or for soaking your dentures in!

Most people drink their rum with coke this is a cuba libre or with sprite a santo libre! You could always ask for a “servicio” which is a small bottle of rum, two cokes and a bucket of ice with some lime slices, when out in a local bar!

Don’t forget to try the local aphrodisiac which is called “Mama Juana” a hard to stomach concoction of rum, honey, barks and leaves. Which is made in a large bottle and then put away for 3 months or so. Once potency has been fully reached it is served in little shot glasses usually after dinner! You can buy the dried form of leaves and barks in most supermarkets and add your own rum honey or special blends back home!Enjoy……!!!!!

Read 33181 times Last modified on Thursday, 15 March 2012 02:03
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