Cuban cuisine fuses the bold styles and spices of Spanish, African, and Caribbean foods, resulting in a unique flavour. Food is simple but very flavourful, often seasoned with garlic, cumin, oregano, and bay laurel leaves. Many Cuban dishes incorporate sofrito, which consists of fried onion, green pepper, garlic, oregano, and ground pepper. This base is added to most black beans, stews, meat dishes, and tomato sauces. The staples of Cuban food include roasted or fried meat and plantains, as well as rice and beans, which is served with nearly every meal besides breakfast.
Arroz con Pollo
Arroz con pollo (chicken with rice) is one of the most beloved chicken dishes in Cuba. The rice is a short-grained Valencia-style rice, picked up from Cuba’s Spanish heritage. Some people flavour the rice with saffron, but most Cubans use annatto oil (from the rust-coloured annatto seed) instead. The dish uses chicken pieces simmered with chopped green pepper, onion, garlic, saffron or annatto oil, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, chopped tomatoes, peas, rice, white wine, and water.
Pollo asado is a Cuban-style roasted chicken in a mojo sauce bursting with flavour. The chicken is marinated in the sauce infused with cumin, salt, oregano, garlic, lime, and orange juice then baked until tender.
Picadillo is true Cuban comfort food. Traditionally eaten at lunch, this beef hash dish can be served on its own, with rice, or used to fill pastelitos to make little meat pies. It can be served dry (thicker) or wet (soupier) with a little extra tomato sauce and wine.
Cuban Black Beans
This popular dish is possibly the most common in Cuba. It is usually eaten with a side of white rice, soup, or topped with avocado and chopped onions. The black beans are soaked in water with a laurel leaf overnight. The next day chopped green pepper, onion, salt, and garlic cloves are added, as well as ketchup, Tabasco, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar.
Ajiaco, a chunky meat and vegetable stew, is the national dish of Cuba. The name literally means 'something with many ingredients', so it is no surprise the dish has come to symbolise the Cuban peoples’ diverse ethnic backgrounds. The stew contains sweet potato, yucca root, plantains,
Street food in Cuba is ubiquitous, greasy, fried, yet surprisingly tasty. Sold from stands, baskets, wheelbarrows, and windows, you will find it available everywhere. Be careful to only order street food from vendors whose food is clean, fresh, and cooked right in front of you.
Cuban pizza is similar to typical pizza. It includes a thick slice of dough layered with a thin, seasoned coating of tomato sauce and sprinkled with cheese.
Cubans are fond of fritters, and they are available from just about every street vendor. Try churros, long, stick-like pieces of deep-fried dough, or chicharitas de platano, thinly-cut plantains flash fried in oil.
This popular dish is a rounded ball of mashed potatoes. The ball is filled with seasoned, fried meat, then breaded and deep fried.
This popular lunch item is made on lightly buttered Cuban bread then pressed in a panini-type grill to heat the contents. Pan con chorizo is a sandwich of pork sausage is seasoned with paprika. Pan con bistec includes pork steak fried with garlic and onions.
Unlike their Mexican counterparts which are made from cooked, dried hominy corn, Cuban tamales are made from fresh corn scraped off the cob. The little corn husks are filled with a paste of ground or grated corn seasoned with tomato, onion, garlic, cumin, green peppers, and fried pork.