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Mouthwatering Cuisine in the Dominican Republic

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Tuck into the Dominican Republic's hearty cuisine to taste Spanish influences and local produce. Dishes have a Latin American-Caribbean flavour, with meat and carbs as the main ingredients. Fresh fish, rice, bulgar wheat, plantains and beans usually make an appearance, and island-grown tomatoes, mangoes, passion fruit and papaya are juicy options for your five-a-day. Many meat dishes are flavoured with sofrito, a wet rub of peppers, onions, garlic, oregano, vinegar, tomato and cilantro. Whatever you choose from the menu, remember to order the local beer, Presidente.

La Banderaa
This hearty, patriotic dish translates as ‘the flag’. A perfect example of Dominican home cooking, it is made up of meat, beans, white rice and fried plantains. Variations on the dish are endless; beans can be black, red, white or green; the rice can contain noodles or vegetables; the meat can be pork, chicken, beef or goat, and stewed, fried or roasted. Whatever the combination, you will find this dish everywhere.

Chicharrones de Pollo
Also known as pica-pollo, these are small pieces of chicken, seasoned with lemon juice, soy sauce and salt, and deep fried in a batter of flour, paprika, salt and pepper. The crisp, golden chicken pieces are usually eaten with tostones, twice-fried slices of plantain a bit like potato crisps.

Pastelon
Like a Dominican shepherds pie, this casserole dish is pure comfort food. It is usually made with yellow plantain (pastelon de platano maduro) or cassava (pastelon de yuca), which is mashed and layered lasagne-style with cheese and ground meat cooked with tomato, onion, peppers and garlic.

From hot dogs and hamburgers to corn on the cob, you can get all the fast food classics on Dominican Republic holidays. But make sure you try the local goodies too. Street carts, stands, trikes and tray-clutching vendors sell quick eats like plantain fritters, fried salami and tostones, as well as sweet treats like candied coconut and dulce de leche. Be careful to only order street food from vendors whose food is clean, fresh and cooked right in front of you.

Chimichurris
The Dominican hamburger, every vendor has their own recipe for this meaty fast food dish. A chimichurri, or ‘chimi’ consists of a ground pork or beef patty, grilled and served in a pan de agua (water bread) bun, garnished with chopped cabbage and salsa rosa, a creamy pink sauce of mayonnaise, Tabasco and lemon juice.

Empanadas
Also known as pastelitos (little pies), this Spanish-influenced snack is a folded fried pastry stuffed with savoury fillings like cheese, beef, chicken or pork, and garnished with chopped olives, onions or egg. Empanadas made from cassava flour, called catibias, are also popular.

Yaniqueques
A popular beach snack, these crunchy, flaky, fried rounds are a simple mix of flour, baking soda, water, oil and salt. Ranging from the size and shape of LPs to smaller, easier to handle discs, yaniqueques are usually eaten with salt and/or ketchup.