Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, has been named the Gastronomic Culture Capital of the Caribbean on more than one occasion.
Check out these popular traditional dishes—which reflect the country's African, Spanish, and indigenous Taino influences—and you'll understand why.
Sancocho de Siete Carnes (Seven-Meat Stew)
Want to try one of the best, most authentic Dominican dishes?
Look no further than Sancocho.
It's a hearty stew you can find all over the Caribbean, but the DR offers a deluxe version: Sancocho de Siete Carnes.
In this carnivore's delight, you'll find beef, chicken, goat, four types of pork, yams, squash, and plantains—all served with a significant portion of rice.
(It's also supposed to be a great hangover cure.)
Popular in both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, this dish originated in Africa.
In the DR, it's made by frying green plantains, mashing them together with garlic and fried pork skins, and forming them into a ball.
You'll find a variety of toppings to add to your mofongo, like melted cheese and garlic broth. Yum!
Mangú and Los Tres Golpes (The Three Hits)
Here's another plantain dish from Africa.
Instead of frying and mashing the plantains with a mortar and pestle, mangú is made by boiling them and mashing them with butter or oil.
For a typical Dominican breakfast (that you can eat any time of day), mangú is served with eggs, fried Dominican salami, and fried cheese, a.k.a. Los Tres Golpes.
La Bandera Dominicana (the Dominican Flag)
La Bandera Dominicana is a true staple of Dominican cuisine.
Families typically gather at lunchtime to enjoy a meal of rice, beans, and meat—usually chicken or whatever meat is available.
A salad usually accompanies the dish.
The three ingredients represent the three colors of the flag: White (rice) for salvation, red (beans) for the blood of heroes, and blue (meat) for liberty.
Once a staple of the indigenous Taino people, this flatbread, made from the yucca plant, is still eaten today in the DR.
It's typically paired with mambá, a spicy and savory peanut butter, and the next dish on the list …
Habichuelas con Dulce (Sweet Cream of Beans)
Dominicans absolutely love this dessert made from an odd combination of ingredients—which never seem to be precisely the same.
Generally speaking, it's made from pureed red kidney beans or pinto beans, coconut milk, evaporated milk, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon, all combined into a thick cream.
Sweet potatoes and raisins are often added, too.
Which traditional dish are you most excited to try on your next visit to the Dominican Republic?
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