Visiting Cuba anytime soon? With all those plans of setting trips to the wonderful beaches and exploring the history and architecture in Old Havanna, there is another thing that you must include in your plan. What is that? Well, that is digging in the amazing Cuban food! If you love food and love spice and flavor, come to Cuba. You will be spoilt for choices with all the Vaca Frita and Ropa Vieja around. Cuban food is actually a perfect fusion of Spanish, African, and other Caribbean cuisines. It has gone through age-old evolution. Let us just first tell you that Cubans eat healthy and feeling and whole food. A meal fool of rice, pork, beans – it is a treat to have. Have great rum over there and how can we not tell about the world-famous Cuban coffee?
You might come across things like ‘Cuban food is bland’. But let us break the myth for you and tell you that there are fantastic food options spread across the region and their street food is also equally delicious. For a matter of fact, Cuban food was bland for many long years and that too for a reason. They did not have access to many ingredients and spices so their food could not evolve in taste. People could only afford beans and rice as a meal as these two were cheap. But the scenario now has been changed and Cuban food is making its own name in the global food canvas. For a change, you have to taste Cuban sandwiches and their awesome Devil Crabs. Let us now dig into the article to know what good foods to try in this magical country.
A Few Words About Cuban Food:
Cubans use spices. They go for garlic, cumin, bay leaves, cumin in most of their dishes. Tomato sauce is used as a base for most of the beans and meat dishes. Their dishes are protein-packed, healthy, and just delicious.
Best Cuban Food That You Must Try:
Café con Leche and Tostada:
It is a coffee preparation that is loved across the nation. Cuban people generally start their morning with a hearty cup of this coffee. This is strong and includes warm milk in it. El Vampirito Cafeteria is one of the best places to order some Café con Leche. For a normal breakfast, you will get Tostada with Café con Leche. Tostada is a simple Cuban style toasted sandwich. They grill it with butter until crisp and nice.
For breakfast, you may also have scrambled eggs or eggs in some form, bacon, freshly cut fruits, and of course, Tostada and Cuban coffee.
Cuban Medianoche Sandwich:
Medianoche means midnight in Spanish. It is so named as it gets served in all the Havana’s nightclubs post-midnight. And it is nothing but a slight variation to the normal Cuban sandwich. Unlike the normal sandwiches, Medianoche uses soft and sweet egg dough bread instead of the thicker and crustier Cuban normal bread. And you will get loads of pork, ham, swiss cheese and pickle inside it, YUM IN THE TUM!!!
Lo de Monik is the place to order some of the best Cuban sandwiches.
Pan con Lechon:
It translates into ‘bread with pork’ and this is really a plain simple pork sandwich that is kind of a staple food here in Cuba. It often uses leftover roast pork and is yum. This highly pressed sandwich uses a heavily buttered base. On top of that, you get roasted pork, onions, and tasty mojo sauce. You will get this Cuban food at almost all the restaurants.
This dish is all for those spicy food lovers. The lip-smacking taste of the peppers and lime-infused onions and the irresistible combo of spices that go in the preparation is just on another level. They marinate the skirt steak with loads of oregano, cilantro, garlic, cinnamon, red wine vinegar and then braise it until really soft and tender. You can rip the steak apart so easily. It melts into the mouth and gives a beautiful burst of taste.
They often use pan-fried shredded flank too to make this preparation. Then the skirt steak or the shredded flank is served with a whole lot of rice, black beans, and the side dish of zesty lime-infused onion and peppers.
Cuban Black Bean Soup:
A delicious and flavorful bowl of black bean soup is mandatory to taste whilst in Cuba. It is one of the traditional Cuban food that includes an exceptional combination of black beans, avocados, and oregano. It is vegan, it is healthy with lots of protein in it, and it is DELICIOUS.
Now everybody knows about this Cuban delicacy. That tender shredded beef cooked in tomato sauce and served with fluffy white rice feels heavenly in mouth and they serve it with fried ripe plantains. It gets its rich taste from the simmered beef broth and it is so flavorful and one of the most traditional and comforting Cuban food to try.
In some restaurants, they serve Ropa Vieja with yellow rice, black beans, plantains, and fried yuca.
Arroz con Pollo:
Cubans eat cooked meat served on a bed of rice. Like in the previous food, the meat type was beef. And in this dish, the chicken breast or legs get served on the bed of rice. This has a close relation with paella and is famous in almost all countries of Latin America.
Cubans use field corn to make their Tamales and that is less sweet and more feeling. Unlike Spanish Tamales, Cuban Tamales are made mixing the meat with the dough of Tamale. Mas Habana is one of the best restaurants that offer great Tamales.
Okay, so this dish is super spicy and highly delicious. Fresh blue crab meat gets sautéed in enchilada sauce. Basically it got its origin in Tampa, Florida and tastes really hot. After the sautéing process is done, the meat is rolled in breadcrumbs and is given the shape of that of a small potato. Then the ball is deep-fried to perfection and is ready to eat.
Tres Leches Cake:
Coming to the segment of desserts, Cubans love sweets and they have plenty of varieties when it comes to desserts. Tres Leches cake translates to three milks cake. Actually it uses three different types of milk in the process of making the cake. The preparation is a bit unusual in the sense after the cake is baked, Cubans soak it in a mixture of three types of milk: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream. The cake gets the right amount of spongy, the right amount of sweet, and tastes just delicious. Oh, they top the cake with a whole lot of vanilla-flavored whipped cream.
Churros: Cuban Sweet Breadsticks:
These warm, crispy, and chewy churros will definitely conquer your heart that is basically a Cuban street food. These cinnamon-sugar coated breadsticks are really famous street foods during festivals and events.
An egg-caramel custard that uses double eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and sugar. The taste reaches another height of level as extra cinnamon, caramel sauce, and condensed milk is added to the preparation. Finish off your meal with this soft, smooth, and spongy Cuban food that will melt in your mouth leaving a burnt caramel aftertaste. You will just love it to bits.
This is a specialty Cuban soft drink. It is brewed from barley, hops, and water and is lightly carbonated. It is non-alcoholic and has a beer-like smell. But it does not get fermented. Go for brands like Tinima for bottles and Bucanero for cans.
An exceptional combination of ingredients goes into the making of this cocktail. It is basically a Cuban style Bloody Mary that uses rum and tomato juice in the making. Taste it and feel the twist.
This is your usual rum and cola cocktail just in a local Cuban style. They go for light rum brands like Bacardi and adds Coca-cola in it. For more taste, they add fresh lime juice. It is one of the highly consumed drinks in Cuba.
Some Of The Best Restaurants To Taste Cuban Food:
Finca Paraiso Agroecologica, Viñales: Bargain eatery with a fantastic view and good food.
La Guarida: An amazing rooftop bar in Havana with the view of Havana Center and authentic Cuban food.
San Cristóbal: Amazing food with interesting décor.
El Dandy: A retro café with great food and a relaxing ambiance.
La Rosa Negra: The place is completely vegan and does not compromise with taste. Also, they serve awesome cocktails to go with your meals.
California Café: All famous for the Cuban sandwich. And do not miss their mojitos as well.
So we are quite sure by now that you have grown up unparalleled interest for the yummy Cuban food. It has evolved with ongoing time and has borrowed influences from many parts of the world. Now, standing in the present century, Cuban food is neither boring nor bland. It is just distinctly delicious with its own identity. So come to Cuba and explore its awesome culinary delicacies.