19 Must Try Foods: Dominican Republic

19 Must Try Foods: Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean country that is known for its beautiful beaches and tropical weather, but something far more enticing is its food. If you really want to get to know a country then you should start with its food, and the Dominican Republic is no different!

Though many of Dominican Republic’s recipes are unique, like many Latin American countries, the Dominican Republic cuisine is a mix of indigenous Taino, African, and Spanish culture. There is so much to taste and experience in this amazing country. Here are 19 foods from the Dominican Republic that you should try!


quipe must try dominican republic food

Quipes are one of my favorite finger foods in the Dominican Republic, but they are also one of the best examples of the transference of food culture by immigrants. Brought over by Lebanese immigrants, the quipe is a Dominican version of the Middle Eastern kibbeh. Unlike the traditional Middle Eastern kibbeh that uses lamb, Dominicans use beef, coupled with minced onions, and leave out most of the spices and herbs.


sancocho must try food dominican republic

This rich and hearty stew is usually made with a variety of meats including beef, pork, chicken, and goat, as well as an ample amount of plantains, pumpkin, corn, and yucca. It is usually served with a side of white rice and avocado. Although known as a stew for special occasions, especially Christmas and New Year’s, it can be found all over the country.


mangu must try food dominican republic
Left: w/ fried cheese and avocado. Right: w/ salami, onions, and avocado.

Mangú is a uniquely Dominican food and is usually served for breakfast. This very popular dish consists of mashed plantains topped usually with eggs, fried Dominican salami, fried cheese, grilled onions, and/or avocado. When it is served with the first three it is known as Los Tres Golpes (The Three Strikes). I personally liked the salami, onions, and avocado the best, but the fried cheese was also very good.


pastelitos must try food dominican republic

If you are familiar with the Hispanic cuisine, then you probably already know about empanadas and/or pastelitos. Just like the rest of Latin America, the Dominican Republic has their own take on what these tasty little snacks should be, but you can find some with different kinds of meat, cheese, eggs, or vegetables. Found on just about every corner, these two snacks are very similar to each other. The two main differences being that empanadas are usually fried and pastelitos are baked with a lighter, puffy pastry dough.

Pescado Frito

pescado frito must try food dominican republic

If you are a fan of fresh fish, then head to the beach and find you some pescado frito (fried fish). Pescado frito is a common dish in every beach town and you will find it at pretty much everywhere. It is almost always served with tostones, white rice, and salad.

Chivo Guisado

chivo guisado must try food dominican republic

Goat might not be your go to meat choice, but the unique way that the goats are raised in the Dominican Republic make it a must try. The northwest region of the country is known for raising their goats on a diet of wild oregano; giving the meat a unique taste. This “marinated” meat is then slow cooked in a rich sauce until it is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

La Bandera

la bandera must try food dominican republic

La Bandera is a staple in Dominican cuisine and can be found pretty much anywhere Dominican food is served. Its name, La Bandera (The Flag), relates its importance and odds are if you were to visit any family at lunchtime, it’s what they will be eating. The dish is made up of white rice, stewed beans, braised chicken or beef, and a slice of avocado (and tostones if you’re lucky).


mofongo must try food dominican republic

Mofongo itself might not be unique to the Dominican Republic, but the way it is made and served is. It is made of mashed, roasted plantains mixed with garlic and pork scratchings, balled up, and topped with pork rinds or shrimp. It is served with a garlic broth to moisten the plantains as you eat it.

Pica Pollo

pica pollo must try food dominican republic

Pica pollo is more than just Dominican fried chicken, it is also the undisputed king of fast food and late-night eating. What makes pica pollo different from your regular fried chicken is the fact that it is first marinated in lemon juice and herbs, then coated in a layer of oregano infused flour. Like most Dominican dishes, it pairs well with a side of tostones and a Presidente beer.


tostones must try food dominican republic

Tostones is another Dominican food that is shared with many other Latin American countries, but are a are a popular staple here. These fried unripe plantains are usually eaten as a side to many dishes, as a bar food, or on their own. They can be found all over the country from local cafeterias to high end restaurants and are serve for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


catibia must try food dominican republic

Catibia are Dominican yucca empanadas and they are sometimes called just that, empanadas de yucca. Catibias are similar to regular empanadas, in that they are stuffed with meat, veggies, or cheese and then fried, but what sets them apart is that the casing is made up ground yucca instead of wheat. This is gives it a unique and delicious taste.


mamajuana must try food dominican republic
All of the tree bark and herbs before the liquids are added.

Mamajuana is a drink that is found only in the Dominican Republic. Originally an herbal tea of the native Tainos, the Spaniards later added alcohol to make the drink what it is today. Mamajuana is made of honey, red wine, rum, tree bark, and herbs and is rumored to have extensive healing properties.


yaniqueque must try food dominican republic

Yaniqueque, or ‘johnnycake’, are found, in one form or another, all over the Americas. This finger food is essentially a deep-fried cornmeal pancake and is one of the most popular snacks on the island.


arepa must try food dominican republic

If you have had an arepa anywhere else in Latin America, do not expect to get the same thing in the Dominican Republic. Instead of a savory stuffed cornbread, in the Dominican Republic the arepa is a desert. This dense, sweet, cinnamoney cornmeal cake is both delicious and hard to explain; so, you will just need to try one for yourself.

Dulce de Coco

dulce de coco must try food dominican republic

If you're a fan of coconut, you will love the flavor of this simple but tasty dessert. This sweet, crunchy, puffy pastry is a quick bite to satisfy your sweet tooth…or just have you coming back for more.


yaroa must try food dominican republic

Yaroa is a Dominican street food, that is essentially of french fries, meet, cheese, and condiments. Very similar to loaded fries, it’s not hard to see why this dish is so popular! This is the quintessential street food: cheap, greasy, tasty, simple and is often enjoyed during a night out on the town!


salpicon must try food dominican republic

Salpicón is essentially a bowl full of a melody of seafood with a crisp taste that you are sure to love. It is filled with chilled seafood, including shrimp, squid, calamari, and octopus, marinated in salt, pepper, lime, vinegar, freshly chopped onions, and cilantro. Served as either an entrée or an appetizer, you can usually find it any where along the coast (I ordered my first one from a vendor selling it from the trunk of a car in Santo Domingo!).

Moro de Guandules

moro de guandules must try food dominican republic

Moro de guandules, like many dishes, has found its way, in some form, into many different culinary cultures. Essentially rice with pigeon peas, what makes this dish different in the Dominican Republic are all of the vegetables and spices that are added. In some parts of the country, you can also find it with coconut milk added to give just one more dimension of flavor.


locrio must try food dominican republic

Locrio is another dish that is unique to the Dominican Republic, even if the dish itself isn’t that unique. There are many types of locrio in the Dominican Republic, depending on what is added. The dish itself is simply a mixture of rice and meat or vegetables and flavored with tomato sauce. It might sound simple, but it is well worth trying.

What is your favorite Dominican dish?

19 Must Try Foods: Dominican Republic

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  1. Making me hungry and miss my old home with all the Dominican restaurants nearby. I didn't know about Dominican arepa, good to know.

    1. The food was amazing and delicious. You will have to try Dominican arepa when you get a chance.


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