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Chimichurri burger

Dominican cuisine is made up of Spanish, indigenous Taíno, Middle Eastern , African, Cuban, Puerto Rican and Haitian influences. The most recent influences in Dominican cuisine are from the British West Indies and China.[1]

Dishes and their origins

The Taíno cultivated many types of tubers such as yucca, yautia, and batata. An important staple of Dominican cuisine adopted from the Taino people is casabe, made from cassava root and was important to the diet of the Taino. Casabe is served with soups and stews in the Dominican Republic. Spices such as vanilla, nutmeg, and pepper most often used by Dominican cooks derive from Spanish cuisine.

The Dominican Republic was formerly a Spanish colony. Many Spanish traits are still present in the island. Many traditional Spanish dishes have found a new home in the Dominican Republic, some with a twist. African and Taíno dishes still hold strong, some of them unchanged.[citation needed]

All or nearly all food groups are accommodated in typical Dominican cuisine, as it incorporates meat or seafood; grains, especially rice, corn (native to the island[2]), and wheat; vegetables, such as beans and other legumes, potatoes, yuca, or plantains, and salad; dairy products, especially milk and cheese; and fruits, such as oranges, bananas, and mangos. However, there is heaviest consumption of starches and meats, and the least of dairy products and non-starchy vegetables.

Sofrito, a sautéed mix including local herbs and spices, is used in many dishes. Throughout the south-central coast bulgur, or whole wheat, is a main ingredient in quipes and tipili, two dishes brought by Levantine Middle Eastern immigrants. Other favorite foods and dishes include chicharrón, yautía, pastelitos or empanadas, batata (sweet potato), pasteles en hoja (ground roots pockets), chimichurris, plátanos maduros (ripe plantain), yuca con mojo (boiled yuca/cassava) and tostones/fritos (fried plantains).[citation needed]

Bouillon cubes are used heavily in the preparation of Dominican lunch food.[citation needed]

Taíno dishes

Spanish dishes

African dishes

Mondongo beef tripe soup

Middle Eastern dishes

A few dishes have been adopted from a wave of Lebanese immigration into the Dominican Republic. Drastic changes from the traditional Middle Eastern, starting with the preparation, and just as importantly, using beef instead of lamb, and leaving out many spices (cumin, cardamom, coriander seeds, saffron, and others), herbs (rosemary, mint, dill, marjoram, Greek oregano, and others), spice blends (za'atar and baharat), seeds, and nuts (pine nuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, hazel nuts, and others). Many of these dishes would be served with a sauce while in the Dominican Republic they are served alone. Much of these spices and flavoring have been replaced with Dominican oregano, bell peppers, and chicken bouillon.

Cocolo influence

Cocolo is a term used in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean to refer to non- Hispanic African descendants, or darker skin people in general. The term originated in the Dominican Republic, and was historically used to refer to the Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean descendants. The Cocolo cuisine brought over through various parts of the Caribbean have influenced Dominican cuisine. Some recipes have changed but most have stood the same but with different names.

Cuban and Puerto Rican influences

Dominican cuisine is adopted from Puerto Rico and Cuba, though the dish names differ sometimes. Because of the historic migration between Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico its three cultures are closely related. It is unclear for most dishes between these countries on where it originated from. Dishes like mofongo and pasteles de hola originated from Puerto Rico, Moros y Cristianos and yuca con mojo from Cuba have become part of Dominican cuisines and culture. Dominican majarete, pastelon, and mamajuana has gain popularity in both Puerto Rico and Cuba.

Dominican dishes


Pastelón can de describe as a casserole or shepherd's pie. A main element of Dominican cuisine. There are more than six variations in the Dominican Republic the most popular ones being pastelón de platano maduro (yellow plantain casserole) and pastelón de yuca (cassava casserole). Pastelón origins can be found in other Latin American Countries like Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama and Cuba. Pastelón are usually stuffed with ground meat or chicken.




Dominicans enjoy making soups. More than a third of the country's total population lives in poverty, and almost 20 per cent are living in extreme poverty. In rural areas poor people constitute half of the population. Soup in the Dominican Republic is easy, cheap and can feed a large number of people.[citation needed]


Most dishes in the Dominican Republic are served with long-grain rice. A popular staple of the Dominican cuisine.


Habichuela con dulce

Dominican desserts include flan, puddings, and tropical fruit-based sweets. Dulce de coco (coconut fudge), dulce de leche (caramelized milk), and majarete (cornmeal pudding) are also common Dominican desserts. Dominican puddings are often made with bread, sweet potato, or rice.[6]


The most popular drinks in the Dominican Republic are rum locally known as romo, beer (especially Presidente), coffee, eggnog with rum, local fruit smoothies, mabí juice made from colubrina bark or fruit that's done all over the Caribbean. Alcohol drinks such as piña colada, coquito, Cuba libre, and mojitos from Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Bottles of mamajuana

Geographical differences

What Dominicans tend to eat depends highly on where they live: whether near the sea or in the interior mountains. In either case, most Dominican meat dishes tend to involve pork, as pigs are farmed quite heavily on the island. Meat dishes tend to be very well cooked or even stewed in Dominican restaurants, a tradition stemming from the lesser availability of refrigeration on the island.[citation needed]

Seaside Dominican fishing villages will have great varieties of seafood, the most common being shrimp, marlin, mahi-mahi or dorado, and lobster. Most villagers more commonly dine on cheap, lesser-quality fish, usually stewed with la criolla, a type of rice. Premium seafood tends to be too expensive for the many locals, and is saved for the island's upper class and the tourist resorts.[citation needed]

Differences between Dominican cuisine and those of other parts of the West Indies include the milder spicing, which mainly uses onions, garlic, cilantro, cilantro ancho (culantro), ají cubanela (cubanelle pepper), and oregano. Dominican sofrito is known on the island as sazón.[9]


  1. ^ Historical Dictionary of the Dominican Republic. p. 86.
  2. ^ "Food Crops". U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
  3. ^ Julia F. Morton (1987). Fruits of Warm Climates. pp. 388–390. ISBN 0-9610184-1-0. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  4. ^ "Guavaberry Drink and Jam - Cocolo Culture". 25 April 2019. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  5. ^ "Pollo Guisado (Dominican Chicken)". Dominican Cooking. 2012-02-16. Archived from the original on 2021-04-17. Retrieved 2021-11-30.
  6. ^ Latino Food Culture. p. 79.
  7. ^ "Dominican Desserts - 100+ Popular Dessert Recipes + Videos". 16 May 2022.
  8. ^ "30+ Traditional Dominican Drinks - A Complete Guide". 10 May 2022.
  9. ^ Clara, Tia (2011-01-01). "Dominican Sofrito & Sazón Recipe and Video". Dominican Cooking. Retrieved 2023-07-03.

Further reading