The ropa vieja, arroz congrí and fried ripe plantains are just three of the many typical Cuban foods known on the island, tasty dishes with Arab, African, Portuguese, Chinese and Spanish influences.

Let us know in this article the TOP 30 of the best of the typical gastronomy of Cuba.

1. Old clothes

Typical Cuban food ropa vieja is in our first place of the best of traditional Cuban food, because it is perhaps the best known dish of the island in the world.

It is believed that it comes from Las Canarias, in Spain. It can be made with pork or beef that is previously cooked in water and shredded. It is cooked in a stew with onion, bell peppers, bay leaves and cumin, among other ingredients.

The name of the dish is due to its “old clothes” appearance.

2. White rice and fried egg

One of the easiest typical Cuban foods to prepare.

White rice is cooked and when ready, one or two eggs are fried, taking care that the yolk is liquid and that the edges of the egg white are crispy.

The rice is put on the plate and the eggs are placed on it so that the humidity of the yolk wets the rice when it is broken to eat.

3. Conger rice

Arroz congrí is one of the typical Cuban foods most desired by locals and tourists who visit the island.

To prepare it, red beans are used that are previously soaked and cooked until softened. Fried onions, garlic, peppers, bell peppers and chopped cilantro in lard and add the beans so that they sauté a little. Then the raw rice is placed, the necessary amount of water and the broth where the beans were softened so that everything is cooked.

Dry seasonings such as cumin, oregano, salt and pepper are added and left to cook until the rice is ready.

It is believed that this dish comes from Africa.

4. Moors and Christians

The Moors and Christians are prepared similarly to congrí, but with black beans.

Some people cook them mixed, but others prefer to prepare the beans on one side and the rice on the other. They are served separately.

5. Fufu of bananas with pork rinds

Delicious dish of African origin whose main ingredient is the banana.

Cook the chopped banana in water until it softens (neither too green nor too ripe). It is crushed until it forms a puree to which drops of lemon, salt, pepper and a little garlic are added.

Add the pieces of pork rind to the puree and mix everything very well. So it will be ready to eat. The combination of salt and a sweet touch is something that you cannot miss in this dish.

6. Rice with chicken

Cubans eat a lot of rice, a cereal present in almost all their dishes, such as rice with chicken, a typical Cuban food.

To prepare a delicious Cuban rice with chicken, you need a chicken in pieces seasoned and fried with onions, garlic and red pepper. When fried, the rice is added, everything is stirred and chicken broth or water is added so that the chicken and rice cook well.

Unlike paella, in which the yellow is given by the saffron that is placed on it, in Cuban chicken rice the color is achieved by adding “achiote petroleum”.

7. Cuban sandwich

The Cuban sandwich is prepared with pork, cheese, ham, mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomato and any other dressing of your choice.

For its preparation, a soft and long bread similar to a baguette is used, so that when toasted it is very crispy.

8. Fried ripe bananas

The banana in Cuba is like rice, it is present in all meals.

For this dish, ripe plantains are used, sliced ​​and fried in abundant lard.

When they are ready, they can be sprinkled with a little cinnamon or eaten plain. They are served as an accompaniment to any dish.

9. Soup

It is a broth with beef or pork that is cooked in water with bay leaves. When the meat is soft, add pieces of chicken and let it cook.

When the meat is ready, add the vegetables, starting with the yucca and the sweet potato, both peeled and cut into pieces. They are left to cook and then potatoes, plantains and ears of corn are added, all peeled and cut.

Put lard in a separate pan and add chopped onion, peppers and crushed garlic, letting it fry for a few minutes and adding the oregano and cumin so that all the flavors mix well.

Finally, tomato puree is added and left to cook for minutes. The pot where the meats and vegetables are boiled is uncovered to add the sofrito. Let it boil until the vegetables have been discarded a little, adjust the seasoning and it will be ready.

10. Fried cow

Fried cow is beef that has been shredded and fried to crisp.

The first thing is to cook the meat in water with laurel, garlic, cumin, oregano and a touch of salt and when it is cooked it crumbles into very fine and thin strands.

While the meat is cooking, cut an onion and pepper into strips and fry them with a little crushed garlic.

After a few minutes, add the shredded meat and stir very well so that it cooks and is slightly toasted and crispy. The salt is rectified and a touch of pepper and a dash of lemon juice are added.

The fried cow is served with white rice, black beans and slices of fried ripe plantain. It has some resemblance to old clothes, but it has fewer ingredients and is not prepared in sauce.

11. Habanera hash

In Cuba, the popular ground beef is called picadillo. The dish is a ground meat prepared with lots of pimento-stuffed olives, raisins, cumin, potatoes, and tomato paste.

The ground meat is fried, a little wine is added and it is allowed to evaporate, then the onion and paprika that have been previously fried are added.

After a few minutes add the tomato puree, a bay leaf and leave until the sauce thickens a bit. The olives, the raisins, the French fries are added beforehand, the salt is verified and a touch of pepper is added.

12. tail on

One of the typical Cuban foods with an exotic name is the oxtail, a dish from the Iberian Peninsula prepared with oxtail.

Cut, fry and season the oxtail with salt and pepper until golden brown on all sides. When ready, crushed garlic, onion and pepper are added and mixed. After a few minutes, tomato puree is added and then a little white wine.

A few minutes later, enough water is added so that the meat is thoroughly cooked and tender. At the end of cooking, black pepper is added to give the preparation a spicy touch. If you prefer it to be more spicy, add hot pepper or Tabasco sauce.

13. Chicken Fricassee

This typical Cuban food is also known as chicken in sauce, a dish that is easy to prepare because any piece of chicken can be used, one that is seasoned with sour orange juice, onion, garlic, and pepper. Let it rest for an hour in the refrigerator.

Saute until golden on all sides and add the orange juice from the marinade and the other ingredients. Then a little cooking wine, tomato sauce, olives, cumin, oregano, garlic powder and achiote. Let it cook for a few minutes to add potatoes cut into pieces.

Let it cook until the chicken and potatoes are ready. Served hot with white rice.

14. Yuca with mojo

Cassava is easily obtained in Cuba, a widely consumed food on the island.

Also called yuca al ajillo, since the mojo that is prepared to serve it is made with garlic, it is the perfect accompaniment for a Cuban dinner with congrí, roasted suckling pig, fried plantains and salad.

Peeled cassava is cooked in salted water until softened, then removed and set aside. Garlic is taken and crushed; Place lemon juice, oil, salt, a touch of pepper and the crushed garlic in a cup, mix everything so that the flavors are integrated and let it rest for a few minutes.

The yucca is placed on a plate and bathed with the mojo. That way it will be ready to eat. It is a dish that is prepared in celebrations such as the end of the year.

15. Ajiaco

Cubans have prepared and eaten ajiaco since the beginning of the 16th century and although its origin is unknown, to this day it is one of the favorite foods in the country.

This preparation is a stew that contains dried beef, pork, flank steak, ears of corn, taro, cassava, green plantains, squash, lime, salt and pepper.

The meats are cooked first and then the vegetables are added. It is seasoned by letting it boil until everything is soft and thus it will be ready to eat.

16. Lobster

Lobster is one of the typical Cuban foods frequently tasted by tourists.

The Cuban lobster is known as “The Queen of the Caribbean”. It is soft, exquisite and sweet meat. It is mainly offered in a dish called “lobster enchilada prepared Cuban style”.

The lobster meat is sautéed with onions, garlic and pepper, until it turns golden brown. Laurel, dry wine, vinegar, pepper and soy sauce are added.

After boiling, add a little liquid tomato sauce and let it cook for half an hour. It is served with white rice and salad.

17. Cuban Imperial Rice

Typical Cuban food of exquisite flavor that combines the seasoning of the land with the flavors of the sea, whose preparation includes chicken, ham and shrimp.

The chicken is boiled and shredded and sautéed with onions, a little garlic and tomato puree. The broth obtained from this cooking is used to cook the rice. The shrimps are cleaned and sautéed for just under three minutes in oil with garlic.

The ham is cut into not very large squares.

A container that can go in the oven greased with a little mayonnaise is used. A layer of rice is placed on the bottom and the chicken, some shrimp and pieces of ham are placed on top. Over all this is added grated cheese and more mayonnaise.

Repeat until finished with the ingredients. The last layer should be mayonnaise with a lot of grated cheese. Bake in the oven until the cheese melts.

18. Chilindrón de chivo

Chilindrón de chivo is one of the best typical Cuban foods that can be prepared with either goat or mutton.

Pieces of goat meat are cooked in a sauce made with tomato puree, onions, peppers, garlic, parsley, wine and a little broth.

First the meat is fried and then the other ingredients are added. Cook until softened and the sauce has thickened a bit.

When you remove it from the heat, add a little more wine and it will be ready to serve.

19. Cuban-style tamale

This dish is prepared in almost all the regions of Central and South America, each with its own characteristics but with a common base: corn for the preparation of the dough.

A stew is made with pork meat with onions, red peppers, crushed garlic and tomato sauce. The minced pork is first fried and then added to the prepared sofrito.

On the other hand, the corn dough is made by processing the grains or using frozen ground corn, put a little butter on it and knead it.

When the dough is ready, add the pork stew and mix. Portions are placed in cob leaves that are folded and tied with string. The tamales are cooked in abundant boiling water for one hour. If they are prepared overnight, the flavor will be even better.

20. Red Peppers Stuffed with Cuban Picadillo

Red peppers are found in almost all of Latin America and in Cuba they are prepared stuffed with the classic Cuban picadillo, which is one of the typical Cuban foods.

To prepare this dish, the picadillo is prepared and with it the red peppers are filled without the stem or seeds. They are cut in half crosswise.

They are placed on a baking tray and filled with the picadillo. Add a little water to the tray and a splash of oil or lard and take it to the oven for 45 minutes. After the time, they will be ready to serve and enjoy.

21. Roast Pork

One of the meats most used by Cubans is pork, one that is prepared in various ways and in different dishes.

In Cuba, roast pork is usually prepared for some important celebration such as the end of the year festivities.

The whole animal is prepared when it is small or suckling pig, to which a special stick is inserted that is placed over wood embers so that it cooks slowly.

It is also prepared in pieces, especially the shoulder, one that is marinated from one day to the next with a seasoning of lemon juice, a little sherry, cumin, oregano, garlic, chopped onions, orange juice and salt.

It is placed on a baking sheet and baked covered with aluminum foil for one to two hours. The marinade is used to water the meat constantly until cooking is complete.

The aluminum foil is removed in the last half hour, it is left to rest for about 20 minutes and it is served with white rice, salad, fried ripe plantains, yucca with mojo or any other accompaniment.

22. Leafhoppers

Banana chicharritas are prepared by peeling the green plantain and cutting it into very thin slices, some of which are fried to make them crispy. Sprinkle with a little salt when serving.

They are used as “pica pica” in any meeting or as an accompaniment to any dish.

In addition to green plantains, they make chicharritas from malanga, potatoes, cassava, yams or sweet potatoes.

23. Cuban rice pudding

Rice pudding is one of the most delicious and easy-to-make Cuban desserts.

Cook the rice with cinnamon sticks and lemon peel until it is a little soft. Remove the shell and add evaporated milk, condensed milk and lower the heat. Add a touch of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla essence.

Let it cook for 10 minutes over low heat, stirring so that it does not stick and mix everything very well. It turns off to cool down.

Cuban rice pudding is eaten warm or cold after being in the refrigerator.

24. Guava shells

Among the typical Cuban desserts we have the guava shells. They consist of the skin of the guava, free of seeds and peeled, which is put in a sugar syrup and cooked until it has the desired texture.

It is served cold and accompanied with a piece of cheese.

25. Sweet curdled milk

In Cuba, the milk that was cut is not thrown away. Add a lot of sugar and put it on the fire, adding a lemon or orange peel until it has the ideal consistency.

26. Fritters in syrup

A cassava and a portion of sweet potato are cooked to give sweetness. It is crushed when soft and kneaded by adding milk. They are shaped into a bow and fried in abundant oil.

The buñuelos are eaten dipped in syrup made from sugar to which cinnamon sticks are added. It is a typical Cuban dessert for the end of the year parties.

27. Cuban Mojitos

A tasty Cuban mojito, one of the most widespread typical Cuban drinks, is known, prepared and drunk throughout the world. It is prepared with rum, sprigs of mint, lemon juice, soda, sugar and lots of ice.

28. Free Cuba

This drink is a drink known worldwide made with the best Cuban rum, to which black cola, lemon juice and lots of ice are added.

29. Daiquiri

Known around the world as daiquiri floridita, this drink was created in a bar in Havana called Floridita in 1937. It was the favorite of the writer, Ernest Hemingway, when he visited the island. It is since then one of the typical Cuban drinks.

30. Cuban Coffee

Cuban coffee is characteristic and special. It is prepared in the conventional Italian “greccas” coffee pots. When it is served, it already has the sugar, because whoever prepares it sweetens it to their liking.

What is the national dish of Cuba?

The typical dish that best speaks of Cuba is the Moors and Christians, black beans served with a delicious white rice, in some cases cooked mixed and in other occasions presented separately.

What kind of food is eaten in Cuba?

In Cuba you can eat in a very varied and cheap way. The typical food is known as “criolla food” and among its components are beans, rice, pork, sweet potato, cassava, salads and desserts.

What are the fruits of Cuba called?

In addition to those known in other places such as orange, pineapple, lemon, bananas, guavas or mangoes, in Cuba we find custard apples, mamey, medlars, soursops, mamoncillos and grapefruit, among others.

Typical Cuban food. Recipe

habanera mincemeat

The ingredients for this dish are ground beef, salt, pepper, garlic, bay leaf, onions, peppers, wine, tomato puree, ground oregano, cumin, potato, stuffed olives, raisins, and oil.

The chopped potato is fried in oil and reserved; the same is done with the onion, the pepper and the crushed garlic.

Add a little salt to the picadillo and add to the sofrito until it is loose and golden; Add the wine and let it evaporate, then add the tomato purée, the bay leaf, cumin and oregano, letting it cook until the sauce thickens a bit.

Finally, add the chopped olives, the raisins, the potato, adjust the salt and a touch of pepper. Everything is left to cook for a few minutes and is ready to serve.

Types of Cuban food

Among the typical foods of Cuba we have: roast suckling pig, congrí, Moors and Christians, old clothes, habanera-style mincemeat, yucca with mojo, among others.

Typical Cuban desserts

There is a wide variety of desserts in Cuba. We can mention, among others, rice pudding, sweet milk, guava shells, guava jam, fritters in syrup, fanguito.

We invite you to share this article with your friends on social networks so that they also know the 30 typical Cuban foods.


See also:

  • See here our guide on the 30 typical foods of Quintana Roo that you must try
  • Get to know here the 25 typical foods in China that you should try
  • Read our guide on the 35 typical foods of Michoacán that you must try


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