If you are heading to Punta Cana, you are likely traveling for the warm sun and their incredible beaches; however, the Dominican food scene is not to be overlooked. Caribbean food is a blend of different cultures from around the world. With African, East Indian, Spanish, Amerindian, and Taino influences mixed into one big pot, Dominican food recipes are sure to leave your taste buds somehow both satisfied and wanting more.
So if you are thinking about visiting Punta Cana, make sure to wonder off the beaten path and try some of these delicious foods outside your resort.
1. Pescado frito
Translated literally as “fried fish”, this meal is a great choice for seafood lovers out there. Made by dipping flour covered fish in oil and frying them, the fish is served hot and fresh. Usually topped with lemon to squeeze over the meal. This is a food to put on your must-eat at least once list.
2. La bandera
Translated literally as “The Flag”, this meal is as Dominican as you can get. The common man’s meal like America’s burgers and fries, is La Bandera. This simple yet incredible dish consisting of white rice, red kidney beans (although they can be substituted by black beans or pigeon peas), and either chicken or beef. This dish is paired with some type of salad and if you're lucky with tostones*
*Fried plantains are a popular dish in the Caribbean island that can be served in many ways. The most popular dish is the locally known tostones. These friend plantains are smashed to simulate a type of flat cracker or tortilla and are usually a side dish to basically any meal.
Probably the most popular of the traditional cuisine (and considered the national dish), this meaty stew has different types of meat from different types of animals, all mixed in with vegetables for a uniquely and wonderful stew.
If you search in TripAdvisor restaurants where you can eat sancocho, the famous Casita Yeya restaurant ranks first. Can you guess what is the secret of this local restaurant spotted in Bavaro? It doesn’t even have a website! They offer a big variety of delightful dishes made of first quality products cooked with the greatest care.
Yaniqueques are the epitome of Dominican street food mostly sold in the beach area. They are a simple but deliciously crispy fried-dough snack loved by many. Dominicans enjoy them any time of the day and in many ways, like: topped with salt, drizzled with ketchup, plain with a cup of hot chocolate, sprinkled with cheese or folded almost like an empanada; and filled with cheese, meats and veggies. The traditional yaniqueque is flat, round, savory and big.
It’s really hard to say where its name and origins lie. They are thought to come from the Johnny Cake or Shawnee Cakes of the native inhabitants from the Atlantic seaboard of North America, which are still popular today in New England.
You can find them as an appetizer at the famous restaurant Bachata Rosa, is Juan Luis Guerra's restaurant located inside Blue Mall.
5. Jugo de chinola
This isn't a food, but it's a must try when in Punta Cana. Jugo de chinola (Passionfruit juice) is a sweet and satisfying drink. It's also a healthy beverage, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. I strongly recommend everyone try this delicious drink. Enjoy your jugo de chinola at The Beach Club at Canabay Hotels served straight on the beach for that feet-in-sand feeling.