As you walk down the streets of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, the aromas from the city’s restaurants and food stalls beckon to you. With a delectable blend of Caribbean fusion and European influences, Dominican cuisine offers a world of tempting tastes to visitors.
However, to experience the best of Dominican cuisine, you need to be a little adventurous and get out of your comfort zone. Here are some local foods you simply must try and a few places to find them during your visit to Santo Domingo:
Tropical Fruit Drinks
When you’re on the go, be sure to try a refreshing tropical fruit smoothie. Batido de lechoza is made with fresh papaya, milk and vanilla. Other fruits may be used as well. Morir Soñando, which means “die dreaming,” is a popular drink made with orange juice, milk and sugar. Stop by Barra Payan or Café Santo Domingo and enjoy these sweet, fruity drinks that are sure to hit the spot after a day in the sun.
A Taste of the Town at Chef Pepper
Chef Pepper is a local chain of restaurants that serve traditional Dominican cuisine with an Asian and American twist. For a side dish, order the yuca mash, which has a cheesy taste and thick texture. This root vegetable is not only good for you, but it perfectly accompanies the restaurant’s succulent Angus steaks or tasty fish fillets. Top it off with a bourbon molasses sauce for even more traditional flavor!
Another Santo Domingo delicacy is pollo guisado, which features stewed chicken in a sauce containing tomatoes, garlic, olives and cilantro. Fish lovers will delight in pescado con coco, which is fresh fish cooked in a coconut milk sauce. For a different spin, try mofongos — mashed and fried plantains stuffed with chicken or pork. If you’re in the mood for some street food, alcapurria is a fritter dish made with vegetable roots wrapped around seasoned meat or fish and then deep fried. Even though they are originally from Puerto Rico, you can find mofongos and alcapurrias in kiosks and restaurants around the city.
Brasserie Pat’e Palo
Dining here is a true epicurean experience. This well-known restaurant is recognized as the first tavern in the Americas. Housed in a building more than 500 years old, it overlooks the former home of Christopher Columbus. Pat’e Palo offers such traditional Dominican dishes such as shrimp over curry sauce or ossobuco de chivo cooked with traditional Dominican spices over pumpkin risotto.
The Grand Finale: Desserts
End your meal with a sweet Dominican dessert. Flan de leche is a popular creme caramel dessert, while arepa is tasty cake made of cornmeal and coconut. Habichuelas con dulce — a sweet cream of beans dish — is made with coconut milk and sweet potato chunks.
No matter where you go in Santo Domingo, you’re sure to discover a variety of new taste sensations you’ll long remember.
Photo courtesy of TheGirlsNY