Food in the Dominican Republic

International cultures influence Dominican dishes

Photo credit: © Monkey Business Images |

Dominican Republic Food

From fancy French cuisine to quick carry-out snacks, the Dominican Republic has unique and diverse dishes sure to satisfy almost any traveler's appetite.


Vacationers in the Dominican Republic tend to make reservations and dine in resort settings.  Most resort restaurants offer the perfect blend of international cuisine that visitors are used to and local dishes for those who would like to try something new.  Still, these foods are often accused of being too bland.  Those who would like to strike out on their own and experience real local food and culture first hand have plenty of options - in fact, the Dominican Republic has more restaurants than any other country in the Caribbean.

Roadside food stands can be found throughout the country, serving up freshly squeezed fruit juices and coffees brewed from locally harvest beans, as well as fried snacks.  From them on, restaurant styles are similar to those found in the United States:  fast food joints, bar and grills, casual dining restaurants, and formal restaurants.  

Culinary Styles


...stop by a roadside vendor and try one of the local treats.


Although most of the dishes on the island have been inspired by Spanish culture, the culinary style of the Dominican Republic has also been influenced by many other countries.

A day of eating in the Dominican Republic begins with a hearty breakfast.  Scrambled eggs and mangu (cassava, taro, or plantain boiled, fried, or mashed with onion, cheese, and/or fried meat) is the top choice for locals, but everything from muffins to pancakes can be found at resorts and in restaurants that cater to tourists. 

Like many Hispanic nations, lunch is the biggest meal of the day in the Dominican Republic.  There are a lot of great options to choose from for this meal, including arroz con pollo (chicken with rice),  sanocho (five meat, rice, and vegetable stew), any meat or seafood alongside rice and beans, or the most popular lunchtime meal (and national dish), la bandera.  La bandera, or the Dominican Flag, is a combination of white rice, red beans, fried plantains, vegetables, and some sort of meat, usually broiled, grilled, or fried chicken.  Supper is usually a smaller portion of these meals.

If you find yourself growing hungry throughout the day, stop by a roadside vendor and try one of the local treats.  Chicharrones (pork rinds), chimichurri (hamburger), pollo frito (fried chicken), and other frituras(fried snacks) are commonly sold options.


Fresh fruit juices and smoothies, coconut water or milk, and sodas are all widely available in the Dominican Republic, but to truly drink like a local, order a Malta Morena.  Despite its beer-like appearance and brewing syle, Malta Morena is a non-alcoholic beverage consisting of water, corn semolina, hops, sugar, and malted barely.  It is high in B-vitamins, and tastes sweet, like molasses.  This drink can be mixed with condensed or evaporated milk for a richer, creamier taste, and has even been converted into a popularly selling ice cream.  The creation of this beverage may be due to the popularity of cerveza (beer) in the Dominican Republic.  Presidente Beer is the top selling beer, but other choices include Heineken, Brahma, Bohemia, and Ambar.  Order your beer bien fria (good and cold), and it may come out with a layer of ice on the bottle.  Rum is as important in the Dominican Republic as it is elsewhere in the Caribbean, and is the second alcoholic beverage of choice. 

Whatever you're in the mood for, this island has it. The Dominican Republic's diverse culinary repertoire can fulfill the appetite of most hungry travelers.


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