Caribbean Seafood

Of course, seafood is also a staple of the Dominican diet, especially along the coast. Two of the most common kinds of fish consumed in the Dominican Republic are grouper and red snapper. They are often prepared with a mild or spicy tomato sauce, or with garlic or coconut sauce. Octopus, crab and lobster are also popular.

The Dominican Republic's Traditional Food

Like many traditions that have survived in the Dominican Republic, the cuisine is a blend of Spanish, African and even Taíno influences. The particular type of cuisine is known as comida criolla, which is also found in other Caribbean areas and adapts classic Spanish and African recipes to indigenous ingredients and Taino cooking methods.

Dominican cuisine is generally heavy on starches, and the commonly used starches include rice, potatoes, yucca, cassava and bananas. One of the most popular dishes in the Dominican Republic -- and one you'll find on nearly every restaurant menu -- is la bandera ("the flag"). La bandera is a meal of stewed meat over white rice with beans (usually red beans), fried green plantains and salad. Another common dish is a sweet bean soup with root vegetables known as habichuela con dulche. And the Dominicans' variation on the Spanish dish of paella is known as locrio, which uses rice colored with achiote instead of saffron.

Bananas and plantains are especially popular in the Dominican Republic, and are commonly boiled, stewed and candied. Mangu is a popular recipe, which consists of boiled and mashed plantains. You can also mash boiled plantains with garlic, olive oil and pork rinds to make Mofongo.

Popular meats in the Dominican Republic are pork, beef, chicken and even goat. A roast pork dish, known as lechon asado, is particularly popular, as well as cuchifrito, which is a stew of pork innards. Roast beef served with ham, onion and spice garnish is known as carne mechada. Goat meat stewed with a tomato sauce or roast leg of goat with rum and cilantro are also favorites.

So, although the Dominican Republic isn't considered one of the world's culinary leaders, you'll find plenty of delicious local fare to feast on.