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. Restaurant styles are similar to those found in the United States: fast food joints, bar and grills, casual dining restaurants, and formal restaurants.
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.
Restaurants in the Republic are unique and eclectic, serving everything from cheese pizza to the national dish of la bandera. The island’s cuisine is influenced by many different international cultures, so most vacationers will be able to find a restaurant to tempt their taste buds.
Most restaurants in the Dominican Republic, especially in Santo Domingo, are somewhat formal when it comes to dinner attire. Long pants and skirts with collared shirts are normally worn to dinner, but in some fine dining establishments men are required to wear trousers and women should wear dresses. Before dining out, travelers should check with the restaurant to see if there is a dress code.
Many of the restaurants on the island suggest making reservations before your meal, and some even require it. Then again, others do not accept reservations at all. To ensure that you get a table at your restaurant of choice, call ahead to ask about reservations.
Depending on the kind of food you crave and which restaurants you visit, you will find that prices vary just as much as the cuisine. Budget travelers can find inexpensive but very tasty food for as little as $2(USD) to $10(USD). Those with more expensive tastes can dine at fine restaurants with meals ranging from $8(USD) to $50(USD).
Most restaurants add a 10 percent service charge to the check . If the server was good, most patrons give an additional 5 to 10 percent gratuity. Nothing goes farther than a little kindness on the Dominican Republic.
With the great mix of Hispanic culture and dishes influenced by international cuisine, dining out in the Dominican Republic can be a special treat. Let your taste buds guide you in your search for island fare.
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