Experiencing local foods is a needed part of traveling internationally. There isn’t a better way to immerse in a different culture, but through food. I also regard the act of trying local food as an act of respect and expressing appreciation. Dominican cuisine is influenced by the Taino, African, and Spanish who inhabited the island. I’ve experienced Dominican cuisine in Lawrence, Boston, and New York City (areas in the United States with the highest concentration of Dominicans) , but experiencing it the Dominican Republic was a completely different experience.
While in the Dominican Republic I was amazed at the amount of variations of cuisine made with plantanos or plantains. Platanos derives from many tropical countries, such as the Dominican Republic. I was able to eat plantanos every day while there, I would be curious to see how many more variations of cuisines I would’ve tried if I stayed longer. After eating, I conversed with locals. They were impressed by my knowledge of their food.
Try these local favorites at any neighborhood restaurant:
Mangu (smashed plantanos and garnished with red onions)
Tostones (fried plantanos with salt)
Mofongo (also mashed plantanos with garlic, and the option of cameron or chicharrones)
Unlike the Bahamas, Punta Cana has very little western influence in the tourist industry. I sighted one American chain- Wendy’s, but everything else was local, authentic, and fresh Dominican cuisine. Upon arriving in the lush tropics of the Dominican Republic I removed everything I knew about Dominican food in order to enjoy a new authentic experience straight from the country itself. I asked locals what their favorite dishes are and where do they like to dine, and based on their responses I went off to find local cuisines.