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The Dominican Republic has its territory on the eastern side of Hispaniola, one of the islands of the Caribbean Sea. Like the other Caribbean and Central American countries, the Creole culture is rooted in a mixture of Spain, indigenous peoples, and West Africans brought to the Caribbean as slaves. However, few people may think of Dominican cuisine. Also, it’s not a place you can easily go to, so you’ll want to stick to souvenirs. Here are some recommended gourmet foods and souvenirs when traveling to the Dominican Republic.
What kind of country is the Dominican Republic?
The Dominican Republic occupies about two-thirds of the eastern side of Hispaniola, the second-largest island in the Caribbean Sea, with the Republic of Haiti to the west. There are no direct flights from Japan, and most of them come via the United States or Mexico. It takes at least 20 hours from Japan, including transit time, on either route. The area is a little larger than Kyushu in Japan, and about 10 million people live there. There are four mountain ranges, including the fertile Shibao Plain, which was named the “Golden Land” by the Spanish conquerors, and Lake Enriquillo, which Columbus praised as the most beautiful landscape in the world. The climate is categorized as a tropical savanna climate, with the capital Santo Domingo being hot and humid all year round, but relatively comfortable in the central highlands.
The Dominican Republic has its own food culture due to its former Spanish territory and the fact that the Japanese once contributed to cultivation. The staple food is rice, but unlike Japan, there are many types of rice. It is often mixed with beans and salad, and rice is cooked in oil and saltwater and eaten with meat and fried food. Also, in the Dominican Republic, lunch is the main course, and it seems that light meals such as bread and milk in the morning and bananas and potatoes, cheese, salami, and eggs in the evening are often sufficient.
1) La Bandera
Bandera is the Spanish word for the national flag. It’s like a daily set meal, and the main course changes depending on the day, such as meat and fish, but basically, rice, main course (beef, chicken, fish, etc.), beans, and vegetables are served on one plate. The style of assorting these four types on one plate is a standard way of eating for Dominicans. It is said that this name was given because the way it is served is similar to the flag of the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic specialty cooked banana (platano = green banana) dish. Chicharron (fried pork skin), garlic, and fried platano are mashed. The chewy and melted cheese of Chicharron is exquisite and has a fragrant taste.
Sankocho has a similar meaning to simmered rice and contains various things such as potatoes and meat. There are many types of potatoes in the Dominican Republic, and since Platano is also added and stewed together, the taste of root vegetables comes out and it has a deep taste. The seasoning is very simple, and in many cases, it is only oregano and consomme.
Mang is boiled and crushed edible banana. The boiled and crushed mang has a chewy texture like mashed potatoes. Mix it with milk or margarine to make it smooth. The traditional way to eat is to saute and put purple onions entwined with vinegar on top. It is often eaten for breakfast and is a savory dish.
A fried snack with minced meat in the middle of the pressed barley dough. The taste differs depending on the shop, and there are various types of ingredients inside. It is brown and has a diamond-like shape, making it the perfect size for walking around.
(6) Habichuela dulce
Abituella is a bean, and Dulce means sweet. Boil while mixing sugar, milk, condensed milk, etc. in the abituella that has been reconstituted in water. Add herbs such as cinnamon and cloves and simmer. It’s a snack like Zenzai in Japan.
Rum, a specialty product, is made from sugar cane. Typical in the Caribbean Sea. It is also available at convenience stores and can be easily purchased.
Dominican coffee, cultivated in the mountains of Ispanora, is famous for its high-quality Arabica varieties. The highest quality “Dominican Caribbean Mocha” on par with the Blue Mountains is a premium coffee guaranteed by the Department of Agriculture and is ideal as a souvenir. The Dominican Princesa is also an award-winning coffee, with a lime-like aroma and a refreshing taste, and a tropical fruit-like flavor at the Dominican Ferry Cafe, which is also popular as a Dominican coffee. ..
Amber is abundant in the Atlantic mountains of Dominica. There are various colors of amber such as bright yellow to red and dark brown, but the bluish one called “Amber Zulu” is said to be particularly rare.
Cuba is famous for cigars, but the Dominican Republic has similar soil and climate to Cuba and produces high-quality cigars. There are many factories and farms of high-end cigar brands in the United States and Europe, and many of them are delicate and mild. You can also visit the tobacco factory in Santiago, so be sure to visit.