Article repost from Travel For Food Hub

Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, is one of those dreamy Caribbean vacation spots full of luxury resorts by the sea. Staying in an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana is the perfect way to relax and enjoy a fantastic and delicious experience. At the Lopesan Costa Bávaro restaurant, for example, you will have the pleasure of tasting some of the best cuisines from around the world such as Asian, Mediterranean, American or Mexican. But if you are a real foodie, you should try some of the top Dominican foods in Punta Cana.

TAKEAWAY: If you are worried about food safety and are staying at a resort, you should be fine, since they take every precaution when preparing the food. However, there are a few things you could do to stay on the safe side such as avoiding tap water completely, not having too much sun, and not exceeding with alcohol or coconut drinks. And if your stomach is extra sensitive to diet changes, stay away from dairy products and uncooked foods (as sushi or seafood), only eat fruits that you can peel before eating, and don’t try foods that you wouldn’t eat at home.

The Dominican Republic is a country with a mixture of three cultures: Spanish, Taíno and African. Taíno is the indigenous culture of the island. On the other hand, its Spanish influence comes from being a colony of Spain since Cristopher Columbus discovered the island in 1492, becoming the first European settlement in America. And its African influence is due to the many African slaves the Spanish brought to the island. Therefore, these three cultures have coexisted in the same space for hundreds of years, thus, creating a mixed cuisine that incorporates cooking styles, recipes, and ingredients from all three. So if you try these Dominican foods in Punta Cana, you should get a better understanding of the island’s gastronomy and history.

La Bandera

“La Bandera” (the flag) is the most widely eaten dish in the Dominican Republic. This staple includes white rice, stewed beans and cooked meat (usually, chicken or beef). Plus, it is normally accompanied by a side salad. The key to preparing a successful “La Bandera” is to cook the rice perfectly. The rice must be “al-dente” (Italian for cooked but firm), and the grains must be separated; but, above all, the rice must have a crispy layer of “concón.” “Concón” is the layer of rice that gets slightly burnt or golden at the bottom of the pot.

Sancocho

“Sancocho” is a seven meat and vegetable stew. They use seven types of meat from four different animals, root vegetables and plantains to prepare it. With so many ingredients this Dominican comfort food takes many hours to cook. Therefore, this hearty meal is usually only served during holidays and family gatherings, though a simplified version may be cooked for a day-to-day meal with just beef or chicken.

Mangú

“Mangú” is a simple local dish. It is basically a mash of boiled green plantains, topped with sauteed red onions. Together with eggs, fried salami and “queso frito” (fried cheese) it makes another typical breakfast dish called “Los Tres Golpes” (the three hits). Plantains are one of the staple ingredients of Dominican cuisine, so they are prepared in many different ways. Another popular way to eat plantains apart from mashed is fried, a recipe that gets the name of “tostones”.

Habichuelas con dulce

Maybe you believed that “habichuelas” or beans couldn’t make for a sweet dish, but I can assure you that you will change your mind once you try this Dominican dessert. “Habichuelas con dulce” is a sweet cream made of red beans, sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and sugar which is typically eaten during the period before Easter. However, you will find many recipes around, since almost every household has a unique way of making it. So if you want to give it a go, try a couple of them with different measurements or spices and see which one you like best.

Mamajuana

Finally, we couldn’t leave the Caribbean without trying some local drinks. Mamajuana is a liquor made out of rum, red wine and honey that have been left to soak in a bottle with some tree bark and herbs. It is said to have a taste similar to port wine. This liquor is also drunk as an infusion since it is believed that it has some medicinal and aphrodisiac properties. Mamajuana is always served at room temperature, generally as a shot, and you might find it with the ingredients still in or filtered.

After learning about all of these Dominican foods in Punta Cana, I’m sure you couldn’t leave the island without trying at least some of them. While resorts often serve more international foods, they will surely offer some of the local delicacies in the buffet or during a special themed night, as they do in other Mexican hotels and resorts. So ask your waiter or venture by yourself in local eateries; in any case, you will get a taste of Dominican culture.

Photo credits to Jeffrey Bary