Cuba’s Most Popular Dishes Right Here in NYC
One of the best parts of New York City is all of the unique cultures. On one side of the street you can hear Latin music playing, but a few blocks down you might find the best Korean food within 1,000 miles. Luckily, we can find Cuba’s most popular dishes right here in NYC.
Cubans live life through their food; it’s how they express themselves and show their emotion. From holidays, to celebrations, to parties, Cuban food has a special meaning each time it’s shared. Look for some of these classic dishes in our local area for your next party or holiday.
What Even is Cuban Food?
A unique set of flavors, Cuban food consists of spices and influences from Spain, Africa, the Caribbean, and Native American Taino food.
These countries and cultures influence unique dishes containing a heavy fish presence, dishes full of fresh, tropical fruits, and vegetables. Rice is a staple of almost all Cuban meals.
Sugar and rum are the main components of many drinks, from creamy, milk-based drinks to fruity, light mojitos.
The three main components of a Cuban breakfast are coffee, toast, and fruit. Instead of a traditional black coffee, you’ll find café con leche, or coffee with milk. This Cuban-style latte is strong, but allows each person to add as much or as little coffee to their milk to suit their own taste.
A traditional Cuban breakfast will also include plenty of fresh, tropical fruit, and a toastada. Many diners take to dipping their flat, toasted slice of buttered bread into the café con leche or scoop up the remaining fruit.
While Cuban weddings have a flair all their own, the food is one of the items that stands out. The feast that takes place is very important to the culture. Almost always a part of the celebration is ajiaco, a meat and vegetable stew. Some weddings will even feature a roasted pig. White rice and tapas are served as well.
Wedding cakes are often expensive and extravagant, and alcohol also makes an appearance to every party – especially rum.
What better way to celebrate another year of life than with a Cuban feast? No birthday is complete without an elaborate cake. Brightly-colored frosting adorns moist, sweet cake, usually with decorations or some type of plastic piece on top.
Cubanos – Cuban sandwiches – are a popular choice for parties. Guests might also find pescao en escabeche – fish with escabeche sauce – or pulled pork shoulder.
This important Cuban holiday is a great time for family and friends to gather around a big table of tasty food. During Christmastime, there are usually a few different courses.
Popular appetizers include carne fria – cold meat roll – plantain chips, and croquetas – croquettes.
A full roasted pig – lechon asado – is usually the star of the show with plenty of side dishes including fried plantains, yucca con mojo – yucca with garlic – and black beans and rice.
Don’t forget traditional desserts including arroz con leche – rice pudding – and rum cake. No party is complete without Christmas drinks such as sidra – Cuban sparkling hard apple cider – and Cuban eggnog – cream de vie.
Sweet treats are the ending highlight of any party or celebration. Popular desserts include flan, tres leches cake, arroz con leche, bunuelos, and turrones.
The next time you’re hosting a birthday party or celebrating a major holiday, consider a Cuban feast and you’ll be sure to have something to suit everyone’s taste buds. And don’t worry, you won’t have to travel far – with a little detective work, you can find all of Cuba’s most popular dishes right here in NYC.