foods from dominican republic rice chicken

Dominican food has similarities to other Latin American countries, although names of the dishes are different.

One thing is for sure: this is delicious food and it packs loads of flavour!

Let’s go! 10 most popular food in the Dominican Republic

1) Chivo guisado (Goat Stew) 

food dominican republic chivo guisado goat stew
Chivo Guisado.

Chivo guisado is a tasty Dominican goat stew. Typical ingredients used to prepare this meal are onions, bitter or sour oranges, garlic, tomatoes, wild oregano, scotch bonnet peppers for a spicy kick and of course goat meat. 

The stew is cooked on low heat for many hours until the meat is tender and falling apart.

Served on top of cracked corn pilaf (chenchén), this is delicious home-cooked Dominican Republic-style food.

Chenchén is like rice in Dominican cuisine and is served with many stews and meaty dishes.

2) Lechon Asado (Grilled Pork)

Roasted suckling pig that has first been marinated in some great ingredients. This is a very popular food in the Dominican Republic that is packed with flavour! The marinade is a blend of orange juice, fresh garlic, olives, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. The pork is roasted until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. 

A whole suckling pig or large cuts of pork can be used to make Lechon Asado, and it’s a dish that can feed a large crowd at once.

This dish is equally as popular in Cuba and this Cuban recipe to make Lechon Asado by is wonderful.

3) Sancocho

food Dominican republic sancocho
Sancocho. Delicious soup in Dominican Republic. Credit:

Sancocho is a traditional broth in several Latin American cuisines. A hearty soup of potatoes, meats, corn, and plantain, this dish is much-loved food in the Dominican Republic.

Sancocho de Siete Carnes (seven meats) is the most complex and sophisticated Dominican sancocho. Don’t leave without trying it at least once. Here’s the best recipe for Sancocho de Siete Carnes.

4) Yaroa

food dominican republic Yaroa dish
Yaroa. The best snack food Dominican Republic. Credit: Wikipedia

Let’s talk about traditional food Dominican Republic. Yaroa is a traditional casserole dish that is prepared in many different variations across the country. This dish is often made with pork, beef, chicken, sweet mashed plantains or fries, cheese and condiments such as ketchup or mayonnaise to put on top.

This is the best street food Dominican Republic snack ever! 

The mashed sweet plantain or fries are topped with shredded meat and covered with cheese and different sauces. Usually found from street food vendors and food trucks, it’s certainly not healthy, but go for it anyway!

5) Mangu

Another simple food in the Dominican Republic that makes great use of plantain! Mangu is a plantain mash, usually eaten as a breakfast food in the Dominican Republic.

This meal is a staple in the country and it’s usually served with eggs, fried thick salami and fried cheese.

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6) Pica Pollo

food Dominican republic pica pollo
You won’t forget your first taste of Pica Pollo!

If you don’t know what Pica pollo is before beginning your search for delicious food in the Dominican Republic, you’ll certainly discover it when you’re there! Pica Pollo is Dominican fried chicken, and it’s sooo good! It’s usually served with a side of fried plantains.

Talking from experience, order a cold beer or soda with your pica pollo to have the best food experience.

The secret of this tasty deep-fried bird is in the marinating stage. There is lots of fresh lemon/lime with parsley, onion and garlic.

And then, when it comes to the frying stage, the chicken pieces are rolled into flour combined with secret herbs and spices before hitting the fryer. Bliss!

7) Tostones (Fried Plantains)

I noticed when island hopping in the Caribbean and spending almost a year travelling overland across Western Africa, that plantain grow everywhere and they’re frequently used in many dishes. 

Tostones or fried plantain is essential to Dominican cuisine, and this tasty dish is made by merely cutting ripe plantain, then frying the slices in oil.

Fried plantain is a filling meal, and it’s ideal to eat at any time of the day. Dominicans will often eat fried plantain with typical Dominincan foods like meat, salami, cheese, rice or eggs. It’s basic food Dominican Republic-style, but it’s super versatile and affordable.

8) Empanadas

food dominican republic empanadas
Tasty food Dominican Republic is all about empanadas!

While empanadas are a staple food appreciated across Latin America, in the Dominican Republic they’re incredibly popular.

Empanadas are the most popular snack food in the Dominican Republic; you can find them everywhere!

Street food vendors, bakeries, small stores and supermarkets too – the only decision to make is which one to choose?

Empanadas are baked parcels of buttery pastry that has been filled with spiced meat (usually beef), chicken, cheese or vegetables.

I lived on these when we travelled across South America in 2009. They are the perfect snack food because they’re cheap, filling and available on every corner at all times of the day. Easily my favourite street food in the Dominican Republic.

9) La Bandera

A staple Dominican dish of stewed meat, red beans, and white rice. You could say that this is Dominican Republic traditional food. A reliable, affordable and readily available food in the Dominican Republic. La Bandera, or ‘the flag,’ is named after the nationwide flag as it matches the colours on the tricolour flag. 

The meat in this dish can be fried or stewed, depending on personal taste. La Bandera is a hugely popular food throughout the Dominican Republic and you will likely enjoy it on more than one occasion during your visit.

10) Dulce De Leche

This sweet dish is found across Latin America, and it’s loved by all. Dulce de leche is a sweet, rich, and thick caramel-like sauce.

This oh-so-delicious food in the Dominican Republic is created by slow-melting sugar and evaporated milk. Over time, the sauce thickens and you can choose how to enjoy it. Dulce de leche can be eaten on its own, but it’s usually served with desserts, on top of muffins, waffles, cakes, or pastries.

I ate so many wonderful pastries in many wonderful bakeries in Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic.

Where to Stay in Santo Domingo

food dominican republic santo domingo

If you’re not heading straight to the big resorts of Punta Cana (click here for hotels/resorts we recommend in Punta Cana), then Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, is a great city to spend a few days before exploring the rest of the country.

This is a city with so many great cafes, restaurants and amazing food experiences to have in this country. We spent many days in the capital, enjoying the food, culture and the great nightlife.

Here are the hotels we recommend in this city for every budget

Budget Hotel Hotel Class Colonial offers great value and location, just 400 m from Mercado Modelo.. The included breakfast is fantastic. Check prices here.

Mid-Range HotelHotel Cana Palma Zona Colonial is in an excellent location. Situated in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo, Cana Palma Aparta Hotel features accommodation with a seating area. Free WiFi is available. Check prices here.

Luxury HotelIntercontinental Real Santo Domingo is fancy. An infinity pool on level 3 of the property – this is the place to stay to treat yourself! Check prices here.


Best Day Tours in the Dominican Republic

We were super excited to spend some time just eating our way around the capital city of Santo Domingo. What a fantastic city with endless options to try great Dominican cuisine.

This city has some really interesting history and gorgeous architecture. We joined this city tour of Santo Domingo and it was fantastic.

Check out these other great tours in Santo Domingo below.

Best Things to do in Punta Cana

Punta Cana is THE place in the Dominican Republic that ticks all the boxes of those seeking a vacation full of sun, beaches and endless activities.

Yes, you won’t be spoilt for things to keep you entertained here. Check out our favourite things to do in Punta Cana below.

Are you keen to learn more about Haiti?

Did you know that Haiti and Dominican Republic share an island? It’s true, but why are these countries so different? We visited both countries in 2019 and took the option of the Border crossing from the Dominican Republic to Haiti.

We enjoyed our time in the city of Cap Haitien, the city is very colourful. Read more about Things to do in Cap Haitien, Haiti.

As we mentioned, Haiti and the Dominican Republic share an island – Did you know about these countries that share one island?

We hope you have enjoyed learning about the best food in the Dominican Republic. Have we missed your favourite Dominican dish on our list? Tell us what it is in the comments below.

Tips for Travel in the Caribbean

You might also enjoy reading our post about the 11 Caribbean Islands Best Beaches to visit.

We travelled through many countries in 2019, around forty of them to be exact. We visited many Caribbean Island nations that year, and you can read our recap of the Caribbean islands and countries visited in 2019.

We also enjoyed these 10 popular foods in the Bahamas, and 10 delicious dishes in Haiti that you must try!

For future travels, don’t miss our Top 6 Travel Hacks to Save You Money and this Ultimate Packing List for Travellers. And you may learn a few great tips after reading our Expert Travel Tips After 20+ Years Of Travel.

Find all of our best travel tips, advice, and things we use and recommend to travel the world on our Travel Resources Page.