Picapollo is chicken that's covered with flour and then deep fried until the skin is crunchy. This dish can be served with rice, tostones (fried sliced plantain) or French fries and it's a life savior for a lot of people when hunger attacks and they can't wait long. They can be found in any big city, being Pollos Victorina the most famous ones.
Useless trivia: when I was growing up and Pollos Victorina was new, the tostones were very hard and were eaten only if there was no fries or if you *really* had no choice. So hard we used to joke that they could be used as frisbees hehe.
Casabe is a thin, flat bread made of yuca, also known as cassava. Casabe is one of the few things that we inherited from the Taíno people and that we still enjoy to this day. We have several sorts of casabe: natural, with garlic flavor and filled with different kinds of fruit/marmalade. You can find them in big packages or buffet size, roughly the size of a coffee cup. They're eaten mostly by themselves, as a between meals snack but a lot of Dominicans like eating casabe with chicharrón de cerdo (deep fried pork meat).
Yuca is a root and comes in 2 sorts: sweet, which we cook (boil, in empanadas, in arepitas, fried) and eat right away and bitter, which must be processed before consumption and which is the one used to prepare casabe.
These starters I'm going to talk about are available pretty much all over the country, but the reason they're on my Santo Domingo page is because it's there where I've found and eaten them the most.
The Dominican traditional starters or buffet food include:
- Pastelitos: they're like small empanadas or savoury pastries. The difference between empanadas and pastelitos is that pastelitos are round and empanadas are in the shape of a half full moon. The filling possibilities are endless: chicken, ham, ground beef, vegetables...
- Quipes: this is a recipe that we borrowed from the Lebanese/Middle Eastern community living in my country. It's basically a meat ball but made of bulgur and filled with chicken or ground beef and then deep fried.
- Croquetas de pollo: or chicken croquettes. They can also be filled with ham and are pretty much like the ones you can find in Madrid.
- Bollitos de yuca: like croquettes, but with yuca "dough" and filled normally with cheese.
These dishes are usually the buffet food of choice for a lot of events because everyone likes them and because cooks can get creative with the choice of filling and spices. They're also sold in supermarkets, raw for you to fry and enjoy, and in some bakeries.
All the photos in this tip are taken from the link below and are temporary until I can take pictures myself.
When it comes to desserts, we have a lot to choose from besides the traditional cake with yummy fillings and frosting. Some of these hidden gems in the Dominican cuisine are:
- Conconetes: a conconete is basically a soft biscuit made with brown sugar and grated coconut. This was a simple thing to eat together with cherry or raspberry soda when I was child. They can be found on colmados.
- Dulce de 3 leches: my personal favorite, a cake made of 3 milks (hence the name): evaporated milk, condensed milk and regular (whole) milk. The cake doesn't have butter, which makes it have a consistency sort of like sponge cake but it doesn't get soggy even after being soaked with the 3 milks.
- Arepa: it's a sort of cake made of coconut milk and corn flour. It's normally made in an iron pot on top of hot coal, then it's covered with a metal lid with more hot coal on top.
- Flan: flan is so popular that it used to be sold in cans, ready to eat, being the most common the caramel one. I've also seen, but not as often, coconut flan.
Dominicans have a sweet tooth. One traditional sweet we like is our version of dulce de leche. The traditional one you could find in South American places is creamy while ours is hard, which is why we call it dulce de leche en pasta (paste like, sort of). Ours come not only "solo" (without filling) but also with fruit fillings such as guava and orange. You can buy this sweet in big supermarkets and paradores (bus rest stops).
Dominicans love stew Goat meat and Michelangelo Restaurant is consider the best places to eat this exotic dish. Goats in some providance are fed oregano plants so the Goat would absorb the oregano during the feeding.
Michelangelo is a International and Seafood Gourmet Restaurant, but 8 years ago they were requested to make this dish for a going away party and the owners which are chefs and head cooks decided to make this dish with a french twist and fine red wine and it's one of the most famous dish on the island.
Michelangelo Restaurant is located on Roberto Pastoriza and Winston Churchill in Piantini in Santo Domingo Dominican Republic this is the web site www.michelangelochef.com. Telephone 809-566-3863 and 829-343-7187
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