tional Cuban root vegetable similar to potato. These are delicious and you should
definitely try them.
Croquetas consist of balls of meat, usually of questionable origin, heavily mixed
with bread, potato and other filler items. They are then deep fried. Despite their
cheap price, usually only 2 pesos (MN) each, most Cubans consider them to be
rather unsavory and unhealthy. I would have to agree. This is probably the only
street food I would not recommend.
Ice Cream and other snacks
Cubans love their ice cream. In Havana, it will be difficult to walk a block without
encountering at least one ice cream vendor. Ice cream is usually sold in cones
( barquillos ) costing 3 pesos (MN) each. Flavors range from the basic vanilla and
chocolate to the more exotic flavors of naranja-pina (orange-pineapple) and
mantecado (French vanilla with cinnamon). A cheaper frozen dessert, named
frozzen, is similar to a soft serve ice cream, but with a lower cream content.
Cones come in a variety of flavors and usually cost only 1 peso (MN).
Donuts, called rosquillas , are another popular street food dessert. They are usu-
ally large, moist, and covered in raw sugar. Some vendors even dip them in
honey. In Havana, they usually cost 2 to 3 pesos (MN) each.
Cangrejitos are another common type of pastry, popular as a breakfast or snack.
They are crescent-shaped, fried dough puffs, filled with either sweet guayaba
paste or cheese, They get their name from their crab-like shape and size ( can-
grejito means little crab). In Havana, they usually cost 2 to 3 pesos (MN). They
are best eaten warm, fresh out of the fryer.
I sometimes get the impression that drinking fruit juice is more popular than water
in Havana. If the street vendors are any indication, I might be right. Almost every
food vendor will be offering some form of juice to compliment their food selec-
tions. Cold, freshly made mango, orange and pineapple juices are popular
choices, and usually costs 3 pesos (MN) per cup. These natural juices are called
jugos naturales . Some vendors choose to sell cheaper options made from water
and artificial juice mixes. These are simply called refrescos (refreshments) and
cost only 1 peso per cup. Note: Some vendors will water down their fresh
squeezed juices. They are still natural, but not as fulfilling as pure juice. Through
trial and error, and by watching the buying habits of the local Cubans, you will
quickly learn which vendors offer the best products.
In Cuba, peanuts are called maní . They are a very popular snack food. Brigades
of independent street vendors, called maníceros , roam the streets, selling roasted