Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Cuban Cuisine
Resort Meals
The quality of food is probably one of the biggest complaints I hear from tourists
who travel to Cuba and stay at all inclusive resorts. Although the complaints are
sometimes valid, fundamentally, the problems stem from tourist expectations and
Cuban marketing.
On a resort, the buffets will offer an assortment of traditional Cuban dishes as well
as some international meal choices. À la carte restaurants on the resorts will also
offer cuisine-specific meals, such as French specialties, Italian pasta dishes or Asi-
an inspired meals. 24-hour snack bars will offer hot dogs, hamburgers and French
fries.
The traditional Cuban dishes will usually be made to a very high standard. The
meals often consist of either pork or chicken, along with sides of rice and beans,
and a cucumber salad. While, to many foreigners, this might sound like a rustic
meal, unworthy of presentation in a 4 star resort, this is, in fact, the quintessential
Cuban meal, served to locals and visiting dignitaries alike. Foreigners who try
these dishes are usually pleasantly surprised by their authenticity and rich flavor.
The complaints usually arise from the non-traditional Cuban food options which are
offered at resort restaurants. The Italian pizzas and pasta plates are bland. Asian
inspired dishes such as noodles or sushi will never match expectations. The stand-
ard American staples such as hamburgers and French fries will often be good, but
not taste exactly like burgers from McDonald's or Burger King.
Most resorts will offer sections in their buffets where chefs will cook you a custom
meal as you wait. This can range from making a custom ordered pizza or pasta
dish, to grilling a pork chop or frying a seafood platter. These custom meal loca-
tions will be the gastronomic highlight of the buffets and the food is usually well
worth the wait. Since all the food is prepared and cooked fresh, as you watch, you
know that the ingredients are of high quality and the chef can prepare your plate
perfectly to your liking. If you have special food needs, get to know your server. Sit
in the same area for each meal and greet your server when you arrive. The waiters
aim to please. They might not be able to honor your request on your first day but
they will make an effort to get you what you need for the remainder of your stay.
(for example, fresh juice outside of breakfast, unsweetened yogurt, different veget-
arian options)
Traditional Cuban Meals
Outside of a resort setting you can expect to encounter a lot more traditional
Cuban food choices. Below are some examples of the most common types of
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