Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Another pork dish which you are likely to see a lot is called fricase de cerdo . This
is a stewed pork dish, where the chunks of meat are extremely tender and served
in a light, tomato sauce.
Soups and stews are very popular as well, namely because they are very easy to
prepare. The most traditional stew is called caldosa . It's made from a variety of
vegetables mixed together in a large pot and slow cooked. Different meats are
also usually added for flavor. Despite its rustic nature, it's a delicious and healthy
stew, particularly popular on cooler evenings, as it is an excellent way to warm up.
Other popular soups are crema de queso and crema de Virginia . These are rich
soups made of melted cheese. They make the perfect, gluttonous evening meal
after a hard days work. I recommend trying a soup with every meal.
Popular Side Dishes:
- Cucumber salad, consisting of thinly sliced cucumbers drizzled with light oil and
vinegar and a sprinkling of salt.
- Avocados with salt and vinegar
- Fried plantain chips ( tostones )
- Fried pork fat or skin ( chicharones )
Another popular component of most meals is a food group which Cubans refer to
as vianda . In simplest terms, vianda is a word used to describe root vegetables
and tubers which are high in carbohydrates. These include potatoes, sweet pota-
toes, yuca, calabaza, malanga, and plantains. A portion of vianda will be included
in most meals, especially at restaurants. The vianda items will either be boiled,
grilled, steamed or fried.
Popular desserts include flan, shortbread cookies ( tortica ), pudding ( natilla ), Jello
( gelatina ), ice cream ( helado ) or donuts ( rosquillas ). Fruits are also popular
dessert options.
Special Occasions
Some meals are a little more time consuming to prepare, and their ingredients are
a bit more costly. Despite being part of the Cuban tradition, they are generally
prepared only on special occasions. One such dish is called cerdo asado (roasted
pork). The pork, either whole or just the leg, is marinated overnight in a lemon/
garlic mojo sauce and then roasted for hours either in an oven or over an outdoor
barbeque pit. The resulting meat is moist and filled with flavor while the pork skin
is salty and crunchy.
You will also be able to find this dish at most restaurants in Cuba, although the
quality varies considerably. In a restaurant, the price for a plate of roasted pork is
usually very cheap, and should never cost more than 5 CUC. When hosting large
parties or family events, it is becoming increasingly popular for Cubans to order a
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