Cuban cuisine is unique and different from other cultures. Cuban food has been heavily influenced by the distinctive history of the Caribbean and its ancient travelers. It is a combination of different cultures, although, in its varied dishes, it has a blend of Spanish, African, and Caribbean cuisines. It also has some little Chinese influence, which can be found in some areas in Havana.
During the colonial period, Havana was a very important trading port. Therefore Cuban food is greatly influenced by Indigenous, African, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, and different Spanish regions. Many Cuban dishes have their roots, in Andalucia, Spain.
Typical Cuban main course and food
By tradition, Cubans are not used to measure all ingredients when cooking (except for desserts). They like to add more or less certain amounts of spices to their recipes, according to taste or preferences. However, all meals, whether with more or fewer spices, have the distinctive seasoning and signature of the Cuban taste.
A traditional Cuban meal consists primarily of rice and beans, which is a typical criollo dish, but its preparation and technique vary with the region.
The typical Cuban main course would consist mainly of pork, beef, or chicken, accompanied by grains (especially rice) or “viandas” (some sort of vegetables). The word “vianda” is not the same as the French word: viande, which means “meat”. The Cuban word “vianda”, incorporates different types of tubers, such as boniato (yam or white sweet potato), yucca (cassava), potato, and malanga (taro), as well as plantains (ripe and unripe), and corn.
An additional popular side dish is a salad, which usually is simply composed of lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado, but may also have carrots, cucumber, radish, cabbage, and even beets.
Cuban food tends to be highly seasoned with what is called “sofrito”, a combination of different spices to make a traditional base sauce for many recipes. The “sofrito” may include tomato, garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, parsley, and olive oil, although the list of the ingredients varies with dishes and recipes.
Cuban cuisine has been changing over the years. Still influenced by different cultures. Many have preserved the use of its traditional ingredients and the way to prepare their varied dishes, wherever they are in the world, while others have added their own touch and cultural background and reference, but still keeping the unique and distinctive flavor of the traditional Cuban food.