Food and Drink Cuba - The Traveller

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Food and Drink Cuba

Cuba is far from being a dining destination, although in tourist centers (except in Santiago!) The quality of the food is much improved. We often eat the same thing: chicken, rice ... and pork. This is the basis of cooking known as "Creole" (Creole). There are also beef (res) of poor quality. The greens are notably absent. Fold yourself on salads: lettuce, tomato and cucumber.

Fortunately, Cuba is the country of the lobster. There are more and more paladares or restaurants that attempt a more elaborate cuisine and more varied, but made with imported products, which impacts on prices. On the other hand, in big cities, you will find Chinese and Italian restaurants.

The Cuban

- The rice and black beans: is the meat of the Creole cuisine. Here, they eat together and we call this dish congri or moros y cristianos (Moors and Christians). This is very cheap.
- The cochinito: much better than beef in the country, the pig is a delicacy for the Cubans. It is prepared roasted, grilled or fried and in the countryside, in the form of barbecue (in AUP).
- The lobster: you will now find in most restaurants and tourist paladares, but beware, it is not uncommon that it is simply mentioned on the menu to attract customers. In recent years, prices are really attractive.
- The Crab (cangrejo) swarm on roads, but few restaurants in offer, except on the north coast to Caibarién.
- The crocodile: you will not find that Guamá and some restaurants of Playa Girón in the Zapata Peninsula. The meat is reminiscent of the calf.
- Fruits: tropical paradise, the island offers plenty of fruit, but bananas (plátano) that predominates in the local cuisine. In Cuba, on a culinary level, the plantain is considered a vegetable. But these fruits are not ripe and often presented without any flavor ... In the best houses and according to supply, you will also taste the guava, papaya and mango.

As for cooking, it is in the casas particulares you have the opportunity to sample the greatest variety of tropical fruits, or on some small markets.

Drinks

- Water: beware; if officially tap water is drinkable, it often has bad taste. We strongly advise you to buy bottled water, which is found almost everywhere, but not always at reasonable prices.
- Soft drinks: the Cubans call it refresco. The real Coke made its appearance, but under Mexican license. Otherwise, we find its substitutes: the Tropicola or Tukola! Lemonade and orangeade is worth about 1.70 CUC store the bottle of 2 liters.
- The country produces many good beers: Crystal is light and pleasant; there is also the Cacique, also a light blonde, much less easy to find. One that has the most character is the Bucanero, amber and stronger in alcohol. Claras beers are sold mostly to Cubans and tourists. They are cheaper and more craft, and the Hatuey (excellent) usually costs 10 pesos. Also imported beers.
- The wine begins to emerge. Some restaurants "luxury" wines offer Cuban.
- The Cuban coffee is renowned, and rightly so. It is served strong, well packed and very sweet.
- Rum and cocktails today, except for anti-Castro Miami, the first Cuban rum is no longer the Bacardi, but the Havana Club. In Cuba, a self-respecting bartender must know a base of 100 cocktails made with rum or other spirits. Then add either: ice, sugar, fruit, fruit juice, and bitters, mint leaves, dairy products, spices ... You have the classic fantasies, winter cocktails, long drinks the Havana Club and short drinks, the most numerous. 

- The guarapo: sugar cane juice.
- The guararón: same thing, but with rum.
- The malts, a refreshing, sweet and alcoholic.

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