Punta Cana is an internationally famous destination and a must-see location for those who are looking to escape their usual routine in search of a haven of peace and quiet where they can recharge their batteries and get some much-needed rest, discovering unimaginable attractions and practicing countless different water sports. But this Dominican region is much more than just that, thanks to its exotic, different and surprising cuisine that manages to impress all visitors.
Its food is one of its strengths and attracts all kinds of people, with typical dishes that are the best example of the Creole cuisine that characterizes the Dominican Republic, the result of the blend of Spanish, African, and Taíno gastronomy. Below we will review 5 typical dishes from Punta Cana that you can enjoy on your next visit.
FISH AND SEAFOOD
The wide variety of grilled fish and seafood will undoubtedly be one of your favorite dishes when you visit the fascinating region of Punta Cana. The geographical enclave of the Dominican Republic makes the country a benchmark when it comes to its seafood cuisine. Here you’ll find the most outstanding species, such as the Caribbean spiny lobster, spider crabs, other crabs, prawns or octopus.
Although the recommendation by locals and visitors is to enjoy the daily catch, if there is one fish that you can’t forget to try it’s the northern red snapper. A light and easily digestible fish whose nutritional value is similar to that of meat, something very important in Punta Cana. Paradoxically, there is more meat consumption in the country than fish, but its visitors always delight in the freshness of the seafood. Along with the northern red snapper are other fish such as mackerel, grouper or albacore, whose flavors awaken unique sensations if they’re eaten in combination with Creole sauces or cooked in coconut.
The Bandera Dominicana (“Dominican flag”) is considered the country’s national dish. With a base of rice and beans, two of the main ingredients in Punta Cana’s cuisine, this traditional dish gives us a taste of one of the oldest flavors of Dominican cooking. You’ll connect to this country’s roots with the very first bite, with the stewed meat, the salad, and the fried green plantains.
A powerful and novel flavor, memorable for visitors who have already tried it and surprising for those tasting it for the very first time, often served with fresh fruit juices. A drink that puts that refreshing touch on a meal that although abundant, isn’t heavy. Thanks to this fusion of sweet and salty flavors, your palate will get to indulge in a true delicacy from this region
It’s well known that people in Punta Cana fight the heat with soups, loaded with flavor and tradition. In a hot paradise like this, the asopao is a dish that can be found on daily lunch menus, and whose tradition doesn’t mean it loses any of its innovative character. Although at its core it is a chicken, tomato, and rice soup, there are many other ingredients that are also part of this stew.
You’ll quickly notice the garlic, sour orange, and coriander, which together achieve the objective of this dish: to be a refreshing meal for those who eat it while being nutritious at the same time. A fun experience for the palate that can be complemented by other ingredients depending on the visitor’s preferences.
TYPICAL DESSERTS FROM PUNTA CANA
The desserts from the Dominican Republic are powerful, sweet, and daring. Not leaving room for some of the typical desserts from Punta Cana would be a huge mistake. The attractive gastronomic offer in Punta Cana puts its best contrasts on display with the Creole sweets, delicacies that are made with a wide variety of tropical fruits.
Eating “dulce de leche” or “dulce de coco” is a common way of ending a meal, but the real finishing touch comes when you try one of the homemade desserts. Although each region of the Dominican Republic has different dominant flavors, all of them offer the most traditional dessert: the bizcocho Dominicano (Dominican cake). This light and rich dessert are filled with pineapple and covered in meringue, an explosive combination on the palate that is loved by diners of all ages.
For the more exotic and daring, there are options such as the majarete, a dessert that consists of a dense, flavourful pudding, usually made of corn or coconut.
DON’T FORGET THE DRINKS
Mamajuana is the typical drink from Punta Cana and is the result of a maceration process where rum, honey, and red wine are the main ingredients, accompanied by leaves and spices. Its resulting flavor is unique, sweet, or semi-sweet, depending on its composition.
There are two types of mamajuana, depending on how it’s made. The base may be made with shellfish or wood, giving rise to a distinctive smell and hue. While the wood base is prepared by adding sticks, the shellfish base has octopus, squid, conch, shrimp, and oysters inside.