Last updated: 09:00 AM ET, Fri February 19 2016

10 Cuban Foods We Can't Wait To Try

Features & Advice | Gabe Zaldivar | February 19, 2016

10 Cuban Foods We Can't Wait To Try

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The easing of International relations can be delicious.

As Cuba becomes more accessible to a wide swath of American travelers, it’s time we examine something of extreme import: the food.

Now it’s impossible to list every last iteration of various meals in a given nation. So consider this a brief primer to what you might find if you are fortunate enough to visit the country previously excluded to so many in this nation. And please, feel free to offer up some dishes you think should be on the list of must-try meals.

The fact that we travel with our stomachs means we can’t wait until we one day touch down on Cuban soil and begin a belly-fueled excursion.

Here is just a sampling of what we can’t wait to try.


OK, we may have a problem if we are listing a spirit as the first thing to devour, but Cuban rum is just one of many items, like cigars, that have largely been held secret from Americans.

And really, this is a great way to work up an appetite.

Cuban Tamales:

Tamales are that great dish that spans the region to so many various countries’ respective cuisines.

Cuban tamales mix the masa with the meat, delivering one cohesive gift of flavor that you can unwrap and enjoy. Discovering how this differs from other like tamales is an equally delectable treat. 

Plantains (In all Their Wonder):

The plantain is that wonderful food that can be prepared in a wealth of ways. Now it’s time to meet this crazy banana in all its forms.

For example, it can be used in a home-style soup or fried in a number of ways to become Tostones or Maduros. Or, for a quick snack, you can munch on a plate of Mariquitas.


This staple can be found sidled next to a number of dishes, like two pals in a culinary buddy-cop film. The black beans and rice don’t just add sustenance, but a great deal of flavor if done right.

READ MORE: How to Experience the Real Cuba

Ropa Vieja:

It might seem simple, but sometimes the most satisfying food is the kind that is stewed lovingly for a long time. We can only imagine the ropa vieja you would find in Cuba would be the succulent and juicy variety that becomes the focal point for any daily adventure.

Arroz Con Pollo:

We are itching to try the simple dish you may have had in a number of places around the world. This is the kind of menu item that, when done with great care, can deliver an unforgettable dining experience.

Slowly-braised chicken paired with vibrantly yellow rice is a feast for the eyes and the kind of meal that offers the kind of energy you need to discover this unfamiliar country.

READ MORE: 5 Quintessential Cuban Experiences For Travelers


Every culture has their take on grilling or slow cooking meat over an open fire. And we darn near salivated over the keyboard when contemplating the possibilities. 

Lechon Asado:

Take a family marinade secret, run pig adoringly and cook over an open flame. Time is rewarded with juicy meat and crispy chicharron that you will want to hog for yourself.


A simple sandwich? Well, yes. But when done well it’s the reason to seek out the person behind your late-night snack and give them the biggest bear hug.


A personal favorite, this delicate custard packs a wallop of texture and flavor. It’s not heavy, so you can feel free to order 15 and you should feel just fine. Just don’t tell your doctor.


Much like tamales and flan, churros have been done in just about everywhere, including amusement parks. Something tells us the Cuban version isn’t to be missed.

Now that is just a sampling of things we are excited to try the second we touch down in Cuba at some date that is tragically distant on the calendar.

If you are fortunate enough to book passage, drop us a line and make us all jealous.

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