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Cuba - Food and Drink

  • Cuban Cuisine


The food and drink of Cuba combines a mixture of Spanish and Afro-Caribbean traditions.  Despite being an island, seafood does not play a major role in Cuban cuisine.  Instead, the Cuban diet is centred around meats like pork, beef and chicken as well as beans and plantains.  Many visitors are surprised to learn that Cuban dishes are not hot and spicy, rather, they are flavoured by onions, garlic and cumin.


Popular dishes include:

Ajiaco: This is the national dish of Cuba, consisting of meat and vegetables in a stew.

Congrís: Known locally as “Moors and Christians”, this dish is made up of black beans and rice.

Lechón: This meal is suckling pig that has been marinated with garlic and onions before being oven roasted or cooked over a spit.

Ropa Vieja: Traditionally made from shredded beef, ropa vieja can also be made with lamb.  The meat is cooked with green peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic in a stew.

Fried Plantains: Green bananas are either mashed, boiled or fried and have a buttery and nutty flavour.

Tamales: Made from cornmeal, tamales are filled with peppers and onions then wrapped in corn leaves and steamed.

Tasajo: This meal consists of fried, dried beef.



Cubans tend to drink a lot of coffee, but it is often much stronger than in North America.  For a straight shot, people should order café espresso, for coffee with warm milk, order café con leche and for a milder coffee, order café Americano.  A popular Cuban drink is Guarapo which is made from pressed sugar cane.  Cuba is without a doubt known for its rum and mojitos are very popular and are the country’s national cocktail.  A mojito is made from light rum, lime juice, fresh mint, sugar and club soda.  Regarding Cuban beers, Cristal Bucanero, a pale golden beer nicknamed “the preference of Cuba” and Mayabe, a pale lager beer are often the drink of choice.  When it comes to water, visitors are advised to stick to bottled water.

Things to know: A service charge of 10% may be added to a bill, but if not, tipping 10% is standard. 

Drinking age: There is no minimum drinking age in Cuba, however, people must be over 18 to purchase it.


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