I already wrote some posts about Cuban Food and dishes
you should try
while you are here. This post is more about food in Cuba in general and provides some tips for your trip.
If you are a Vegetarian be aware that a trip to Cuba could be a little boring food wise. In this post
you can find more information about that.
Here some food related tips for your trip:
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
I know, at home you are used to go one supermarket to get all your groceries from meat and bread to vegetables and yogurt. Well Cuba is a little different: Fresh fruits and vegetables you can only find on farmers markets or buy from street vendors, not in supermarkets. But they are fresh and locally cultivated and yes, mostly organic!
Try mangos and avocados in Summer and Tomatoes and Mamey during Winter.
Some big farmers Markets are in:
19 y B in the Vedado
17 y K, also Vedado
Mercado de Egidio, in Egidio y Corales, Old Havana
Those are just some examples. Big markets close on Mondays but you can still go to smaller ones.
- Big Portions
Cubans love to eat and to eat a lot. So a important criteria for a good restaurant from a local point of view is that the portions are big. It is perfectly normal to ask for a doggy bag to the rest of the food back home.
Sugar in Cuba counts almost as basic nutrition and if you love sweetness Cuba will be your place. So be aware that sweets are a little sweeter than you might be used to.
Make a stop in a Dulcería and try some pastries or get in line at Coppelia and have some ice cream.
- Drinks and Food
Cubans are used to have their drinks with their food. Usually you will be asked if you want the drinks first or with the food: para ahora o con la comida?
Not directly food related but good to know: not all places have bathrooms, usually cafeterias do not have any.
WHERE to eat?
There are different types of places to eat in Cuba, for different tastes and budgets:
First of all, there are state owned restaurants. They can vary a lot in terms of price and quality of food and service.
Paladares are restaurants owned and run by private persons. Now the main restaurants and the high quality ones are private. Thanks to those places the Cuban food gained his former variety again, also the decoration and presentation of the places and dishes are usually more special. Normally better chefs work in a Paladar.
Of course there are bad ones as well.
The Cafeterias are the Cuban alternative to international fast food chains. Since 2013 Cubans have the possibility to be auto employed and open small businesses so in the last years a lot of people opened their own small fast food places. Most Cafeterias are a lot cheaper than Restaurants and serve fast food or Cuban dishes for small Prices. Typical fast food are pizzas, burgers and sandwiches. Most of the bakeries and Cafés are also private run.
WHEN to eat?
In Cuba people eat when they are hungry. Usually they have a big a lunch and dinner, but there is no special time for time for it.
For More Infos about Cuban Food and a huge list of restaurants, Bars and Cafeterias you find in my guid, available on Amazon or directly here :
Avoid bad experiences and discover Cuban food at its best!