A Short Beginner's Guide to Cuban and Puerto Rican Cuisines


Whether you're in the mood for something refreshing and new or something warm and comforting, odds are there's a Cuban or Puerto Rican dish that has you covered. These two Latin American cuisines have a truly diverse range of flavors. Let's learn a bit more about some of the most well-loved dishes from each culture.

Cuban Cuisine

Rice, Beans, and Plantains

Like any culture, Cuban cuisine uses local ingredients that are abundant. So when you order a Cuban dish, you can expect sides like rice, beans, and plantains. In fact, the dish you decide to try might even be comprised of mostly plantains! They can be fried and salted or stewed and sweet. These three staples certainly don't have any lack of variety.

Ropa Vieja

This is perhaps one of the most well-loved and well-known dishes in Cuban cuisine. Made up of stewed, shredded beef cooked in a mix of fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic. With a list of ingredients like that, it's difficult not to love this dish. It's also typically accompanied by classic beans, rice, and sweet plantains.


Masitas are crispy pieces of fried pork and are typically fried up or baked. Crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, they're served up with rice. A classic, comforting Cuban dish.

Puerto Rican Cuisine


Mofongo might sound funky, but it's quite delicious. Again, plantains make an appearance in this Latin American cuisine. This dish is typically made from deep-fried plantain pieces that are mashed up with pork or pork crackling and butter. It can be served as a side dish or as a main course.

Lechon Asado

This dish requires a whole pig. Marinated in adobo and slow roasted over coals for multiple hours, this Puerto Rican delicacy is typically served at large parties. As a result of the slow roasting, the pig's skin becomes crispy while the meat inside remains tender and juicy.


This dish is one of the most well-loved specialties in Puerto Rican cuisine. These little treats resemble tamales, but are most often made using banana masa stuffed with stewed pork. They can also be found stuffed with chicken or salted fish.

While these two cultures have a few ingredients in common, it's clear that each of them puts a unique spin on these commonalities. Which of these dishes are you dying to try? Considering the specialty food industry grew by 11% between 2015 and 2017 alone, it's safe to say that unique cultural specialties like these may be popping up in more kitchens soon.

Jaguar © 2016