A Culinary Tour of the Dominican Republic

A culinary tour of the Dominican Republic

The occasional visitor could be forgiven for thinking that because the Dominican Republic is a small country we have no regional cuisines. Up to a point, this is not far from the truth, but to any Dominican it is obvious that each region is best known for certain dishes.

Follow us in a culinary tour.

A culinary tour of the Dominican Republic

The northwestern region of the Dominican Republic, known to Dominicans as “La Linea” (the border) is an area with impressive coasts, beautiful beaches of golden sand, tropical desert forests, cacti and mesquite covered hills and salt plains.

Chivo guisado

Oregano grows wild in the area and the large goat population that feeds on it, allegedly seasoning themselves as they walk and breathe, are the best known part of its cuisine. The flagship dish of the northwest is chivo liniero (or picante), a dish consisting of braised, spicy goat seasoned with aromatic herbs and abundant oregano.

In the coastal area there is a small but important fishing industry. Seafood dishes, especially lambí (conch) are very popular.

Valle del Cibao

The northern region shares some dishes with the Cibao valley (the central part of the island). The valley is an agricultural region, with fertile land, majestic mountains and a moderate climate. Dishes like guanimo and buch’e perico are best known and loved here and it’s not rare to find that here some dishes are known by different names than the rest of the country. Such is the case of maíz caquiao, known in the south as chacá.

Quipes (bulgur rolls)

Santo Domingo and the southeast have always been a magnet for immigrants, which has left an imprint on the region’s cuisine. At the end of the ninetieth century a wave of immigrants from the Middle East arrived on our shores and settled mainly in San Pedro de Macorís and Santo Domingo.  Kipes and tipili are descendants of the Lebanese kibbeh and tabouleh. Our niños envueltos and arroz con fideos evolved from the Egyptian malfouf mahshi and ruz bil shereya respectively.


Another group of immigrants who settled in the southeast was the “cocolos”, freed slaves from the British Caribbean, and who gave San Pedro guavaberry, an alcoholic beverage, and joohnny cake, which we turned into yaniqueques.


The southwestern cuisine bears the imprint of our African ancestors. Dishes like chambre, chacá and chenchén originated in this region. The first one is a bean-based stew, the second and third are corn-based dishes, sweet and savory, respectively.

Pescado con coco (Fish in coconut sauce)

The beautiful Samaná peninsula, impressive and long-ago coveted by many an empire, yet it lived in isolation until relatively recently. With coconut groves that extend as far as the eye can see, it’s not surprising coconut is a fundamental part of its cuisine.

Pescado con coco and moro de guandules con coco have become favorites nationwide. In our trips there we also “discovered” the delicious pan de coco, a dish we hope will also become known throughout the rest of the country.

We invite you to discover our land and to enjoy this important aspect of our culture.

Aunt Clara



  1. Mayerling Fermin

    Really good article about our Dominican cuisine and its regions. The truth is that we eat many of our dishes but sometimes don’t know where they originated from.

  2. Jose Peralta

    You have just made me soo hungry that I will put on my apron and make a few of those dishes today! BTW Samana’s Pan de Coco was one of the most amazing things about visiting that region. Both the sweet and savory versions of it were delicious but very short lasting as I realized that the abundant supply I brought back to Santiago didn’t make it through the night in my house.

  3. Nellie pickett Castillo

    very good,I love this and I live in Dominican,I have my grandson he’s a chef in Florida and loves to make Dominican food,where can I buy this book?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *