Visit cities, towns, and campos in the Dominican Republic, and you'll hear the Dominican street food vendors everywhere. Sit in your galeria or balcony, and you can pick fruits, vegetables, prepared food, desserts, meats, fish, and snacks without even leaving your home.
By- Last reviewed . Published Aug 12, 2002
It was love at first sight with Mr. Queso de Hoja, the cheese vendor, whose, uh, balls of cheese were always the freshest…
Oh, how I miss the street vendors. All vendors, really, but in particular, and in no small part due to their multitude, the food vendors, of course. The traveling hair accessories guy is great, and the baby-clothes dude was an ally of sorts. But unless you owe these folks money, you can’t be certain of when or where you’ll see them next.
But I could set my watch on the 5 o’clock cry of "Pastelitero, pastelito!"
Street food vendors
The Pasteles en hojas doña was a sight, expertly balancing a giant tub of pasteles on her head, and with a large cachú (ketchup) bottle in tow.
Also, a welcome sight was Mr. Lambicero, ambling down the street with his giant Tupperware full of conch salad, served to you in a styrofoam cup, complete with a lemon wedge; a nice treat on a Sunday.
There are too many other snack vendors to mention: the boiled egg kids, the Chicharrones (pork crackling) guy, the old man, and his corn-on-the-cob, the Peca'o frito (Fried fish) marchanta, with Batata frita (sweet potato fries) and Tostones (fried plantains) to complete the meal.
Sometimes, you get lucky, and Mrs. Kipes (Dominican kibbeh) passes by with freshly fried, crispy quipe.
Dessert delivered to your home? Yes! There's the Pan de batata (sweet potato cake) doña, the kid selling Memelos (Dominican lollipops), the Dulce de maní guy (peanut candy), and a myriad of other local treats to cater to your every craving.
Dominican street food stands
You'll need to get out of the house for some Dominican street foods. Carritos, puestos, and food stands dot the Dominican urban landscape, offering some of the most iconic Dominican dishes and flavors.
Sandwich carts and trucks offering one or several of the most iconic Dominican sandwiches are very popular. You can buy Riki taki, or frikitaki, the first made with ground beef, the latter with Dominican salami. You can also buy the popular Sandwich de pierna, made with Pork roast.
At night, wash down your chimi or sanduche with una fría, the beloved frosted Dominican beer.
In the daytime, you can choose from any number of Dominican juices, like Jugo de china (orange juice), chinola (passion fruit), Morir soñando (a combination of milk and orange juice), or Batida de lechosa (papaya milkshake).
Shop without leaving home
Let us not forget the other food vendors, too, the ones who mold your family’s menu into shape.
What you have for your lunch could well depend on who happens to pass by. "Aguacate, aguacate!" Well, we'll have avocado with lunch. Or you can luck out and hear the familiar "Guanduleeees!" Mmmmm, Guandules guisados (stewed pigeon peas) today sounds like a good idea.
And who can resist the traveling fishmongers proudly displaying their largest catches of the day? Much simpler than racking your brain in the colmado or supermarket, searching for ideas, they bring the supermarket to you (and less overhead, too, making them that much cheaper).
Now, if only they would adhere to some standard of decency in regard to the volume of their loudspeakers, it would be a perfect street vendor world.
In collaboration with Tía Clara.