Rikitaki and Frikitaki are street sandwiches, the first consumed mainly in Santiago and other northern cities, the latter in Santo Domingo. They're made with Pan de agua – a common baguette-type bread – cabbage, green tomatoes or onions, ground beef or salami, and egg.
By- Last reviewed . Published Sep 19, 2023
Why we ❤️ it
Rikitaki and Frikitaki are true wonders of urban cuisine, very filling and perfect after a long day of work or studying. Simple ingredients that, when combined, result in a flavor explosion in your mouth.
For those who grew up in the northern part of the country, and Santo Domingo, these Dominican Republic recipes are synonymous with their childhood or youth, taking them back to the street vendors with their carts outside the school, university, or iconic places like El Monumento in Santiago.
RiKitaki or frikitaki?
Rikitaki and frikitaki are similar Dominican recipes, and some people use both terms interchangeably, but at their core, they are different sandwiches.
Frikitaki is also a street sandwich, but it is stuffed with Dominican salami or ham and doesn’t contain cabbage. Frikitaki is best known in Santo Domingo, while rikitaki is most popular in Santiago and the northern regions of the Dominican Republic.
Frikitaki and Riki taki sandwiches.
- You can make the Rikitakis by taking advantage of the carne molida (cooked beef mince) that you have leftover from another preparation.
- Prepare meat faster using powdered seasoning (like homemade adobo or sazón completo) or homemade liquid sazón made using onion, garlic, cubanelle pepper, and cilantro.
- Cabbage is typically added raw because it adds crispness and texture to the sandwich, but it can also be lightly sautéed in a pan.
- To make it easier to peel the eggs, add a tablespoon of baking soda to the water. The baking soda helps loosen the shell and detach it from the egg white.
- The amount of cabbage and the amount of mayonnaise, and the amount of ketchup is up to you, so you can change the recipe to your own taste.
About this recipe
Rikitaki and Frikitaki are benchmarks of Dominican street food. Over time, they have been modified and adapted according to the creativity of the person who prepares them. Each Dominican seems to have a preferred neighborhood stand.
This recipe presents the most common way we find them. However, each has its particular and unique way of making it, and there are many variations according to individual tastes and traditions.
This recipe has been tested by Tía Clara.
Have you tried these in their "natural habitat"? Which one is your favorite?
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Rikitaki and Frikitaki [Video+Recipe] Ground Beef or Salami & Egg Sandwiches)
For making rikitaki
- 1 pound ground beef, 80/20, grade B
- 1 tablespoon seasoning powder, or ¼ cup liquid seasoning (see tips above)
- 1 tablespoon salt, (or to taste), divided
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup tomato sauce, or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika, (optional)
- 1 tablespoon ground oregano
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce, optional
- 4 loaves pan de agua, (see tips above)
- ½ head cabbage, shred cabbage very fine
- 2 thinly sliced green tomatoes
- Ketchup to taste
- Mayonnaise to taste
1. Cook the ground meat (just for rikitaki)
- In a bowl, mix the ground beef with the seasoning powder and ½ tablespoon of salt. In a skillet or braising pot heat the oil over high temperature. Add the meat and cook, stirring and breaking the clumps that form until it has browned lightly, it will release some of its own grease which helps brown the meat.Add the water, tomato sauce, paprika, oregano, and hot sauce and mix them well, making sure there are no large clumps left. Lower the heat to the minimum, and cook until the liquid has evaporated, but the meat is still juicy. Taste it and season with salt to taste. Reserve.
1. Fry salami (just for frikitaki)
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and brown the salami on both sides. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to wisk excess oil.
2. Cook the eggs
- Boiled eggs: While the meat cooks, place the eggs in a small pot or saucepan and add enough water to cover them (see tips above). Cook over medium heat until the water breaks the boil.When it breaks the boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and wait 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the hot water and add cold water. Press the eggs on the table to make it easier to remove the shell. Slice them and set them aside.Fry eggs: Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan at medium-high heat and fry the eggs until the edges have turned golden brown but the yolk is still soft. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
3. Toast the bread
- Slice the bread in half. In a pan or griddle, heat until it is a little toasted. Remove it from the heat and set aside.
- Take a slice of bread and add mayonnaise and ketchup to taste. Place the cabbage (optional for frikitaki) on top.For rikitaki: Top the cabbage with ground beef, then tomato, and finally eggs on top. Put the other slice of bread on top.For frikitaki: Top the cabbage with salami, then onion, and finally eggs on top. Put the other slice of bread on top.
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutrition information.
A friend from Santiago assured me that the original, the one he consumed in his childhood, did not have mayo or ketchup, made on a Pan de agua heated on a griddle, beef with a touch of hot sauce, grated cabbage without dressing, and green tomato.
In some cases when adding an egg, which can be boiled or fried, it would be called a special rikitaki. In other cases, the egg is always included.
Some variations of "riki Dominicano" include onions, dressing the cabbage with a simple olive oil and vinegar or lime juice vinaigrette, using Pan soba'o – a softer bread roll, similar in texture to a burger bun – using red tomatoes, and toasting the bread in a toaster or pressing in a panini press.
Ground beef is the most common, but it can be found made from ground chicken. You can make the meat a little spicy by adding hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste.
Can riki taki be made in advance?
This sandwich can be made in advance. Cook the ground beef and eggs; once they cool, store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
Grate the cabbage and slice the tomato, cover them with a paper towel, and take them to the fridge in an air-tight container.
When you are ready to make the sandwiches, heat the meat over low heat for a few minutes or in the microwave. Heat the eggs in the microwave for a few seconds, or place them in an air-tight container and place it in hot water. Let the heat of the water warm the eggs for a few seconds. you can also use cold eggs.
Like most classical Dominican foods, its origin is not clearly defined, we only have anecdotes and urban legends to explain their origin.
One of these possible origins is that its name comes from a man named Ricky, who sold them in the streets with the chant: "Ricky 'tá aquí". This was modified until they were called Rikitaki, Riki taqui, and its shortened version, Rikis.
Another legend is that of a lady who, with her lover, designed a code to communicate when her husband – also called Ricky – was in the house. The lover passed by the front of her house as if he were a street vendor, shouting: "Riki, riki, riki"; to this, she would reply: "'ta'ki, 'ta'ki, 'ta'ki".
We will probably never know its true origin; what we do know is that it is a very tasty sandwich.
More Dominican sandwich recipes
You can find some of our favorite sandwich recipes, but on our blog, Chimi is our favorite – probably followed by Frikitaki, Sandwich de pierna (pork roast sandwich), and Derretido de queso. You can also enjoy our Sandwichon sandwich cake.
We've also shared this Longaniza sandwich that, while not traditional, has all the flavors and ingredients we love.
See more beef recipes in our blog.