Cuisine in the Dominican Republic is known for its sweet flavors and rich textures, and that extends even to breakfast foods. Here are some of the most popular breakfast dishes in the country.
The Dominican Republic is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and some of the world’s best rum, but this Caribbean island is also home to some delicious cuisine that is worth exploring.
Dominican breakfast recipes are particularly unique.
The most traditional and authentic breakfast foods in the Dominican Republic have been passed down for generations. They are meals designed with a hard day of labor in mind as the Dominican Republic is a big producer of cocoa beans, jewelry, and produce like bananas. The meals are heavy in protein, starch, and carbs to help get through the day, but they are also loaded with incredible flavor and texture.
Some Dominican breakfast recipes are sweet and are meant to be enjoyed on the go while still filling you up! Others are fried to crispy, golden, salty perfection.
With simple ingredients and a mixture of Spanish, African, Caribbean, indigenous, and Puerto Rican influences, any meal you find in the Dominican Republic is sure to be one you will remember.
If you are looking to start your day in the Dominican way, I suggest trying out one of these dishes.
Mangú is a mashed plantain dish, often served with pickled red onions or red onions sauteed in vinegar that is one of the most popular Dominican Breakfast foods.
Plantains are high in fiber, vitamin C, and magnesium, but still low in calories. They are also easy to come by in the Dominican Republic, which could be why this dish is so beloved. It’s the perfect way to start the day and also a delicious side dish for lunch or dinner. It is so popular it is considered a staple of Dominican cuisine.
It is made by slicing green plantains and covering them with just enough water to boil. Once boiled, you mash the cooked plantains with a fork and then usually blend them smoothly with salt and butter or oil like vegetable oil, olive oil or canola oil. Yellow sweet plantains or ripe plantains can also be used in some versions.
Traditional mangú is an inexpensive but delicious dish, which is probably why it has become such a popular meal across the Dominican Republic. It is something that is eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Every family has their own delicious mangu recipe that they pass on to each new generation.
This dish is a cousin to a dish called mangusi from West Africa. The word mangusi refers to any pureed vegetable from the land. West African slaves likely shared their traditional recipe for mashed plantains with Dominicans during the slave trade and influenced this version.
A much more fun rumor about the name mangú is that it came from American settlers who tried the tender mash for the first time and may have said something like “Man, this is good” and the native Dominicans, not understanding English, began calling the dish mangu from then on.
When served for breakfast, mangú is often accompanied by sliced onions, eggs, meat and fried cheese for a breakfast called mangú tres golpes.
Los Tres Golpes
By far the most well-known and traditional Dominican breakfast food is Los Tres Golpes which translates to “three hits.” This popular dish consists of three parts: Fried eggs, fried salami, and Dominican fried cheese. You can usually find this hearty breakfast on the menu in many Dominican restaurants.
The fried salami, or salami frito, is a pre-cooked pork salami but when it is fried up on both sides it becomes golden brown, smoky, salty, and perfectly crispy. Just fry each side for three to four minutes and place the salami on a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess oil.
Dominican salami is not like salami you would find in Italy or Mexico. It has a flavor profile unique to itself.
The fried cheese, or queso frito, is made with queso de freir, or cheese for frying. It is a semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk that has a high melting point, making it perfect for frying without melting and falling apart. The cheese is cut into rectangle slices and each slice of Dominican frying cheese is placed in hot oil until crispy.
The eggs are simple fried eggs, sunny side up. The eggs, with crispy fried brown edges, enhance the flavor of the mangu and pickled onions.
With so many fried dishes together, los tres golpes is not for the calorie-conscious, but it is a delicious guilty pleasure for many Dominicans and tourists.
Farina/Cream of Wheat
Farina is a hot porridge made extra sweet with milk, evaporated milk, sugar, and cinnamon. It is very popular in the Dominican Republic and in Puerto Rico where every family has their own variation of the dish.
Farina, or cream of wheat, is boiled in a large pot with milk, sugar, and evaporated milk and seasoned with salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It is usually served hot as a breakfast but could also be served cold as a special treat.
Farina is warm, delicious comfort food. It is very easy to make and warms the soul from the inside out.
You may know arepas from other countries, (like these Colombian Arepas!) but the Dominican Arepa is very different. Rather than a small, hand-held pocket of meat or cheese, a Dominican arepa looks more like a dense cornbread.
Dominican arepa tastes like cornmeal and coconut milk, spiced with cinnamon, brown sugar, and raisins.
It is made with butter, cornmeal, milk, and coconut milk, and sometimes evaporated milk as well. This cake has no leavening, so it is made to be thick and rich and enjoyed with a cup of juice or coffee.
It is traditionally cooked in a Dutch oven with hot coals on top and bottom, cooking from all sides. The cake is then cut into thick slices and served warm.
In some regions, the Dominican arepa is called torta. There is also a savory version called arepa salada which is made with chicken broth and parsley.
Avena Caliente is a hot oat drink that tastes like rich oatmeal on the go. It is a very thick, decadent drink that calls for oats, milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Some recipes also add some chocolate or evaporated milk. It is essentially Dominican oatmeal, in drink form.
This dish is easy to make and pour into a travel mug, perfect for those who are short on time but still want some satisfying nourishment or for those looking for the perfect excuse to cuddle up on rainy days and warm up from the inside out.
Because it is so easy, affordable, and quick to make, it has become a very typical Dominican breakfast.
Morir Soñando is a creamy orange juice drink. The Dominican Republic is a producer of many fruits, and so it is common to find many different fruit juices offered or incorporated into Dominican desserts.
This delicious drink is similar to an orange julius and the name is very fitting. It translates to “to die dreaming.”
Morir Soñando is often served as a treat, a snack, or a drink with a light meal. It is made with orange juice (or sometimes other fruit juices) combined with evaporated milk. To keep the milk from curdling, the drink is kept ice cold at all times.
Café Santo Domingo
The Dominican Republic is a well-known coffee producer, ever since the Spanish brought coffee to the island in the 1700s. For hundreds of years, the Dominican Republic has been producing high-quality coffee beans that develop slowly and produce a richer flavor than other parts of the world.
While there are many different coffee brands coming out of the Dominican Republic, one of the most popular is Cafe Santo Domingo.
Cafe Santo Domingo is a medium-dark roast with hints of roasted nuts and dark chocolate. Dominicans enjoy their coffee with plenty of sugar.