A local taste of Cuba

Ashley Martinez // Edge Editor
Ashley Martinez // Edge Editor

Though Cuba is located about 90 miles away, living in the heart of Miami means you’re never more than a few blocks from great Cuban food. From the savory meat dishes to the sweet flan, Miami is a city built on arroz y frijoles and fueled by cafe cubano. Authentic cuisine is full of rich and comforting flavors that together create its own sazon.

With so many dishes to try, there are a few must-haves that are essential to the true Cuban cuisine experience. Here are the top 10 Cuban foods to try before leaving Miami.

  • Cuban coffee – This term encompasses anything from a cortadito – Cuban espresso with milk–  to cafe con leche, which is best served for breakfast with a side of toast or tostada.
  • Cuban sandwich – The signature lunch made of ham, pork, mustard and pickles served on Cuban bread toasted to perfection.
  • Pan con Lechon – A sandwich of crisp Cuban bread, melt-in-your-mouth pork, onions and mojo.
  • Ropa Vieja – Pulled beef tossed in a tomato sauce. The dish translates to “old clothes” because the meat is shredded and looks like rags.
  • Bistec Empanizado – This dish usually comes in one size: huge. Portion control is not an option here because this breaded steak dish is served up family-style with plenty of side dishes.
  • Croquetas – Lightly breaded food rolls that can be made with ham, chicken or fish, making them the perfect finger foods.
  • Pastelitos and Bocaditos – Light pastries and sandwiches usually served at every kind of family gathering from communions to quinceaneras. Pastelitos come in flavors like meat, cheese and guayaba and bocaditos can be made with a ham spread or with ham, swiss cheese and a pickle.
  • Frita – Think Cuban hamburger, but instead of all beef, chorizo is thrown into the mix to spice things up. Finish it off by topping it with shoestring potato sticks.
  • Arroz con pollo – Every abuela has her own recipe for this comforting staple. Yellow rice, chicken and spices combine to make a no-frills, satisfying meal.
  • Flan – This rich custard is glazed with a sweet caramel sauce and is the quintessential dessert.