Love that Latin Cuisine
Cuban and Puerto Rican flavors spice up the melting pot.
Cuban Cuisine continued...
"The heart and soul of Cuban cuisine is the "sofrito," a saute
of onions, green peppers, and garlic in olive oil," Lindgren says.
Cuban cuisine is also based on the flavor of citrus, according to Raul
Musibay, the third co-author of the Guys from Miami Cuban
"We use tangy orange juice with crushed garlic, black pepper, and
oregano to create mojo, a garlic/citrus marinade that adds a distinctive Cuban
flavor to many meats -- especially roasted pork, which is probably the most
popular meat for Cuban-Americans," says Musibay.
Everyone knows a Cuban party is not complete without roast pork, black
beans, white rice, fried plantains and yuca with oil and garlic, Lindgren
"You don't find many vegetable dishes in Cuban cuisine, at least not the
nonstarchy ones," adds Castillo. "Instead, the Cuban diet includes
plenty of root vegetables, such as yuca, boniato, and malanga."
And what's on the Cuban dessert cart?
"On an island where sugarcane is king, it's no surprise that Cubans love
sweet desserts," Lindgren says. "Cuban flan, arroz con leche, and warm
flaky pastries stuffed with fruit filling feature an abundance of
Tropical fruit flavors are popular in ice creams, milkshakes, and as filling
for cakes and pastries, Lindgren says: "Guava paste and guava jelly are big
favorites and find their way into just about everything."
Cuisine of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rican cuisine also reflects the influence of Spaniards, along with
that of Africans and Native Americans.
The original inhabitants of the island now known as Puerto Rico were the
Arawaks and Tainos. Their diet was thought to include corn, sweet potatoes,
cassava, tropical fruit, and seafood, according to the Encarta
Spanish explorers arrived in 1493, adding beef, pork, rice, wheat, and olive
oil to the island cuisine. When African slaves arrived on the island, they
contributed their cuisine as well.
The flavors from combinations of rice, beans, spices and different meats are
what make Puerto Rican cuisine unique, says Adelinna Fargas, chef and owner of
a Casa Adela, a Puerto Rican restaurant in Manhattan. Although Puerto Rican
food is often well seasoned, it also is not overly spicy.