8 Delicious Dishes That Are Worth a Trip to Cuba For

Market in Havana | © Guillaume Baviere / Flickr
Market in Havana | © Guillaume Baviere / Flickr
Photo of Jack Guy
2 November 2017

For years, visitors to Cuba were disappointed by the food on offer, because there were terrible shortages of ingredients. These days, innovative restaurants are rediscovering some of the classic Cuban dishes and serving them to hungry tourists. Here are some of the best dishes to seek out.

Ropa vieja | © stu_spivack / flickr

Ropa Vieja

This iconic dish made its way to Cuba from the Canary Islands when the Spanish colonisers came over. It’s shredded beef in a pepper and tomato sauce, but more delicious than its simple ingredients would have you believe.

Cuban Sandwich

The classic Cuban sandwich can be found everywhere across the island. It has Swiss cheese, ham, dill pickles and roasted pork inside a grilled white roll. The best ones are compressed under the grill to give a more interesting texture and make the sandwich easier to eat.

Cuban sandwich | © Joel Sowers / flickr

Chicken Fricassee

When you’re really in need of a good feed, order this hearty chicken stew. You can’t fail to be satisfied by the deliciously seasoned meat and a stew of olives, capers and raisins.

Fish With Escabeche Sauce

Escabeche is found in various forms all across Latin America, but the Cuban version tends to be fairly simple. Garlic, onion and bell pepper are the main ingredients, along with some bay leaves for the final touch.

Pernil Asado Con Mojo

Cubans eat a lot of pork, mainly because there are restrictions on the sale of beef. This dish is pork shoulder in a citrus marinade, and it makes for a great Sunday meal.

Lechon Asado

Another pork dish, and perhaps one of the most visually arresting, lechon is a whole suckling pig flavoured with orange and garlic, roasted whole in a barbecue covered with banana leaves. It’s a popular dish for celebrations, and you will soon find out why.

Lechon asado | © Guillaume Baviere / Flickr

Vaca Frita

Literally ‘fried cow‘, this dish is slightly more complicated than the translation implies. Skirt steak is marinated in red vinegar with parsley, coriander, oregano, garlic and cinnamon, then braised until it’s tender.


Everyone loves ribs, and these baby back ribs come with a Cuban twist. Instead of the barbecue sauce that you might be expecting, they come marinated in orange juice, lime juice, garlic, oregano and olive oil.

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