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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.