Cuban cuisine is a blend of Spanish, African, and other Caribbean cuisines. Some Cuban recipes share spices and techniques with Spanish and African cooking, with some Caribbean influence in spice and flavor. This results in a blend of the several different cultural influences, A small but noteworthy Chinese influence can also be accounted for, mainly in the Havana area. There is also some Italian influence. During colonial times, Cuba was an important port for trade, and many Spaniards who lived there brought their culinary traditions with them.
Cuban National Dishes
Ropa vieja is one of the national dishes of Cuba, but is also popular in other areas or parts of the Caribbean such as Puerto Rico and Panama, as well as in Spain and the Philippines. It consists of shredded or pulled stewed beef with vegetables. In the Cuban cuisine of Miami, Florida, it is typical for ropa vieja to have a sweet undertone. While this is traditionally intended to be due to the use of fully ripe red bell peppers, it is not uncommon for recipes to include some quantity of sugar as a means to achieve the correct level of sweetness in the finished dish.
The Canary Islands in Spain have a version of the dish, where instead of rice on the side they put potato in the pot to cook with the beef and vegetables. It is a very traditional dish for the islands that many restaurants offer on the menu. The most common preparation in mainland Spain involves shredding the leftover meat from cocido and then pan-frying it with paprika and chickpeas.
Moros y cristianos
Moros y Cristianos (or simply moros, moro, congrí, or arroz moro) is a Cuban dish served at virtually every Cuban restaurant. It is the Cuban version of rice and beans, a dish found throughout the Caribbean, the US Southern States, and in Brazil.