Dominican Republic

¡Vamos a Comer!

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LaIndia Santos-Phillips is a student at Widener University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA Service Learning in Santiago, Dominican Republic.

Most Latin American countries have a national dish dedicated to their culture. The Dominican Republic is no exception. Here, you will find some of the most interesting combinations of food from Sancocho, a stew that you could literally make from any leftovers in your refrigerator, to Tres Golpes, a heavy dish made up of mashed plantains, FRIED eggs, FRIED cheese (yes, FRIED cheese), and FRIED salami. Dominican food has many African, European (Spanish) and Taíno Indian influences. However, the most popular dish, which also happens to be the national dish, is La Bandera. La Bandera literally translates to ” The Flag”. It is by far my favorite and most preferred dish in the Dominican Republic. “Well, what is in this delicious dish?” .I’m glad you asked.

Rice!

Rice is daily staple of all daily meals in the Dominican Republic and is primarily served during lunch time. There are many ways that rice can be prepared, but with La Bandera, it is usually prepared with arroz blanco or “white rice”. Once the rice is cooked, it is left to overcook a bit in order to achieve what many refer to as the best part, Concón. This is the rice at the bottom of the olla or “cooking pot” that is crunchy and retains all of the flavors.

Beans!

“Beans” or habichuelas can be cooked in a variety of ways as some will add potatoes and different spices. For the national dish, red beans are usually used. It is made as a stew with water and other elements for consistency. Many times, I have had it with peppers, onions, and other vegetables or ingredients. The beans are best served on top of the rice!

Meat!

La Bandera can be made with a variety of “meat” or carne, but the most common is “pollo”or chicken. The chicken is prepared like a stew known as pollo guisado or “stewed chicken”. With the stewed chicken comes a savory sauce that is spooned over the rice and chicken to create a firework of flavor. The chicken can be made with onions, tomatoes and other vegetables. However it is not limited to these flavors, there are a lot of ways to create the meat for La Bandera.

This dish has a lot of historical roots and influences. Here is the finished product with all of its savory goodness!

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The world awaits…discover it.

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