Have you heard that the food in Cuba is DISGUSTING? Probably.
This is one of the biggest lies of what people have heard before coming to Cuba. The food here is GOOD!
Why do they say that?
Because here, it is really hard to find stuff in the markets. Sometimes, there is not even meat! So. If you think that you are a good chef, well, it is a good test to do. Try to cook with the minimum, say goodbye to you favorite condiments, to a good oven, to olive oil and then we will talk later.
The food here isn’t bad. It is just that it is very simple. There is not a “gastronomic” culture due to the history. And during the 90’s, the “special period” after the fall of URSS the main priority was to eat every day decent food. Not gastronomic one.
It is also true that the cuban culture uses a lot of oil. And that the bread is bad, but you know why… it is because the bakers don’t have all of the ingredients to make a good one! Also, a thing to know: The milk… don’t expect to have other than powder milk most of the time.
But… is it good?
YES! the Cuban food is GOOD! and also, even if sometimes there is too much oil, well at least majority of the products don’t come from big industries like in richest capitalist countries. So most of the vegetables and fruits are BIO.
You can find people selling oignons, pineapples, carrots, cucumbers, bananas, lettuce, tomatoes, depending on the seasons.
In summer, you can find a lot of avocados and mangos. In winter, a lot of papaya, pineapple ….
The meat also is very good. It is really hard to find red meat, as it is forbidden to kill cows (not because they are holly but just because the government is the only one in control of the selling of the cow meat). But pork and chicken actually taste like pork and chicken.
What is the typical meal?
Breakfast: Most of all, fruits, coffee (cuban coffee is very good!), bread with “dulce de guayaba” which is sweet guava paste. Ham and cheese are also common for the breakfast.
Lunch and dinner: The rice never miss, the beans neither. The meat is the accompaniment. It is made with, garlic, salt and oignon, cumin…
For the drinks: Water, juice or “refresco” that is all kind of cuban sodas. Instead of Coca Cola, you will find “TuKola” which is really good, maybe a little bit more sweet than the real one. Those refrescos are actually good.
And the prices?
The food is expensive. To go to a restaurant, you have to anticipate at least 6 CUC per person. And if you want to be tented by something really good, count 10 CUC. Yes it is cheaper than in your country maybe, but it you eat breakfast + lunch + dinner everyday, it can cost you a lot!
But don’t worry, as you saw previously, they are other alternatives.
How cubans do?
You know that Cuba is “socialist” country with communism bases, where everyone is supposed to be equal. The government helps Cubans with food, otherwise most of them would be in really bad conditions.
There is “Las Bodegas”, markets where cubans can buy basic things for little prices, very very very little prices. Moreover, each month, they have to go and buy a quantity of food per person, with a little card:
“La libreta de abastecimiento”.
Each person has the same quantity of rice, oil, flour, salt, bread, beans, eggs, sometimes meat, if you are a baby or are in a certain condition, you can have milk also.
This system helps a lot the families, but it isn’t enough to finish the month. “Ir a comprar los mandados” is a monthly task that every cuban knows.
These places are stopped in time. You will see it everywhere in Cuba. Now you know that it is a “bodega” only for cubans. You won’t wonder anymore “what is this place…. weird! hope that isn’t the supermarket!!”