Cuisine in Cuba
PUBLISHED: NOVEMBER 24TH, 2018

Cuba has a rich cuisine that has evolved out of the island’s multi-layered, émigré history and new restaurants are opening all the time. Amerindians (Taino, Guanahatabey, and Siboney), Spanish colonials, especially from Galicia and the Canary Islands, French slave owners from Haiti, Chinese, Jewish, Arab and American migrants have all contributed.
 
Havana’s many paladares (private restaurants) offer the full breadth of the Cuban foodie experience, from the raw, domestic earthiness of classic Creole cooking to the finest sirloin with a shrimp and celery mousse. In the know locals seek out their favourite Café Cubano aficionados who brew their intense coffee with five stacked tablespoons of sugar added to one cup of water to create a darkly smoky-sweet pick me up.
 
Private restaurants were legalized in Cuba during the 1990s but prohibitive taxes and regulations, along with ignorance about entrepreneurism and a dearth of ingredients, meant that most were uninspired front-room affairs. However since Raúl Castro sanctioned small businesses chefs are now returning from overseas with capital to fund homegrown projects.
 
It is worth meeting up with these entrepreneurial restaurateurs and the small organic farmers who supply them, both in the city and further afield to understand the changes taking place. In all likelihood they will have a feast of freshly prepared ingredients waiting for you as well. The trick is knowing who to ask!

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The best things to do in Cuba and our travel tips

The Cuba Private Travel team has access to the very best in Cuban art, music, literature, dance, environment, history and architecture as well as Cuba's most outstanding beaches and accommodation. By listening to you, the independent traveller, we are able to create tailor-made travel itineraries for your vacation that take you to the heart of Cuba's culture, landscape and people. Cuba Private Travel's bespoke itineraries are fully U.S. Treasury Department compliant and include access to personal guides, experts, interpreters and, of course, a 24-hour concierge.
 
Delve deeper and be inspired about what to do in Cuba and discover some of the best travel advice for the island...

What to do in Havana

Where to go in Cuba

Travel tips

Cuban Cuisine

Architecture

Ballet

Vintage Classic Tours

Festivals in Cuba

Shopping in Cuba

Sport in Cuba

Safari in Cuba

Rumba

More travel ideas...

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