Culture

20 Foods And Drinks That Take Caribbean Latinos Back To Their Childhood

For Caribbean people, there is something so intoxicating about our food. The food of our islands of origin make an Caribbean’s knees buckle and mouth water. Being in the American diaspora can look very different depending on where you are in relation to the Caribbean. South Florida and New York are filled with grocery stores, bodegas and shops carrying all of the food products that make Caribbean food what it is.

For those Caribbean descendants living in other parts of the U.S., finding your Goya products can be tricky. Some times it is just easier to learn the recipe and make things like sofrito yourself. Regardless, there is just something about the food that nourishes the body and soul.

Mofongo is one dish that every Puerto Rican will swear to be the best dish in the Caribbean.

CREDIT: @picandord / Instagram

Honestly, plantains of any variety will make an islander physically drool. For mofongo, green plantains are fried and smashed in a pillón with some variety of meat or seafood. It tastes better when you eat it straight from the wooden pillón.

Pasteles, i.e. more plantains.

CREDIT: @CookingChannel / Twitter

While mainland Latino countries use masa for their tamales, Puerto Ricans and the Dominicans use plátanos verdes y calabazas along with a pound of sofrito. They’re wrapped in banana leaves instead of corn husks but are equally as cherished around the holidays.

Obviously coquito is a major staple around the holidays.

CREDIT: @lala / Twitter

Speaking of holidays, it ain’t one until an abuelita or two brings in a gallon of coquito, Puerto Rico’s version of eggnog. You know how, if you’re Mexican, seeing holiday garland makes you need champurrado? Es lo mismo con coquito for Puerto Ricans. Starbucks can’t replicate that no matter how hard they try.

Cafecito isn’t cafecito if it’s anything but Café Bustelo.

CREDIT: @tcclockworth / Twitter

Cubans and Puerto Ricans alike will not submit to any other type of caffeine. It’s beneath us. Except Cafe La Llave if you’re in a pinch.

Even this pic of pastelitos de guayaba will make any islander drool on their phones.

CREDIT: @FeelingEmulsify / Twitter

When someone shows up to your fiesta carrying a cardboard box, there is nothing more precious you could hope for than some fresh Cuban pastelitos. Puff pastry, sweet cream cheese and guava make the world go round.

As will a box of pan de bono.

CREDIT: @5HCcSogno / Twitter

Piping hot pan de bono is like bringing lumps of gold to dinner. The tapioca based cheesy bread makes America’s grilled cheese look like trash.

Aborrajados compete hard for the center stage.

CREDIT: @elsiglocomve / Twitter

To be fair, these originate from Colombia, but they include plantain as a base so therefore, I’m salivating. If there is a banana involved, the tropical isla in me is dancing.

No Caribbean food list is complete without a classic Cubano.

CREDIT: @VisitTampaBay / Twitter

If you grew up in a Cuban household, you know the power this unassuming sandwich. The pork, mustard, pickles and buttered Cuban bread pressed on a hot griddle is everything your weekends were made of.

Did I already mention plantains?

CREDIT: @ELMADGOOD / Twitter

Well, you don’t have to go boiling and mashing and prepping plantains for hours on end (see: pasteles) to make an islander drool. Just cut up a peeled green plantain, fry, press and fry again, baby.

Bacalao con mojo? That’s a double winner.

CREDIT: @bar44penarth / Twitter

We’re islanders. Fish is going to happen and a lot of lime juice is going to happen on top of that. Plus, we always have garlic breath because it is a staple in most of our foods. Bring on the mojo.

Sofrito is the base for everything holy about Caribbean food.

CREDIT: @SoxyStrawberry / Twitter

It takes a while to make but it is so worth the hard work you have to put in. It is the base of so many different foods and adds a very delicious and culturally important taste to their dishes.

Picadillo was for dinner almost every night.

CREDIT: @TheKitchenista / Twitter

You wouldn’t going to eat it without half a jar of banana peppers on top. Plus, it’s a vehicle for rice, which is just too obvious a salivary trigger to even list here.

Pero, let’s talk about yucca, fam.

CREDIT: @cedellamarley / Twitter

I grew up on this when I lived in Miami, but since jetting off further into the diaspora, it’s hard to come by. Yucca fries are la casada perfecta of my identity as Latina-American. It’s the food I would choose to eat forever if someone made me.

The empanadas are also something to admire.

CREDIT: @Rodriguez_Rotisserie_chick / Instagram

I don’t even know what these are called, but I know I grew up on them at every extended family gathering. Folks would divide and conquer their local panaderías and we would feast.

Mashed Yucca is nothing to snuff at.

CREDIT: “Mashed Yuca with Mojo” Digital Image. Eating Well. 10 November 2018.

While my assimilated American self is here for yucca fries, the jóven in me longs for mashed yucca at the Thanksgiving table. All that olive oil and garlic is the key to a happy (albeit single) life.

Croquetas are life-changing.

CREDIT: @Croquetilla25 / Twitter

The only way I know how to eat these is a dozen at a time fighting to the death against my cousins and brothers to stuff my face to the max. It’s a struggle because I still do that even though there is zero competition and a very full gordita belly para cuidar.

Ropa Vieja is that old-school love.

CREDIT: @CocoandAsh / Twitter

An actual national dish of Cuba and honorary dish of Puerto Rico. The shredded beef is in a sofrito sauce that is sweeter than most other dishes and it’s smell will attract islanders like a moth to a flame.

Flan de coco, man.

CREDIT: @505Nomad / Twitter

As far as I know, every other one of my Boricua family members cannot physically do dairy (but they do it anyway to the horror of anyone having to breathe the same air). Maybe that’s why our flan is made from coconut milk. Maybe it’s because we’re from a tropical paradise of coconut trees. Who can say which came first?

And of course, arroz con leche.

CREDIT: @anime_freak2004 / Twitter

This dish came from our invading nation of Spain, but Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic make it with coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. Plus, the raisins are soaked in good Puerto Rican rum.

You don’t have to go to the mother island to make a Puerto Rican, Dominican or Cuban salivate though.

CREDIT: @jess_cahhh / Twitter

Whip out a Kern’s Nectar of any variety and we’ll be talking you up and down until we can have a sip of that tropics-infused sugar water. After all, all this food makes us salivate for home and sometimes that feeling of nostalgia (on or off brand) is all we need to hit the spot.


READ: Check Out These Croqueta Recipes If You Need Some Good Cuban Comfort Food

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Dominican Republic Launches #TheRealDR to Combat Negative Press

Things That Matter

Dominican Republic Launches #TheRealDR to Combat Negative Press

@GoDemRep / Twitter

After a year of the negative press focused on the suspicious American deaths that occurred in the Dominican Republic earlier this year, the country is launching an integrated marketing campaign aimed to rebuild tourists’ trust in the country. The Dominican Republic had confirmed that the autopsies and toxicology reports were “consistent with natural causes.” The  FBI opened its own investigation into the deaths because of the number of American deaths and concluded that they were “consistent with the findings of local authorities,” according to a statement from the Office of Consular Affairs of the State Department, reported by The Hill. Many suspected methanol poisoning from alcohol in the minibar, but the FBI ruled it out and found the American deaths were from natural causes.

Now, the country is seeking to reclaim its reputation, and it’s looking at Canada.

Canada is the Dominican Republic’s second most important international market after the United States.

Credit: @GoDomRep / Twitter

Cosette Garcia, director of the Dominican Republic’s Tourist Office in Montreal, Canada, told Travel Pulse that Canada’s importance to the Dominican Republic is because it’s a “tour operator” market. “That is to say that almost 100 percent of Canadians who go to the Dominican Republic are tourists,” Garcia says. “For us, this market is therefore of paramount importance.” Basically, the Dominicans that have moved to the United States will continue to return to the island to visit family. Those Dominican-American’s are also far less likely to stay at expensive resorts and spend as much money. It’s a family trip, not a Caribbean vacation like it would be for Canadians.

The country’s Ministry of Tourism office will be promoting its clear ocean waters and luxurious resorts on all platforms.

Credit: @GoDomRep / Twitter

The office has arranged for Canada’s top travel news outlets to travel to Punta Cana, in the hopes that it will revitalize tourism from Canadians this winter. Compared to last year, the country lost 100,000 visitors between January and September of this year. Sensational media reports discredited the Dominican Republic’s investigations into the deaths, fanned by confused and grieving family members calling for the media to investigate. One couple was found dead in their hotel room, and both were determined to have died of respiratory failure. Another grieving family member called on Senator Menendez (NJ) to demand justice for his brother, Joseph E. Allen III. All the while, Dominicans were taking to social media to make sure people stopped trying to cancel the Dominican Republic.

“These are unfortunately sad events, but these are things that happen in every normal tourist destination that receives more than seven million tourists each year,” Garcia told the outlet. “It’s normal to have natural death statistics.”

Officials maintained that the Dominican Republic was “no less safe than it was before,” according to a CNN report.

Credit: @GoDomRep / Twitter

“In the last five years, over 30 million tourists have visited the Dominican Republic, but this is the first time the international media report such an alarming situation,” Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia responded. “These are isolated incidents and the Dominican Republic is a safe destination.” The tourism office is now promoting videos of “real tourists” who are talking about how great their vacation to the island has been.

Even though the FBI has corroborated the Dominican Republic’s credibility, the public still needs some winning over.

Credit: @SoonerManiac / Twitter

The public wants to hear about the minibars, and the country is hoping to quell some irrational fears. “The FBI has debunked all of the false rumors put out by the mainstream media and I’m thankful to be here with companies combatting the issues hurting this destination,” tweeted journalist Paul Smith of Travel SmithsMainstream media created a tourism crisis for the country, and now, the Dominican Republic is marketing both toward tourists and mainstream media alike with a new campaign.

Now, the Dominican Republic is launching its own hashtag campaign: #TheRealDR. 

Credit: @GoDemRep / Twitter

It’s tough because, no matter what Dominican Republic officials said, the families of the deceased didn’t trust it, and that was communicated to the rest of the world. Critics are already using the hashtag to tweet, “#TheRealDR So you’ll see the REAL Dominican Republic by staying at an all-inclusive resort where the staff hates you so much they put poison in the booze and murder you. Great ad, DR.”

“This campaign offers a level of transparency and authenticity like nothing we have ever done before,” Magaly Toribio, the Marketing Advisor for the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, told Dominican Today. “We are looking forward to sharing the beauty and culture of our country through the words and first-person experiences of our tourists.”

READ: New Safety Measures In The Dominican Republic Following American Deaths

The Internet Wants To Know How A Prisoner Got A Popeyes Sandwich And Posted It To His IG Story

Culture

The Internet Wants To Know How A Prisoner Got A Popeyes Sandwich And Posted It To His IG Story

@eugene3005 / Twitter

Context is often everything when it comes to social media, but users have so many questions about how a Popeyes chicken sandwich landed behind bars into the hands of a “lucky” prisoner. The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich has taken the nation by storm, selling out at nearly every Popeyes. Some have made half a dozen visits to the fried chicken chain before being able to sample the elusive sandwich. This is the collective mood Twitter user FBG Eugene (@Eugne3005) was in when he was looking through his Instagram stories. Then, he sees his friend, Frank Gutta, post himself eating a Popeyes sandwich from his cot in jail, and he’s about had it. “N***** in jail ate the Popeyes chicken sandwich before me IM SICK,” Gutta tweets in joking anger, along with the visual proof.

Now, another collective meltdown over this sandwich is underway as people try to understand how Gutta even got the sandwich delivered to his prison cell, or posted it to social media, for that matter.

Before Frank Gutta sinks his teeth into the sandwich, he poses for a quick photo.

CREDIT: @EUGENE3005 / TWITTER

“Trying to see what all the hype bout,” Frank Gutta captions the photo on his Instagram story. What’s more, it seems like Gutta has a second sandwich sitting beside him. “I’m dead af,” comments one Twitter user. Someone else tries to comfort Gutta’s friend, Eugene, who presumably is not in jail, saying “don’t get your spirits crushed homie! the man’s eating a soggy sandwich meaning that ain’t no regular popeyes chicken sandwich right there is a Popeyes Booty chicken sandwich or a Popeyes C****** chicken sandwich! either way you still have a chance for the original!”

Others wondered out loud if that cot is a prison cot or a dorm cot. “This look like some college freshman dorms. Whachu mean?” asks @KhariSafari. “Jail/college same thing” replies @___Yashiro. Khari Safari agrees, “except you owe more money after one of them.”

Gutta posts one more photo to his story to anonymously credit his “bae.”

CREDIT: @EUGENE3005 / TWITTER

Looks like Gutta is on to his second sandwich, and remembers to offer a “thanks bae.” More outrage. “He didn’t even tag or say shorty’s name 😅He belongs to the streets,” tweets one Carmen (@3ntr0_P). What lengths did “bae” go to to ensure Gutta got his chicken sandwich? First, she had to overcome the hurdle that every other sandwich-seeking-American has to go through to just obtain the sold-out sandwich. Then… how did she get it in? “Wait… don’t that mean she put it in her cooc- nvm,” asked Sweet Don (@itsbbydon).

Some people couldn’t accept that the receiver of the holy fried chicken sandwich could be so cruel. “Or maybe she’s a guard and he’s tryna protect her job and his connection to the outside world,” offers Ashley Wilson (@anwxo). It’s a far more pragmatic explanation than it is a romantic one, but that explanation “makes a lot of sense… it’s all adding up” for Carmen. 

The conspiracy theories are in: “bruh gotta be busting down a female guard.”

Credit: @6e_Drt / Twitter

Light Yagami’s (@YvngLxnk) theory that “bruh gotta be busting down a female guard” is the most liked opinion on the matter. “They allow workers to bring in food at a prison, it just has to either be sealed or able to be opened to get checked for drugs/cellphones & other stuff. We damn sure didn’t eat chow hall food,” offered @TheNappyAfreaux based off her personal experience.

Humble-braggers are now flocking to the thread to glorify their victory.

CREDIT: @NEWROUGESTON / Twitter

“I just got my 1st and 2nd taste of glory yesterday after 5 unsuccessful tries over the past few months. Added ketchup & cheese on them muff****kas,” tweeted The Wasted Talent (@NewRougeSton). Others are just dropping photos of the coveted sandwich in the thread with no caption and no likes. 

With nearly 64k likes and 22k retweets at the time of publication, the Internet is also wondering how Gutta was able to post the cultural phenomenon to social media from his cot. “Not only that … bro posted on his IG story,” tweets El Padrino (@ImGooooood). Other users are like “F*** it, he’s already in jail.” “People in jail still deserve some level of humanity. Glad bro got to try something that’s still next to impossible to get lol,” a @KhaptainKhan tweeted.

READ: A Fight Turned Fatal After Two Men Got Into An Argument Over A Popeyes Chicken Sandwich