The beautiful island of Cuba may be famous for its cigars, its rum and its music, but it undoubtedly also gave the world a variety of delicious foods.
The authentic and traditional cuisine of Cuba is full of colors, flavors and aromas, traces of the fusion of various cultural heritages. And it is that it is born from a mixture of foods from the native Taíno tribes, from Spanish colonizers, slaves from West Africa and from the Canaries who also had their own mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, and African food. The Tainos contributed tubers such as yucca and taro. The Spanish colonizers brought sugar cane, citrus fruits, coffee, pork, and olive oil, among many other things. Canarias is responsible for garlic and citrus marinades and some veal dishes.
A small and dwindling Chinese population that first arrived as laborers in the 19th century also contributed to Cuban cuisine. The influence of China was significant as they were the first to bring rice. It was not until the late 19th century that rice began to be grown, as no one else knew how. It is one of the most important staples not only in Cuba, but in all Latin America. Rice was considered an "exotic" food for many years since it was not originally from Cuba or Spain.
Let's take a look… Cuban cuisine begins in its infancy with the aborigines. Ajiaco was the
typical stew of the Indians. He symbolizes the formation of the Cuban people. According to Don Fernando Ortiz "Cuba is an open mixture, a pot set on the fire of the tropics".
Cassava served as the basis for the production of casabe or bread from the land that the Indians ate accompanying the traditional ajiaco, which in addition to its main dressing, the hot pepper, was composed of jutía meat, different fish, poultry and viands. In the colonial period, the casabe was replaced by wheat bread that had to be imported from Spain.
The cuisine in Cuba is enriched with the arrival of the Spanish. These bring with them rice, poultry, salty meats, legumes, eggs, wheat flour, olive oil, wine, spices and condiments, sugar, and livestock. Along with this contribution come cookies, bread, and sweets.
With the slave trade came large waves of men and women who came from the African continent, and along with them came their season, guinea fowl, yellow taro, yams, bananas, and their stews.
Cuban cuisine was also influenced by other cultures such as the French —especially in its pastries—, the Yucatecan, the Haitian, the Jamaican and the North American.