Talk:Cuban cuisine

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Cuban food did not start with the arrival of the Spanish!!!![edit]

So...the native Taino people of Cuba did not eat? It is a great mistake to repeat one time, and another, that Cuban cuisine is a mix of "Spanish and African" food, because is not true to history, Cuban ancient recipes and ingredients already existed when the first European settlers arrived. The Spanish could not bring the food they were used to from Spain, they had to adapt, and survive, with plates elaborated from native recipes and local species. For example; ajiaco (a soup or stew prepared with different types of meat and root vegetable) is such a Cuban tradicional food, and yet no mentioned here, also Casabe (bread made with Yuca starch), not to mention all kinds of dishes based on local fruit, like Guava, or animals like iguanas.

I believe the entire article has to be shorten (is too longgggggg!) and historically re-organized for a better understanding of the evolution of food, from the ancient Taino people, to the last years of colonization in the XIX century, when Cuban cuisine evolved to be a new phenomena, different from Spain and Africa. Lezumbalaberenjena (talk) 20:10, 9 August 2013 (UTC)


For the love of God, somebody please remove the picture of the yellow rice topped with black beans. This is an abomination of Cuban food, a desecration of all that is Right and Just in the gastronomy of my mother country. This is simply not done. EVER. Between that, the Dexterish picture of the slaughtered pig below, and all the misinformation on this page, I can only think that the author has passive-aggressive hostilities toward Cuban food. Maybe he/she ate a bad toston? Or is wreaking vengeance at never having perfected a sofrito? Whatever it is, please, somebody, put this page out of its misery. Love, Una Cubana Hambriente. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Usertubes90 (talkcontribs) 16:34, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

This article was awful when I found it, and is awful still. I removed the blatant grammatical errors and wikified, but someone with more knowledge of the subject and more time should have a look at it.--Dave1898 11:58, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm going to make this article a pet project of mine. I hope to have time soon. Any suggestions would be appreciated. --Mcmachete 22:45, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

Okay - so I'll use this space to put together a working outline (See below). If you have anything to add or change, please do so. --Mcmachete 08:54, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Working Outline[edit]

  1. Origins
  2. Ingredients
    1. Spices
    2. Produce
    3. Meats
  3. Meal Structure
  4. Dishes
    1. Plated dishes
    2. Quick food and snacks
    3. Desserts
    4. Drinks
  5. External Links

Current Cuban food vs. Cuban American food[edit]

I hate to jump right in here up top but i think this is a very high priority that everyone know this. It is illegal for Cubans in Cuba to consume beef. It's actually a jail term to kill a cow. This is not based on rumor, it's a well known fact (I visited in 2008). I noticed lots of Cuban-American influence in this article. We need to be very sensitive to the reality of differences between Cuban-American (often times more similar to traditional cuban cuisine) and the reality of today's Cuba. Otherwise, I enjoyed this article and I look forward to seeing it develop.--Paolorausch (talk) 22:41, 11 April 2009 (UTC)


Just wanted to second that motion to include more about the current food situation in Cuba. The Rationing_in_Cuba page has good info that seems important to include here; e.g. how do people prepare food now given the rationing system? Vajrapoppy (talk)

--- —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vajrapoppy (talkcontribs) 05:30, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Sounds good, I will help, and I can do field research in Tampa. It would be nice to include more dishes, but not to the extent that we bloat the article. A mention of Spanish imports, paella for example, would be appropriate, but unique dishes should get more treatment. Another plate of bollitos, por favor. Dominick (TALK) 13:01, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

I was planning on mentioning imports - paella and churros in particular - within their respective sections, but just have a note on their on their origin. --Mcmachete 16:53, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
Maybe in Miami asking for a plate of "bollitos" is fine, but don't ever say that in Cuba, specially not in Havana! You'll possibly get a black eye, if your waitress has no sense of humour ;). Papaya is equally unadvised. Both refer to the same part of feminine anatomy... use "pan de leche" or just "pan" instead of bollitos, and papaya is said fruta bomba. -- EmirCalabuch 12:48, 22 August 2006 (UTC)


The subsection on Cuban Sandwiches should be moved to the American food article. Hoagies are not mentioned in the Italian food page, and the Indian food page does not have a section on Jamaican curry (which is directly derived from Indian immigrants to the Caribbean)! Other foods to consider including: Devil Crabs, and yellow rice with black beans--both American recreations of traditional Cuban dishes. (talk) 05:06, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

I replied more extensively in the "Yellow Rice and Black Beans" section below, but let me reply here as well. Though Cuban sandwiches only became an institution in Florida, they seem to have appeared at about the same time in Cuba (where they were / are known as "mixtos"), so it should stay here. Deviled crabs (the croquettas de jaiba version) appeared in Tampa in the 1920s, so I agree that they don't belong in this article if they're mentioned. And as described sociologically at the bottom of this talk page, yellow rice w/ black beans are a Cuban dish that came over from a much earlier generation of Cuban immigrants to the US. It's Cuban cuisine in a time capsule, basically. Zeng8r (talk) 11:32, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Stuff to add?[edit]

Cuban food is not served the way the article states "all at the same time" - the bread always comes before the meal, and tropical fruits are never eaten with the meat and moros. Fruits are incorporated into the dessert, into the sauces (only recently), or as a snack between meals. Also, it should be mentioned the particular Cuban cooking device, the Caja China (Chinese Box)- an aluminum-lined box in which an entire pig is roasted. Other meats include vaca frita- fried cow. Cuban desserts also tend to be very sweet. Flan, arroz con leche, natilla (pudding)are typical. A typical Cuban snack is the pastelito, often filled with either cream cheese, guava, or meat. A croqueta is a type of small appetizer- again, often served before the main course. A croqueta is a ham, cheese or chicken paste that is rolled, breaded, and fried.

Edits made[edit]

Hi, I took some time and edited the article, I hope its layout is more acceptable now, although I agree it still needs work done. Sources are:

  • Villapol, Nitza: Cocina Cubana, 3ed., ISBN 959-05-0042-0, Editorial Cientifico-Técnica, Habana, 1992.
  • Reyes Gavilán y Maen, Maria Antonieta: Delicias de la mesa. Manual de Cocina y Reposteria, 12ed., Ediciones Cultural S.A., La Habana, 1952.

I read this article (8/06) after a wonderful night out at a cuban restaurant in philadelphia, and found the article very readable, with about the right level of information. I understand that you folks want it to be comprehensive and correct, but it currently has a great "feel" - fun and fact-filled - that I hope will not be lost. Made me want to read and eat more. Cherrywood.


Shouldn't this be at Cuisine of Cuba or Cuban cuisine ? -- Beardo 18:54, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

Common Ground With Mexican Cuisine[edit]

I disagree with the statement "Cuban cuisine has almost nothing in common with Mexican cuisine." While it certainly has very little in common with restaurant Mexican food (which itself usually consists of Sonora-style appetizers served as meals), there is actually a lot of common ground between regional cuisines from both countries. As for raw ingredients, onion, lettuce, tomato, avocado, potato, rice, beans, garlic, pork, mango, and guava are consumed regularly by both cultures. Plantain and cassava are also eaten in both Cuba and Mexico, but this is admittedly more of a regionalism within Mexico, as it seems more restricted to South Mexico and the Caribbean coastal regions (Veracruz, Yucatan). Black beans are common to both countries as well, although once again, this is usually more restricted within Mexico (the south and the eastern/Caribbean coast). As if that is not enough, there are a number of common dishes as well (although regional variations occur between and within each country). Empanadas, tamales, arroz con pollo, arroz con leche, picadillo, platano frito (fried plantains), and yuca frita (fried cassava) are just a few of the dishes that are found in both Mexico and Cuba (and perhaps most of Latin America). Both countries boast a number of roasted meat dishes (especially chicken and pork), and the Cuban ropa vieja is virtually identical to the Mexican bistec picado (though the texture of meat is very different). While Mexican and Cuban cuisine are far from identical, they are not as far apart as some think. 17:24, 2 December 2007 (UTC)James Lopez

first image on the page[edit]

Hi everyone... the image that is at the top of this page is a bit... graphic. It seems a little bit unfair to represent Cuban cuisine with the gruesome procedure of butchering a pig. Is there another image we can use at the top of the page and move this one down a bit? ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 03:28, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

This image has received complaints via email that it is offensive. - cohesion 17:44, 5 September 2008 (UTC)
This is in commons now Image:Cuban dinner plate.jpg - cohesion 17:48, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

I agree - it's a bit over the top for the lead photo on a food page. Maybe replace the pig with a nice plate of frijoles negros? Just a suggestion... Zeng8r (talk) 20:44, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

I've moved it down to the bottom of the page and replaced it with Image:Cuban dinner plate.jpg, per Cohesion's suggestion. ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 04:30, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Hey, I'm the one who suggested the frijoles! :-) Zeng8r (talk) 16:49, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Whatever the case, the photo showing jerk chicken and yellow rice with green stuff in it that looks like it came from a box is not Cuban cuisine, regardless of the file name. The photo of the ropa vieja plate is. It was taken at a famous Cuban restaurant in Miami. - Marc Averette (talk) 16:41, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

The recent and current photos are both examples of Cuban cuisine, imo, just different styles. Actually, the current one shows food that would be commonly served in Cuban restaurants in Miami or Tampa. Perhaps the former photo was more authentically Cuban-Cuban, if you know what I mean? Whatever; I don't know enough to argue the point, and besides, this discussion is making me hungry. Zeng8r (talk) 19:39, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

No. Jerk chicken is not Cuban food, it's Jamaican. The file is misnamed and I'm requesting to have the name changed on the commons. - Marc Averette (talk) 20:32, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

You may be right. But unless you have taste-o-vision internet service, there's no way to tell for sure if that's Jamaican jerk chicken or Cuban mojo chicken or something else altogether. Zeng8r (talk) 23:01, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't need "taste-o-vision". The photo description clearly states "jerk chicken", which is about as Cuban as Foie gras. - Marc Averette (talk) 18:14, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

I just started reading the article and I've gotten as far as the first image with the yellow rice with black beans. I'm Cuban, I live in Miami and my family has owned Cuban restaurants for most of my life and I'll tell you that Cubans do not put black beans on yellow rice. I don't care if the picture was taken at Versailles or La Carreta in Miami, but it doesn't accurately represent Cuban food. Cubans eat "Arroz con frijoles" which is black bean soup and white rice. Can we get another picture to replace this one? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:27, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

In Tampa, yellow rice w/ black beans in very commonly served in Cuban restaurants. In fact, I had it for lunch today. (Seriously.) It'd be nice to know how it's done in Cuba, but it's inaccurate to say that the photo is inaccurate, imo. Zeng8r (talk) 01:33, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Sopa de frijoles negros[edit]

I have never heard this term used in Cuba to apply to a dish served to accompany rice and a main course. Sopa is soup and would be served separately. Is this the term used in the US ?

The normal term used in Cuba for this is "potaje de frijoles negros". Another user states that potaje always includes potatoes as a main ingredient. Again - is that a US usage ? As it isn't in Cuba, and doesn't fit the definition in - "El Potaje es un plato a base de verduras y legumbres cocidas en abundante agua." or in the Oxford dictionary - "vegetable stew/soup (gen with pulses)" -- Beardo (talk) 19:49, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

I agree that "Sopa de frijoles negros" is incorrect. Likewise, I consider "potaje de frijoles negros" to be incorrect. I have never heard anyone refer to them as anything other than "frijoles negros" including family, friends, and neighbors from Cuba as well as numerous restaurant menus over the years. I've checked a Cuban cookbook (A Taste of Old Cuba by Maria Josefa Lluria de O'Higgins) which was written by a woman who grew up in Cuba and it likewise refers to the dish as just "frijoles negros". I've edited the article accordingly. AtxApril (talk) 03:25, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

There's an anonymous user (IP that seems to think it is somehow inappropriate for a citation for "frijoles negros" to actually point to a definition for frijoles negros. This user's sole contribution to Wikipedia seems to be one of removing or reversing others' edits. In many cases, this user is removing links and references alleging them to be linkspam when those links are actually to sites that are non-commercial and informative in nature. If you are this user, please discuss your issues here on the talk page rather than repeatedly changing a legitimate reference to an incorrect one. AtxApril (talk) 03:10, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Both of those references are perfectly legitimate and appropriate, so I put them both in there. Hopefully this ends the silly reverts before the 3 revert rule comes into play. Zeng8r (talk) 15:01, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Zeng8r, thanks for stepping in. However, don't count on this anonymous user stopping their inappropriate removal of references. This user (using a series of 74.248.x.x IP addresses) has a long history (at least as far back as Oct 2008, if not further) of removing legitimate references from articles (mostly by using an overly-broad definition of spam links). Several times in the past, the user has been warned for edit warring, has blanked any negative comments on his talk page, and at least once has been blocked from editing. In general, this user just doesn't seem to play well with others and doesn't seem to believe in going to an article's talk page to discuss his edits.
The bottom line is that one reference is sufficient, it's absolutely unnecessary to continue trying to find ways to work the other site in if there's an existing reference which works just fine. There's no reason to continue adding a link to the same site over and over, unless Atx happens to own the site he keeps trying to add (looking more and more like that with every edit). (talk) 06:31, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Thanks for checking in on the talk page, but your actions here are inappropriate. First of all, two dishes are mentioned in that sentence, so two references are needed. But that's the least serious issue here. Throwing out conflict of interest accusations with absolutely no basis in fact is serious, as it runs up against both the "assume good faith" guideline and the "no personal attacks" policy. The updated citation you removed doesn't even link to the same website as the previous one, so your insinuations aren't logical. Please play nice, and don't assume that finally discussing your edits on the talk page confers free license to weaken the article. Zeng8r (talk) 19:46, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

In any case, I do have a couple of questions for you about the changes you made in the refs. First, is there any reason the ref for "Moros y Cristianos" needs to be at the end of the sentence, or could it be moved to the middle of the sentence immediately after the phrase "Moros y Cristianos"? Second, why do you feel that the frijoles negros recipe is a better ref than the definition that was previously there? Thanks. AtxApril (talk) 00:38, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

You're right; the Moros and Christianos citation is slightly misplaced. And I thought the original ref link to frijoles negros was short on info while the recipe does a better job describing the dish. It's linked on the previously cited page. Zeng8r (talk) 01:39, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, I am also Cuban. And there is NO way a real Cuban dish contain black beans over yellow rice. Black beans NEED to be served with white rice. The image was so shocking that I immediately entered here to put a note, although now I see someone else did. There must be dozens of photos in Google who represents this dish. I don't care if this aberration is served in any restaurant in Tampa or anywhere else. This is NOT a Cuban dish. Josepages web (talk) 00:46, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

My Cuban abuela would disagree. Zeng8r (talk) 01:13, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

As a Cuban and as a chef I can tell you that Black Beans and Yellow Rice are a sacriledge to old traditional Cubans. Yellow rice traditionally gets its flavor from saffron a very delicate and expensive spice. Putting black beans over it sort of defeats the purpose. Yes I know, many people use "BIJOL" to color yellow rice, but it is refered to as the " poor man's" saffron. Yellow rice can also be additionally flavored with a bit of chicken broth for extra flavor as well as finely chopped onions and if you throw in some wine, chicken sauteed with garlic, peas and pimienos morrones, you have an "Arroz con Pollo" Now I'm getting hungry and must raid my refrigerator for some left over "lechon" BYE!!! Magicflute1950 (talk) 06:21, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Come to think of it my grandmother never made yellow rice either. As a kid I always wondered why the rice with the black beans & rice at her house on Sunday wasn't yellow like the restaurants had. Maybe the restaurants just do it to attract people for aesthetic reasons who don't know any better? Also, the restaurants I've been to all ask when you order "white or yellow"? I usually order yellow just to get something a bit different from what I always have when I eat at home or grandma's house. Next time I go out and get ropa vieja I'll be sure to order white and bring my camera. White may be the more traditional plate, but having a bit of yellow coloring in the rice hardly negates it as being Cuban food. - Marc Averette (talk) 14:53, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Yellow Rice and Black Beans[edit]

I removed the picture of yellow rice and black beans. Just to emphasize what has been said here numerous times: there is absolutely no Cuban household, restaurant, or individual that would ever make this travesty of a dish. It does not exist on the island. Keeping it in this page is an insult to native Cubans. Worse yet, it represents an indifference to misinformation, and a bias and preference for Cuban-AMERICAN values and traditions.

This is a very serious lapse: over the years, the prevalence of yellow rice and black beans has become a joke within the community of recently arrived Cuban immigrants. For recent Cuban immigrants, this dish represents how fundamentally different the existing Cuban American community is from people who grew up, and spend most of their adult lives, on the island--where yellow rice is reserved specifically and exclusively for Paellas. This culinary tradition may seem insignificant to Wiki editors and mods, but it does exist, and should be noted! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:55, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

The differences in cuisine and culture are mainly due to the fact that Cubans came to Florida in two main waves over a half century apart. The early arrivals immigrated during the wars of independence in the late 1800s and brought over their culture as it was at the time, when Cuba was still a Spanish colony. They were predominantly working class, with a significant Afro-Cuban component. A small but steady influx into Florida continued after Cuban independence, but the numbers paled in comparison to the second huge influx during and after the rise of Castro. These came in several surges, each slightly different socioeconomically. Of course, they also brought their culture with them, but it was a little different - things had changed on the island during all that intervening time. Mainly, there was less Spanish influence since Cuba had been independent for 60+ years.
So defining true "Cuban" cuisine is more complicated than it seems. There are least two slightly different traditions in the US, each serving (pardon the pun) as a snapshot of the culture in Cuba at the time that people left. One tradition is a relic of the colonial days, while others come from later Cuban culture. It's interesting that many members of the post-Castro wave (especially those in S. Florida) are only vaguely familiar with the older Cuban culture in Florida. That's a shame, because Key West was the first Cuban bastion in the US, and you can't get any more S. Florida than that.
Anyway, in Tampa, the older generation generally went with the Spanish-inspired saffron-colored yellow rice with black beans. You mentioned that yellow rice is mainly used in paella in modern Cuba, which makes sense, since the dish originated in Spain. My abuela always used yellow rice with paellas and frijoles, just like her mother had - her proudly Cuban mother, who had arrived in Ybor City in the 1890s. Zeng8r (talk) 11:32, 20 February 2012 (UTC)