There are plenty of dining options in the island and most of the hotels have several international caliber restaurants. If you want to experience real Dominican food then you must get out into the streets. The diet is mostly based on rice, vegetables and sea food. The food is neither bland nor spicy and one can expect fresh sea food at most restaurants. Grilled lobsters, fish and barbequed prawns are some of the exotic dishes which you can try. Always leave a ten percent tip after every meal. Chicken is also widely consumed and one can find various stews, curries and fried recipes. A stew made from chicken and corn is said to be a cure for hangover and also a good aphrodisiac.
If you want to experience quintessential Caribbean cooking then you must visit one of the local restaurants which are family run. These are much cheaper than the hotel restaurants and the best places to sample local food. However, if you have a queasy stomach then I suggest that you stick to the hotels and restaurants. Vegetarians might have a hard time in the region, but rice and beans is widely available. Corn and maize related dishes are also consumed. Generally, restaurants charge a 26 percent service tax and you should be aware of this as well.
As with any other island in the region, rum is the staple drink and one can find distilleries all over the place. Imported beer and other liquor might be found in the cities. Mama Juana is a cocktail made from herbs, wine and bark and you must try it while you are in the country. Local beers include Bohemia, Presidente and Brahma.The main rum brands in the country include Barcelo, Bermudez and Brugal. You should also note that most of the villages and smaller towns might not have the same drink options. Dominican Republic beaches are lined with shacks and small restaurants which serve cocktails and snacks. Freshly squeezed juice is also available widely. Also, avoid consuming ice from the local restaurants as they may be made from tap water. Coconut water is a staple and you will find vendors selling the stuff in most parts of the county.
The people of the country are very peaceful and helpful. The customs and culture of Dominican Republic is very similar to that of other parts of the Caribbean. An African and creole influence in prevalent as well. The people are a mix of African, Spanish and Hispanic roots. By and large, people will help you out in times of stress and if you attempt to speak the language they will be grateful. Most festivals in the area are characterized by colorful carnivals which are similar to the Carnival in Brazil. People often dress up in colorful costumes and parade around the streets during the independence month. If you want to understand the culture of the Dominican Republic then you need to interact with the locals.
Facts and Figures
Area: 48442 km2
Weather: Tropical, monsoonal
Nearest Airport: Samana
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