Cuban gastronomy is the result of a rich mix with other cuisines. First, we had the gastronomy of the Taino Indians who inhabited the island and later, it merged with Spanish gastronomy, due to the conquest of Spain. Later the gastronomy of various areas of the African continent originated, due to the slaves brought by the Spanish conquerors. There are also some characteristics of other cuisines, especially the Caribbean, but Cuban gastronomy was formed mainly from the Taino, Spanish and African fusion.
Cuban cuisine also differs by region, making it locally traditional. This is because poor Spanish peasants were located mainly in the areas with tobacco plantations, which are found in the west of the country. The east, on the other hand, received massive numbers of French, Haitian and other Caribbean immigrants, mainly during the Haitian Revolution.
The Taino Indians had a diet based mainly on the tubers they harvested, such as cassava and sweet potatoes, corn, and squash. They also consumed tropical fruits such as guava and meats that ranged from marine species such as manjuaries, kawamas, cobos, chernas and even jicoteas, they consumed birds and also reptiles such as iguanas and crocodiles. The Spanish conquerors added to this diet, the consumption of legumes, rice and citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons, as well as pork and beef. Finally, the slaves from Africa also made their contributions, highlighting the consumption of yams.
Today, on some menus, there are dishes prepared by the first inhabitants of the island; such is the case of the “Casabe” and the “Ajiaco”. Today, Cuban cuisine is known worldwide.
Don’t miss the Cuban food cooking lessons while you are in Havana!