Cuban food is inspired by a blend of Spanish, African, and Caribbean ingredients – so it’s no surprise that Cuba’s national dish hails from Spain. Ropa vieja (literally translated as “old clothes”) is a popular meal made with slow-cooked shredded beef in a tomato-based sauce with onions, bell peppers, garlic, and wine. The ingredients simmer in a covered pot for two to three hours, while soaking up the flavors until the meat is tender. Ropa vieja is always served over a bed of white rice and typically accompanied by a side of maduros (sweet plantains) or tostones (fried pressed plantains).
Citrus is Cuba’s fourth most important agricultural resource, making just picked oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, lemons, and limes readily available! A great way to cool off on a hot day in Havana is to grab some fresh citrus, give it a good squeeze over a blender filled with ice, and whip it into a refreshing frozen fruit drink.
Havana is one of the most musically diverse cities on the planet – one where singing is considered just another form of verbal communication. Head to Old Havana on any given night for a wide variety of Cuban rhythm and soul. Jazz, salsa, rhumba, and son Cubano are a few genres of music and dance you can expect to find spilling into the streets. See for yourself how Havana has been pushing the musical envelope for decades!