EAT, DRINK, EXPLORE: SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS
Dominican cuisine is infused with African, Spanish, and Taino influences, meaning dishes are loaded with herbs, but not spicy in nature. La bandera Dominicana (the Dominican flag) is an especially popular plate you’ll often find on menus in Santiago de los Caballeros. This culinary staple contains long-grained rice that is cooked until it’s dry and crispy. It’s then topped with beans cooked in a savory tomato sauce, with herbs, garlic, celery, plantains, squash, onions and stewed meat – usually chicken, beef, pork, or goat. Dominicans typically eat this dish with a side of salad, corn fritters, crispy-fried green plantains, or fried eggplant.
The Dominican Republic is one of the most well-known coffee producers in the world, so you would be remiss if you didn’t have a cup of joe while in Santiago de los Caballeros. Dominican coffee can be described in three words: short, sweet, and strong – short, because it is served in small, espresso-sized cups; sweet, because it is made with copious amounts of sugar; and strong, because it is rich with flavor. In the Dominican Republic, there is no particular time of day to drink coffee, so don’t be surprised if you’re offered at cup at all hours.
Not only is baseball the national sport of the Dominican Republic – it’s also a way of life throughout the country. For fans, baseball symbolizes unity, passion, and love. For players, it represents the dream of becoming one of the world’s legendary Dominican baseball players. The Dominican Republic has the second-highest number of baseball players in Major League Baseball (MLB) history – including household names like Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero, and Sammy Sosa. Consider heading to a juego de pelota (ball game) in support of any of the DR’s six major teams: Tigres del Licey, Estrellas Orientales, Leones del Escogido, Águilas Cibaeñas, Toros del Este, or Gigantes del Cibao.