El Caribeño – Dominican cuisine is the most delicious food you’ve never tasted

Sun-kissed beaches with powdery white sand, gin-clear waters, world class golf courses and quaint cobblestone streets. These are all things you’ll find in the Dominican Republic, the most visited destination in the Caribbean.

The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern 5/8ths of the island of Hispaniola, with the remainder of the island belonging to Haiti. It’s one of only two islands in the Caribbean occupied by two countries.

One of the DR’s most underrated qualities is its incredible cuisine. The country’s diverse foods are influenced by Taino, African, Spanish cultures. Nearly three quarters of the population is of a racially mixed origin, so you’ll also find everything from German to Chinese and Lebanese influence sneaking into its classic recipes.

If you want to sample the mouthwatering flavors of the DR without buying a plane ticket, simply hop in your car and head for El Caribeno in Southwest Detroit. The restaurant serves authentic Dominican recipes in a friendly, welcoming environment.

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El Caribeño Brings Dominican Flavors to Southwest

For those familiar with Puerto Rican food, the concept at El Caribeño is similar,” writes the critic. “Heavy on the starchy plantains, daily specials of chicken, pork, and beef, a variety of street food that one may only appreciate if they’re from the D.R., plus fresh juices and shakes.” The critic recommends the mofongo, a plantain dish that’s “mashed with garlic and bits of chicharon” and then ” formed into a ball and accompanied by a variety of meat or shrimp, as well as a cup of melted butter with garlic.” In place of booze find “a variety of tropical juices and shakes.

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El Caribeño introduces Detroiters to Dominican cuisine

Detroit is hundreds of miles away from any sizable Dominican-American population. Here, the Latino population is mostly Mexican, with some Central Americans and Puerto Ricans thrown into the mix. That means the small number of Dominicans in the area are far less likely to encounter cuisine like mom used to make it.

Step inside the three-month-old El Caribeño on West Vernor Highway though and be given a taste of the island (or at least Queens in New York). Owner Judi Hernandez is of Mexican heritage, but she learned to cook by shadowing her Dominican mother-in-law. And so far, as possibly the only Dominican restaurant in town, she’s managed to attract not just her extended family and friends but Dominicans from all over metro Detroit, including some she’s never met (the community is rather small after all and everyone knows everyone, she tells us).

For those familiar with Puerto Rican food, the concept at El Caribeño is similar. Heavy on the starchy plantains, daily specials of chicken, pork, and beef, a variety of street food that one may only appreciate if they’re from the D.R., plus fresh juices and shakes.

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