Top Street Foods to Try in the Dominican Republic: A Culinary Adventure

Exploring the vibrant street food scene of the Dominican Republic is an essential part of experiencing the country’s rich culinary culture. From savory snacks to sweet treats, Dominican street food offers a delectable array of flavors and textures that reflect the island’s diverse cultural influences. Here’s a guide to some of the top street foods you must try when visiting the Dominican Republic.

1. Chimichurri (Chimi)


  • What it is: The Dominican version of a burger, known locally as “chimi,” features a seasoned beef or pork patty served on a soft bun.
  • Toppings: It’s typically topped with chopped cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and a special pink sauce made from ketchup and mayonnaise.
  • Where to find: Look for chimis at street vendors, especially in bustling areas of cities like Santo Domingo and Santiago.

2. Empanadas (Pastelitos)


  • What it is: These are deep-fried pastries filled with a variety of ingredients such as beef, chicken, cheese, or vegetables.
  • Varieties: Both savory and sweet versions are available, making them a versatile snack.
  • Where to find: Empanadas are widely available at street stalls, bakeries, and local markets throughout the country.

3. Yanikeke


  • What it is: Yanikeke are fried dough discs, similar to Johnny cakes, often served plain or filled with cheese or meat.
  • Texture: They’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
  • Where to find: Commonly found at beachside vendors and street food stalls.

4. Tostones


  • What it is: These are twice-fried plantain slices that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
  • Condiments: Often served with garlic sauce or ketchup for dipping.
  • Where to find: Popular at street food stalls and local eateries.

5. Quipes (Kipes)


  • What it is: Inspired by Lebanese kibbeh, quipes are deep-fried bulgur wheat balls stuffed with seasoned ground beef.
  • Flavor: They have a crunchy exterior and a flavorful, moist filling.
  • Where to find: Available at street vendors, especially in areas with significant Lebanese influence.

6. Platanos Maduros Fritos


  • What it is: These are ripe plantains that are sliced and fried until caramelized.
  • Taste: Sweet and slightly crispy, they make for a delicious snack or side dish.
  • Where to find: Widely available at street food vendors and local restaurants.

7. Chicharrón de Pollo


  • What it is: Chicharrón de pollo are crispy fried chicken chunks, seasoned with a blend of spices.
  • Served with: Often accompanied by lime wedges and dipping sauces.
  • Where to find: Popular at street stalls, food trucks, and roadside eateries.

8. Habichuelas con Dulce


  • What it is: A unique sweet treat made from red beans cooked with coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves to create a creamy dessert.
  • Tradition: This dish is traditionally eaten during Easter but can be found year-round.
  • Where to find: Street vendors and local dessert shops.

9. Johnny Cakes


  • What it is: Also known as yaniqueques, these are fried flatbreads made from flour, water, and salt.
  • Texture: They’re crispy and often enjoyed plain or with fillings.
  • Where to find: Commonly sold at beachside stands and street vendors.

10. Arepa Dominicana


  • What it is: Unlike the Venezuelan or Colombian versions, the Dominican arepa is a dense, sweet cornmeal cake often baked in a pot.
  • Ingredients: Made with cornmeal, coconut milk, sugar, and spices.
  • Where to find: Often sold by street vendors and at local bakeries.

11. Mofongo


  • What it is: A hearty dish made from mashed fried green plantains mixed with garlic, chicharrón (fried pork skin), and other seasonings.
  • Variations: Sometimes served with a broth, or stuffed with meats or seafood.
  • Where to find: While more common in restaurants, some street vendors also offer this filling dish.

12. Pica Pollo


  • What it is: Dominican-style fried chicken, known for its crispy exterior and juicy interior.
  • Sides: Often served with tostones or French fries.
  • Where to find: Street food stalls, particularly in urban areas.

Tips for Enjoying Street Food in the Dominican Republic

  • Stay Hydrated: The tropical climate can be hot, so keep hydrated while exploring street food.
  • Local Recommendations: Ask locals for recommendations; they often know the best spots for authentic and delicious food.
  • Observe Hygiene: Choose vendors who practice good hygiene and where there is a high turnover of food to ensure freshness.
  • Try New Things: Be adventurous and try a variety of foods to fully experience the diverse flavors of Dominican street cuisine.


The street food of the Dominican Republic offers a tantalizing journey through the island’s culinary landscape, showcasing the richness and diversity of its flavors. Whether you’re savoring a chimi in Santo Domingo, munching on tostones by the beach, or enjoying a sweet bite of habichuelas con dulce, there’s a world of delicious experiences waiting for you. Embrace the vibrant street food culture and discover the heart and soul of Dominican cuisine.

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