Planning a feast? Try Cuban food this time, we say

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While Cuba may officially be in national mourning for the death of Fidel Castro, many Cuban-Americans in Miami and elsewhere have been hitting the streets in celebration to mark the end of an era.

Jubilant Cubans poured into Miami’s Little Havana over the weekend, blasting car horns, dancing and singing following the death of the revolutionary leader.

Castro’s death comes not long after the signing of a historic agreement that restored relations with the US and opened the country to US visitors in a pact led by US President Barack Obama.

In a timely coincidence, US carriers like American Airlines and JetBlue also launched historic direct flights connecting the US to Havana on Monday.

Want in on the celebrations? Here are a few popular Cuban dishes to help get you in the spirit:

Ropa Vieja

Known as the national dish of Cuba, ropa vieja is perhaps one of the best ways to show solidarity with the Cubans. Shredded flank steak is cooked in a tomato-based sauce and is often served with black beans, rice, plantains and fried yuca.

Cubano sandwich

You could be forgiven for thinking that the Cubano sandwich, and not ropa vieja, is Cuba’s national dish given its namesake and its popularity and ubiquity throughout America. You could call it the Cuban version of the all-American grilled cheese sandwich, with the addition of tangy dill pickles, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, ham, and griddled white roll instead of sliced bread.

Fried plantains or platanos maduros

A staple of Cuban cuisine, fried sweet plantains are a popular accompaniment to savoury main Cuban dishes.

Cuban black bean soup

As its colour would suggest, black bean soup is thick and rich, spiced with the warmth and savoury flavours of onions, garlic, oregano and cumin and deepened in flavour by the addition of a smoked ham hock. Unlike its Mexican counterpart, Cuban-style black bean soup is typically void of chili peppers for a milder flavour.


What’s a Cuban fiesta with mojitos? The official drink of Cuba, the mojito is the fresh combination of white rum, cane syrup or sugar, lime juice, soda water and sprigs of mint served in a highball glass.