La Bandera, the Dominican Republic's National Dish (2023)

If you enjoy trying foods from various cultures but cannot travel, you could start a food bucket list of recipes you would like to try.

Don’t know where to start?

You could peruse the list of latin national dishes for each country around the globe, and add the ones that appeal to you the most to your bucket list.

But a great place to begin is with one of the Dominican Republic’s most famous foods, La Bandera.

La Bandera is the national dish of the Dominican Republic. This dish consists of rice, red beans, and meat. Most often served for lunch or dinner, a salad and a side dish usually complete the meal. The literal Spanish to English translation for La Bandera is ‘The Flag.’

Part of the enjoyment of trying food from other cultures is learning about the history behind it.

We hope you’ll enjoy the recipes we’ll share with you as we learn more about La Bandera together, and those recipes will include side dishes you can pair with this Dominican entree.

Let’s get started!

The Origins of La Bandera

The ingredients of La Bandera say a lot about Dominican culture.

They suggest that it is a humble society that survived and fed its families in whatever way they could.

Noticeable Differences Between American and Dominican Cuisine

In the United States, dinner is usually the largest meal of the day. In the Dominican Republic, the most important meal is lunch.

Rice is a side dish to most Americans. For Dominicans, rice makes up most of the entrée.

Using rice as a staple makes sense because it is versatile, inexpensive, and filling.

Why Is the Type of Meat Flexible for La Bandera Recipes?

Just like rice, chicken is an inexpensive ingredient to use in La Bandera recipes.

However, the rule is to use whatever meat that you have available. If you don’t have meat or fish, then spaghetti, or the ‘meat of the poor,’ would have to do.

(Video) Cook with me Dominican food|| National Dish (La Bandera)

How La Bandera Represents the Dominican Republic Tri-Colored Flag

Although we could not find an approximate date for how long ago La Bandera came into existence, we know that it represents the Dominican Republic’s flag.

The earliest this national dish could have existed was in the 1840s when the Dominicans declared their independence from Haiti.

How does La Bandera represent the red, white, and blue?

The meat represents the blue in the flag, which stands for liberty.

As you may have guessed, the rice means white, which signifies salvation.

The red beans represent the red or the blood of heroes.

Main Ingredients for Making La Bandera

  • Red beans are the traditional choice for La Bandera. It represents the red in the red, white, and blue Dominican Republic flag. Again, the culture encourages you to use what you have. That is why it is perfectly acceptable to use other kinds of beans, such as black or white beans or pigeon peas. Farmers cultivated red beans in East Asia. Natives used them for desserts, but they still work well for savory dishes, like La Bandera.
  • The rice used in La Bandera is usually white. White rice goes through a process called milling, followed by a good polishing. Because the process strips away some of the nutrients, the government requires that the manufacturer enriches the final product with vitamin Bs and iron.
  • The type of meat used in La Bandera is flexible. Chicken is the most common meat of choice because it is the least costly. Cooks can also use beef, pork, goat, or fish, whatever they have on-hand. No matter what type of meat you opt to incorporate, it must be stewed or guisado.

How to Make La Bandera for Your Family

Now it’s time for you to try making La Bandera at home.

Find the easiest ways to make rice, beans, stewed meat, and salad below.

For preparing both the red beans and the protein of your choice, you will need a deep pot that comes with a lid, like this highly-rated 11 in (27.9 cm) Blue Diamond Cookware Multi-function Chef’s Pan.

This pan is oven, broiler, and dishwasher-safe.

Prepare the White Rice in the Microwave

If you can live without the concon, which is the rice that sticks to the pot’s bottom, you can easily prepare the white rice in the microwave.

The Home-X Microwave Rice Cooker lets you prepare the rice in 20 minutes.

  1. Put two parts water and one part uncooked rice in the rice cooker.
  2. Stir the contents briefly to make sure the rice on the bottom is wet.
  3. Cover it and microwave the rice cooker at 70% power for 18 minutes on high.
  4. Have the rice sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Create Stewed Red Beans Quickly

The ingredients for the stewed red beans called for in La Bandera vary from one recipe to another.

Usually, you would simmer the beans and flavorful ingredients for a long time, either in a pot or in a slow cooker.

If you don’t have the time for such a long cooking period, you could consider this recipe for easy Dominican beans:

(Video) La Bandara - National Dish of Dominican Republic (Day 63 / 195)

How to Stew Meat Dominican Style

The base of Dominican stew is usually tomatoes and onions.

The other ingredients may vary slightly.

This recipe for Dominican stewed beef looks like it would be delicious served with red beans and rice.

According to the video how-to, much of the stew’s flavor comes from tomato sauce, red onions, Worcestershire sauce, and sofrito:

What Goes in a Dominican Salad?

In addition to a side dish, you will serve salad with your La Bandera.

Dominicans usually do a simple salad with almost every meal. A green salad consists of lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

You can add more veggies, such as peppers and onions, but it isn’t necessary.

For the salad dressing, just oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper will do.

Popular Side Dishes to Serve with La Bandera

There are several popular Dominican side dishes you can serve with your La Bandera in addition to a salad.

Here are a few that sound delicious to us.

  • Pan de Coco is Dominican coconut bread.
  • Yaniqueques are crispy Dominican fritters and are also called Johnny Cake Tortillas.
  • Tostones are crispy twice-fried green plantains.
  • Arepitas de Maiz is Dominican cornmeal fritters.

La Bandera Recipes Using Chicken, Beef, and Goat

If you struggle with making up your mind about which type of protein to use in your La Bandera, here are a few recipes to get you started.

Choose the one that will appeal most to you and your family. Then give it a try.

When you serve La Bandera to your family or guests, be sure to get the presentation right.

(Video) La Bandera | Dominican Eats 4K

Traditionally, you would divide the plate into quadrants with the white rice.

Then the foods that represent the red and blue would fill those quadrants.

The red beans and meat placement should reflect the red and blue arrangement on the Dominican flag.

Final Thoughts

La Bandera truly is worthy of holding the title as the national dish of the Dominican Republic.

It is a staple of this country, and it also represents the red, white, and blue colors in the Dominican flag.

Reflecting the culture of using what you have, there are many variations of this dish, including the least expensive ingredients, such as white rice, red beans, and chicken.

La Bandera is a taste of home for many Dominicans.

So what’s for dessert?

How about some Arroz con Leche with a cup of traditional Dominican coffee?

You can always shop for classic Dominican foods and drinks at our online store.



Our blog is all about sharing our love of Latin American foods & drinks. We will bring you articles and recipes of the very best Latin American & Spanish cuisine. Amigofoods was founded in 2003 and is the largest online grocery store offering a wide variety of hard to find freshly imported foods & drinks from all over Latin America and Spain.

(Video) How To Make Dominican Food/ Comida Típica Dominicana

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La Bandera, the Dominican Republic's National Dish? ›

La Bandera is the national dish of the Dominican Republic. This dish consists of rice, red beans, and meat. Most often served for lunch or dinner, a salad and a side dish usually complete the meal. The literal Spanish to English translation for La Bandera is 'The Flag.

Why is La Bandera important to Dominican Republic? ›

'La Bandera Dominicana' is said to be called that way because it represents the Dominican flag. The Dominican flag has three colors, red, white, and blue. The rice represents the white of the flag, the beans represent the red, and the meat represents the third color.

What are the national Dominican foods? ›

What is the national dish of Dominican Republic? The Dominican Republic hasn't got an official national dish, but the most representative dishes of Dominican cuisine include La Bandera Dominicana, Sancocho, and Mangú con Los tres golpes.

Where did La Bandera originate? ›

Dominican food is a unique mixture of African, Spanish, and Taino Indian influences, without spiciness but with a lot of herbs and sauces. La bandera Dominicana (literally translated as the Dominican Flag) is one such dish and a staple of Dominican cuisine.

What is the name of the Dominican Republic traditional dish? ›

La Bandera Dominicana, or “la bandera” for short, is the national dish of the Dominican Republic. It literally means “The Dominican Flag” and refers to a lunchtime dish of white rice, beans, and some type of meat.

What is Dominican most known for? ›

The Dominican Republic is well known for its beaches, but there is much more to the Caribbean destination than that. From its beautiful cities to its rugged interior, it's a destination that will continually surprise you. If you like food and drink, the island has a rich cuisine and some of the world's best rums.

What is the Dominican best known for? ›

The Dominican Republic is well known as a producer of bananas, mangos, sugar, coffee, cocoa, and tobacco. Dominican rum and cigars are highly rated by connoisseurs all over the world. Two semi-precious stones - amber and larimar - are associated with the country.

What is the Dominicans favorite dish? ›

La bandera is the meal that is eaten the most often in Dominican homes and also appears in the set menu of many local restaurants. In line with its name, this dish is inspired by the national flag: the rice is white, the beans are red and the meat (with a bit of imagination) is blue.

What are 3 popular dishes in Dominican Republic? ›

Chivo guisado (oregano-rich stewed goat meat, and flagship of my region's cuisine). Pasteles en hoja (similar to tamales, and a must for Christmas) Empanadas (without which no party is complete) Arroz con leche (the wonderful Dominican rice pudding)

What is the most important meal in Dominican Republic? ›

As in Spain, the largest, most important meal of the day is lunch. Its most typical form, nicknamed La Bandera (“The Flag”), consists of rice, red beans, meat (beef, chicken, pork, or fish), and salad. Since the Dominican Republic was formerly a Spanish colony many Spanish traits are still present on the island.

What does La Bandera mean? ›

Unless you grew up in Mexico or are a frequent visitor to the country, chances are you may not have heard of it. It's called "La Bandera" (meaning "the flag" in Spanish) and this beverage represents the country's three official colors: red, white and green.

Why is it called La Bandera? ›

The dish's name “La Bandera Dominicana” comes from the similarities of the Dominican Flag. The beans represent the red, the rice represents the white and the meat (whether its chicken, beef or pork) represent the blue.

What not to eat or drink in the Dominican Republic? ›

NEVER DO the following in the Dominican Republic:
  • Never drink tap water. ...
  • Never eat fruit and vegetables from stalls and fruit kiosks without washing and peeling them. ...
  • Not drink fresh juice from fruit kiosks. ...
  • Not use ice from kiosks. ...
  • Not play with street animals. ...
  • Not eat raw meat and fish (ceviche).

What do Dominicans eat for breakfast? ›

In the morning, sample mangú (green plantains, boiled and mashed) with eggs, fried cheese, and fried salami–the traditional Dominican breakfast.

What is the national breakfast of Dominican Republic? ›

Mangú Tres Golpes is the traditional breakfast of the Dominican Republic. It consists of mangú, or mashed plantains, with GOYA® Queso de Freir, fried salami and eggs, finally topped off with tangy pickled red onions to balance the richness.

What makes Dominican culture unique? ›

European, African, and Taíno cultural elements are most prominent in Dominican food, family structure, religion, and music. Dominicans are welcoming people with a great sense of humor who are happy to share all the things they consider to be muy dominicano. Dominicans are very fond of dancing to merengue and bachata.

What is the motto of the Dominican Republic? ›

The coat of arms incorporates on its central shield the national flag, a Bible, and a cross, together with branches of laurel and palm, the name of the country, and the motto “Dios, patria, libertad” (“God, fatherland, liberty”).

What is beautiful in Dominican? ›

1. Bonito/a. In English, this word translates to “beautiful,” “pretty,” or “lovely.” Bonito/a is widely used in Spanish-speaking countries, and it's generally a loving word. ¡Qué bonito eres!

What is minimum wage in Punta Cana? ›

The Dominican Republic's minimum wage is 8,310 Dominican pesos a month in the FTZs and between 7,843 and 12,873 pesos outside the FTZs,depending upon the size of the company; 5884 pesos per month for the public sector; 234 pesos a day for farm workers who are covered by minimum wage regulations,based on a 10-hour day; ...

What are 3 facts about Dominican Republic? ›

9 Interesting Facts About the Dominican Republic
  • Baseball isn't Just an American Past-time. ...
  • It's Historically Religious. ...
  • They Invented the Merengue. ...
  • It's Where Christopher Columbus Landed First. ...
  • It's Mountainous. ...
  • The National Color is Amber. ...
  • The Flag is Unique.
Jul 29, 2019

What is the most famous in the Dominican Republic? ›

What is the Dominican Republic Most Famous For?
  • Zona Colonial.
  • Dominican Republic beaches.
  • 27 Waterfalls.
  • Saona Island.
  • National Zoological Park ✓
  • Lake Enriquillo.
  • Puerto Plata Cable Car.
  • The Three Eyes National Park.

What is La Bandera made of? ›

La Bandera is the flagship of Dominican traditional food, a.k.a. la comida or el almuerzo, or even el plato del día, consists of rice, beans, and meat.

What is expected of Dominican girls? ›

By tradition, Dominican Republic women are expected to be submissive housewives, whose role in the household include child bearing and rearing, taking care of and supporting their husbands, cooking meals, cleaning the house, and sewing.

Is mofongo a Dominican dish? ›

Mofongo is a traditional Caribbean dish that shares roots in both The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. While similar, The Dominican version carries some distinct differences. The base begins with mashed green Plantains, mixed up with chicharrón (fried pork skins) and topped off with melted cheese and a garlic broth.

Is Dominican food spicy? ›

Dominican food is hardly ever spicy – most Dominican cooks don't even like using pepper. The only commonly known spicy dish is the 'chivo picante' spicy goat stew. I have posted before that we often bring our own spices (many people on TA find it offensive, others find it a good idea)as the food tends to be bland.

What is a typical Dominican lunch? ›

Typical Dominican Lunch

Lunch is the heaviest meal of the day and it almost always includes rice, beans, meat, and salad or avocado. Almost no day goes by without rice here in the Dominican Republic and the beans come soupy with fresh cilantro and local squash (or West Indies Pumpkin, to be exact)!

What is most popular non alcoholic drink Dominican Republic? ›

Jugo de Avena

Its name can be translated as oat juice. The drink is made with oats (that have been left to soak in water overnight), milk, sugar, spices, and in some cases carrot juice, ginger, and orange peels. The latter being the most popular variety in the Dominican Republic.

How many meals a day in Dominican Republic? ›

Dominican Republic—CR Anayanet Jackez

Three meals a day, with a big breakfast made of plantains (mangu), fried eggs, white cheese or fried salami with cooked onions on top. It is not common to have snacks during the day but some enjoy eating tropical fruit.

What type of meat is in La bandera? ›

The dish is called “la Bandera” the Dominican Flag and the beans (red kidney beans) are cooked in a pungent herby tomato sauce. There was always a meat included – either chicken or pork, and a basic salad which consist of lettuce and tomatoes.

How do you drink a bandera? ›

The Bandera is a classic festive drink featuring the vibrant Mexican flag green, white, and red. Pour each liquid into separate shot glasses and sip from each glass in traditional Mexican fashion – lime juice first, Hornitos® Plata tequila second, and Sangrita to finish.

Who created La bandera? ›

Flag of Mexico
Adopted16 September 1968
DesignA vertical tricolor of green, white and red, with the National Coat of Arms centered on the white band.
Designed byAgustin de Iturbide (Original version) Francisco Eppens Helguera
UseNaval jack
9 more rows

What does Bandera mean in food? ›

La Bandera, which literally translates to “The Flag” in English, is a lunch that consists of red beans and rice with meat (pork chicken beef or fish) and is sometimes served with beans and a salad. This is the number one traditional dish served on the island.

What is Dia de la Bandera English? ›

Día de la Bandera ("Flag Day") is a national holiday in Mexico dedicated to the flag of Mexico. Flag Day is celebrated every year on February 24 since its implementation in 1937.

What is La Bandera Caribbean food? ›

La Bandera is the national dish of the Dominican Republic. This dish consists of rice, red beans, and meat. Most often served for lunch or dinner, a salad and a side dish usually complete the meal. The literal Spanish to English translation for La Bandera is 'The Flag.

What is the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic? ›

Baseball is by far the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic. In fact, after the US, the Dominican Republic has the second highest number of baseball players playing professionally in Major League Baseball (MLB). Currently, the MLB boasts around 100 Dominican players.

Can you kiss in the Dominican Republic? ›

The Dominican Republic is a Christian country with prominent Catholic and evangelical communities. Public displays of affection (such as hand-holding or kissing) between opposite or same-sex couples are uncommon. Don't become involved with illegal drugs of any kind.

What can you not wear in Dominican Republic? ›

Dominican Republic Clothing Style

You'll want to avoid jeans, as well as any heavy jackets, dresses, or fabrics. The lighter the fabric and the less your skin is covered, the more comfortable you will be. This destination stays warm year-round and, well, tropical. Read these tips on what to wear in high humidity!

Is Punta Cana safer than Mexico? ›

Safety in Punta Cana vs Cancun

Punta Cana and Cancun are both completely safe for tourists and have tourist security divisions within their police forces. Theft of valuables is the most common type of crime in Punta Cana. Be aware of your belongings, as you would in any tourist city.

What do Dominicans eat when sick? ›

If someone is sick with a cold and needs a boost, a Dominican mom or grandmother will usually boil onions, apples, orange peel, ginger, tea leaves, cloves, and cinnamon.

What is the banana in Dominican Republic? ›

The Dominican Republic is the largest producer of organic bananas worldwide, representing more than 55% of the world's organic banana production.

Do Dominicans eat bananas? ›

Bananas are sweet, eaten raw, or when they are green, they can be boiled, as in the traditional Dominican breakfast of Savory green bananas.

What time is dinner in Dominican Republic? ›

It's from 6-7:30 P.M. A tradition food eaten at dinner is sancocho, a hearty meat stew. The Dominican Republic's cuisine is made from a combination of Spanish, indigenous Taíno, and African influences and it resembles dishes from countries like Puerto Rico and Cuba although the dish names do differ.

Can you drink water in Dominican? ›

Can you drink the water? Drinking purified bottled water is recommended and available everywhere in the Dominican Republic. Hotels and restaurants use purified water to clean and cook their food and make ice for their ice machines. Tourists are recommended not to drink the tap water.

Does the Dominican Republic have American food? ›

American cuisine is common in the country since tourists from the US frequently visit during the year, and their cuisine can be found throughout the Dominican Republic. Large chains like Tony Roma's or Chef Pepper are popular here.

What is important to the Dominican Republic culture? ›

European, African, and Taíno cultural elements are most prominent in Dominican food, family structure, religion, and music. Dominicans are welcoming people with a great sense of humor who are happy to share all the things they consider to be muy dominicano. Dominicans are very fond of dancing to merengue and bachata.

What is the most important celebration in the Dominican Republic? ›

Christmas and Easter are the most important Dominican holidays, and the family unit is considered to be a central characteristic of them all. There are other National Days in the Dominican Republic that are unique to their history.

What is the most important crop in the Dominican Republic? ›

Rice is one of the most important agricultural products in the country.

What is La Bandera a trio of flavors Dominican Republic traditions? ›

La bandera: a trio of flavors

This succulent plate mixes a delicious trio of flavors from rice, beans or kidney beans with either chicken or beef to create a succulent Dominican delicacy. On the island, it is common for residents to enjoy the dish at lunchtime.

What races make up Dominican? ›

The majority of the population (around 70 per cent) are of mixed African and European (Spanish) descent, with the remainder black (around 16 per cent) and white (14 per cent). During the early colonial period indigenous Taíno-Arawak communities were also part of the overall population.

What do Dominican people value? ›

Courtesy and hospitality are core values, particularly in the countryside. Coming to the aid of visitors or a neighbor, and sharing a plate of food are considered normal. Family is of the utmost importance, to be cared for and cherished.


1. Cook with me Dominican food|| National Dish
(Elizanette Castillo)
2. National Dishes of Latin America; A Latin American Food Fiesta!
3. La Bandera Dominicana
(Tía Clara: Dominican Cooking | Cocina Dominicana)
4. COOKING WITH PORTIA | "ABC" INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE | Dominican Republic "La Bandera Dominicana"
(Cooking with Portia)
5. Spanish Cooking Video Dominican Republic: La Bandera Professional Demonstration/Guide
(Nicholas Zavisin)
6. Dominican Food Culture | Dominican Republic
(Norberis R.)


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