When Dominicans have finished eating, they place their knife and fork across their plate with the prongs facing down and the handles facing to the right.
Dominican cuisine uses seafood, meat and vegetables, although poorer people in the rural areas cannot afford to eat meat regularly. The most common dish is la bandera, which consists of white rice, beans, vegetables and frito verdes (fried green plantain), served with savory chicken, beef or goat. Goat meat is particularly popular. Beef is common only in the Cibao region.
Another typical dish is sancochos, a version of the Spanish cocido (stew). Each region has its own unique way of preparing sancochos. Sancochos is a hearty mixture of seven meats, that may include goat, pork, tripe, oxtails, chicken, rabbit or pigeon. Sancochos may be served with avocado, wild rice, cassava or plantains.
El desayuno, or breakfast, is the first meal in the morning. Mangu, a puree made from cassava, is often served for breakfast, particularly in poorer areas. In cities, el desayuno may consist of bread, jam and coffee. Most people try to go home at midday for the largest and most elaborate meal of the day, el almuerzo. It usually consists of rice and beans with meat. After lunch, some Dominicans take a nap for a couple of hours before they go to work again. Supper, la cena, is served late, when all family members have returned from school and work.
Evening is the time for desserts. A favorite dessert is hibichela con dulce, a sweet porridge made with beans, coconut milk, sweet potatoes, raisins, cassava and cinnamon. Other traditional desserts include arroz con dulce, a sweet rice pudding, and majarete, a corn pudding. Flans with caramel custard are also popular, such as quesillo de leche y pina, a flan made with pineapple and milk.
Sancocho is the national dish and is served on special occasions. Tropical fruits are found in abundance. Mamgu is served for breakfast in many areas.
Eating style is Continental, a fork in the left hand and the knife in the right hand. Meals are generally served family style or buffet style. If there are visitors the host says "buen provecho" ("enjoy" or "have a good meal") as an invitation to start eating. Dominicans keep there hands visible when eating, and do not rest elbows on the table. When Dominicans have finished eating, they often times place their knife and fork across their plate with the prongs facing down and the handles facing to the right.