Travel

Your Food Survival Guide When Traveling in Cuba

Travelers, has this ever cross your mind? As long as I can travel to my dream destination, I don’t care if I like the food.

Before I went to Havana Cuba, I did some research and uncle Google said the food in Cuba was a challenge to most travelers. As someone who’s not a picky eater, I was very confident that I could survive that 15-day Cuba trip.

Generally, the food in Cuba tastes bland.

If you’re lucky, you’ll end up in a cafe or restaurant with food that tastes as good as it looks. On my 5th day, I started to hope that I would be luckier. On the 10th day, I started to crave for Chinese, Western, Japanese – anything but Cuban food!

What You Need to Pack to Survive Cuban Food

travellers flocking at Meson La Cuchipapa, a food survival guide in Cuba

Alright, mi amigos… remember to pack CONDIMENTS in your luggage!

The only condiment that was with me all the time was BonCabe (Indonesian brand of dried chili powder). You can’t find dried chili powder in Havana or any part of the country!

You can also pack condiments like mayonnaise, tartar sauce, herbs or garlic chili sauce in case the one that you ask from the waiter doesn’t satisfy you.

Alcohol is Cheap, Take It Easy

a female traveller in Cuban bars

A glass of cocktail for USD3-4? You’ll find yourself having at least a glass of alcohol in a day. Alcohol here is cheap, therefore, remember to take it easy for the sake of your health.

Beware, if you have an alcoholic drink in every meal, you’ll end up spending a lot of money. Even a bottle of mineral water in Cuba is USD1 (RM4). To minimize your spending, bring a filtered water bottle.

Also read: Why You Need to Own a Filtered Water Bottle

Some Places with Great Food in Cuba

You don’t always have to order Cuban food when you’re traveling there. There are places that serve European and Mexican food, especially in Havana Cuba.

Too bad that I can’t remember all the name of the places that I’ve been, but here are some of them:

Chachon 162 – Havana

Chachon 162 food guide Havana Cuba
Grilled pork – our tour guide, Camillo, brought us here on our 1st night

TripAdvisor travelers highly recommended this place not only because of the yummy food, but also the decoration. This small, beautiful cafe is designed with vintage, Harley Davidson vibe!

Address: Calle Chachon, 162, Esquina a Callejon de Espada, Havana 10100, Cuba

O’Reilly 304 – Havana

o'reilly 204 food guide havana cuba

When you’ve had enough of Cuban food, indulge yourself with delicious Mexican food at O’Reilly 304! They serve a few of selections of tacos. My favourite? Beef taco, chicken taco, and their banana chips!

Address: Habana & Aguiar, Havana, Cuba

La Colonial – Baracoa

La Colonial Baracoa food guide in Cuba
Grilled fish with rice and veggie, a bit salty but nice
La Colonial food survival guide in Cuba
Bonus: a hunky and friendly waiter 😉

Baracoa is a small town with a lot of outdoor activities. La Colonial is one of the most popular restaurants there. The food is clean, nice, healthy and affordable. Generally, the food in Cuba costs around USD5-8 (depending on what you order).

Address: Marti # 123, Baracoa 97310, Cuba

Meson La Cuchipapa – Bayamo

Meson la Chuchipapa cuban food guide
Don’t be fooled by the exterior… travelers around the world rave about this place!
best ajiato at meson la chuchipapa cuba food guide
Must try – Ajiato

This soup is quite big and will satisfy your hunger (if you’re a petite woman like me). It’s tastes like lentil soup, with cassava, meat and vegetable. The crispy, fried banana chips are complementing the soup really well. The best thing? This restaurant has AMAZING CHILI SAUCE!

Address: Parada entre Jose Marti y Donato Marmol, Parque de los Coches, Bayamo 85100, Cuba

Restaurante 1800 – CamagĂŒey

lobster dish at restaurante 1800 camaguey cuba food guide
The super-worth-it grilled fish and lobster combo

Who’s up for fresh, affordable seafood? Can you imagine that big plate of seafood combo costs less than RM50?? I couldn’t even finish my meal! Although it tastes a bit bland, I wasn’t complaining, hehe…

Address: Plaza San Juan de Dios # 113, Camaguey 70100, Cuba

MesĂłn del PrĂ­ncipe – CamagĂŒey

lunch set at meson del principe camaguey cuba food guide
It tastes so nice I could finish the whole plate myself #cry

When I and Robert were wandering around the town, we decided to try one of the restaurants recommended by our tour guide. MesĂłn del PrĂ­ncipe is the most memorable restaurant in Cuba for me because the food almost made me cry.

It’s the only place that cooks fish fillet right. The beef is so tender and juicy. And that prawn? Believe me, it tastes like udang masak sambal aka spicy prawn (but not that spicy) <3 <3 <3

Address: 7 Astilleros, CamagĂŒey 70100, Cuba

La Redaccion – Trinidad

la redaccion best bar in trinidad cuba food guide
Pork strips with crispy pork skin

This restaurant serves delicious European fusion foods. The interior design is vintage and cozy. Remember to take a look around the place and please, visit their antique toilet!

Address: Calle Gutierrez 463, Entre / Simon Bolivar & Francisco Javier Zerquera, Trinidad 62600, Cuba

Helad’oro – Havana

best gelato at Helad'oro Havana Cuba food guide
I almost cried when it touched my taste buds

The only gelato that gets approval from me. Gracias mi amigos, Jenna and Nicole, for suggesting this heavenly place <3 <3 <3

travellers posing in the vintage car havana cuba ride
Robert and I share similar interests during the trip. Thank you Robert for booking the car!

After my 1.5-hour antique car ride with Robert, we dashed to Helad’oro. It was my last day in Cuba, filled with wonderful memories and great gelato, my favourite dessert!

Address: Calle Aguiar 206, Empedrado y Tejadillo, Havana, Cuba

La Bodeguita del Medio – Havana

La Bodeguita del Medio Havana Cuba food guide most famous bar
People flock into the bar because of the history

This is the most sensational bar in entire Cuba! People flock into La Bodeguita del Medio because many celebrities and famous people like Pablo Neruda, Nat King Cole, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and many more were its frequent visitors.

traveler selfie at La Bodeguita del Medio Havana Cuba travel food guide

You come to La Bodeguita del Medio not because of the drink. It tastes just ok, overpriced, always has a long queue and the bar is super small. However, you won’t be able to resist to visit and take a selfie, hehe!

Address: Empedrado No. 207, Havana, Cuba

Alright, amigos… I’m not crafting this post to make you write Cuba off your travel list. Havana Cuba or Cuba, in general, offers exotic experiences. If you’re a fan of history (hello Mr.Castro and Mr.Guevara!), antique cars, Latin culture and beautiful buildings – go for it!

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