The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied.
The Most Similar Cuisines to Dominican Food
Dominican Republic is located on a tropical island between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The five countries with the most similar food to the Dominican Republic have a similar hot and humid climate. Four of the five countries also border the Caribbean Sea. These countries all have significant populations of people with African and European ancestry. With the exception of Guyana, they are all Spanish-speaking countries.
- Cuba is another island in the Caribbean Sea that has a blend of indigenous, African, and Spanish culinary elements. Both countries love slow-cooked stews, like sancocho. Yuca al mojo, a dish featuring cassava in a garlic and citrus sauce, is also a beloved delicacy in both nations. However, the most commonly eaten starch in Cuba and the Domonican Republic is rice.
- Venezuela is situated on the northern coast of South America. Both countries celebrate the empanada, a pastry filled with an array of delicious ingredients. The emphasis on fresh seafood, owing to their coastal locations, is evident in dishes like Dominican mofongo with shrimp and Venezuelan seafood empanadas. The love for sweet plantains, a key ingredient in Dominican pastelón, is also a common theme in Venezuelan kitchens.
- Colombia and Dominican Republic appreciate the versatility of plantains, showcasing them in various dishes. The use of diverse tropical fruits and the combination of sweet and savory flavors are additional reasons why the diets of these countries are similar. However, people in Colombia tend to eat more potatoes.
- Panama is another country that has a blend of African and Spanish culinary elements. These nations have a strong tradition of incorporating rice and beans into many of their dishes. Mangoes, pineapples, coconuts, and other fruits are often incorporated into dishes or enjoyed fresh.
- Guyana does not border the Caribbean Sea, but this South American country does have similar food to the Dominican Republic. Rice is the most commonly eaten staple food in both countries. Both cuisines make ample use of tropical fruits. However, Guyana’s food has more of an Indian influence, since it has many people with South Asian ancestry.
The Least Similar Cuisines to Dominican Food
The five countries with the least similar food to the Dominican Republic are all landlocked. Three are located in Africa, while the other two are in Asia. However, relatively few countries have a diet that is extremely different from the Dominican Republic’s, since it has influences from many different regions of the world.
- Chad is a predominately Muslim country that was once a French colony in Africa. Sorghum and millet are the two most commonly consumed grains in the country. These crops are well adapted to the Sahel’s harsh climate. Popular dishes include sesame soup and fried dough balls.
- South Sudan is another country that borders Sudan. Cassava is its staple food, however the country eats a lot of sorghum as well. Porridge is one of the most popular dishes in the country. In addition, South Sudanese cuisine features a variety of sauces and condiments made with peanuts and sesame seed.
- Mongolia is a sparsely populated country between Russia and China. Its climate is completely different from the Dominican Republic, since it is cold and dry. As a result, the country relies on animal husbandry for a large portion of its food. Mongolians tend to eat much more meat from cattle, sheep, and goats than Dominicans.
- Uzbekistan‘s cuisine is somewhat similar to Mongolia’s. Grapes and apples are two of the most popular commonly consumed fruits in Uzbekistan, unlike in the Dominican Republic where bananas and papayas are more prevalent. Beef and lamb are two of the most popular meats in the country.
- Ethiopia is yet another African country on this list. Corn and teff are the two most commonly consumed grains in Ethiopia, in contrast to the Dominican Republic, where wheat and rice have more prominence. Furthermore, beef is the most popular protein in Ethiopia, while chicken is more widely consumed in Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Chicken, Egg
Fruit: Banana, Papaya
Vegetable: Avocado, Tomato
Starch: Rice, Wheat
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.