Cuban cuisine is a fusion of Native American Taino food, Spanish, African, and Caribbean cuisines. Some Cuban recipes share spices and techniques with Spanish and African cooking – and some Caribbean influence in spice and flavor adds to the complexity of the island nation’s food tradition. The result of this confluence is a unique and flavorful blend of the many cultural influences. There is a small but noteworthy Chinese influence, found mainly in the Havana area.
During colonial times, Cuba was an important port for trade, so many Spaniards brought their culinary traditions. Along with Spain, other culinary influences include African (from the Africans that were brought to Cuba as slaves) and French (from the French colonists who came to Cuba from Haiti). Another important factor is that Cuba itself is an island, making seafood a major influence. Finally, the tropical climate produces fruits and root vegetables that are used in Cuban dishes, adding both color and flavor.