The Dominican Republic at a Glance
Living in the Dominican Republic
People and Local Customs
Currently, there are about 10 million people living in the Dominican Republic, with a median age of only 27 years. Family values, religion, and hospitality are the cornerstones of life in the Caribbean country. Thus, it is not rare that three generations of the same family are living under one and the same roof, with the oldest male making the important decisions affecting the entire family.
Although you are free to choose your own religion, Catholic beliefs influence many aspects of life in the Dominican Republic. After all, 95% of the overall population is Catholic. Dominicans often go out of their way to treat their guests royally and to make them feel particularly welcome. In return, you should make sure to be a respectful guest in order to not upset your hosts while living in the Dominican Republic.
The Language in the Dominican Republic
After we have taken a brief look at the country’s historical background in our article on moving to the Dominican Republic, it does not come as a surprise that Spanish is the official language of this country. Thus, before starting your life in the Dominican Republic, you should make sure to brush up on your Spanish language skills, even though your business partners might speak English. Expats living in the Dominican Republic may find it hard at times to understand the local population, even if they have a basic knowledge of the local language.
Dominicanese and Dominicanisms (the local dialect with Dominican elements) can prove to be somewhat of a challenge for foreigners. However, it can also be great fun to learn these new words and phrases. For instance, a baby is called chí chí while small children are referred to as carajitos. While living in the Dominican Republic, you should be careful not to confuse bonche and boche: the former is simply a party, but the latter describes a scolding or disagreement.
The Local Food Culture
Dominican food is heavily influenced by Spanish cuisine with a touch of Caribbean spices and herbs here and there. While spending your life in the Dominican Republic, you should make sure to try food which is prepared “a la criolla” or “guisado”, which means your meat or your sea food will come in a tomato sauce with garlic, olives, onion, and cilantro.
Dominicans also particularly enjoy all types of fried food such as “carne frita” or “chicharrones de pollo” with plantains dipped in salt water and fried in vegetable oil. The fondness of fried food is also reflected in a typical Dominican breakfast which contains mashed plantains (mangú) with onions, fried white cheese, fried eggs and orange juice.
Rice and coconuts play a dominant role in Dominican Cuisine. “Pescado de coco”, fish stewed in coconut and tomato sauce, is a particularly prominent dish. At the same time, rice is king in traditionally Dominican kitchens. While living in the Dominican Republic, you should enjoy the nation’s most popular rice dish, with red beans, meat and plantains. It is, in fact, so popular that it is called “la bandera” (the flag).