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Vaca frita

Vaca frita from Luis Galindo Latin American Cafeteria in Miami, Florida

What: This delicious Cuban dish is like a cousin to the more gringo-popular ropa vieja—cooked flank steak that’s shredded, seasoned, and pan-fried with lots of white onion, then given a distinct tang from squeezed lime.

Where: This is a common menu item in these parts, but Luis Galindo Latin American Restaurant (305-267-9995; three locations, including 898 SW 57th Ave., map) makes a mean vaca frita in friendly diner-like surrounds.

When: Sun-Thurs; 7am-midnight; Fri-Sat, 7am-1am (note that one of the locations, Latin American #2 at 10700 Coral Way, is open 24/7)

Order: The vaca frita ($11.95) here is accompanied by cooked plantains, yellow rice, and beans—red ones, alas, not the more traditional black, but they’re yummy nonetheless. (You can request different sides if you wish.) It’s a whole lot of food, but should you want more, consider the Cuban sandwich.

Alternatively: Every Cuban restaurant will likely carry this dish; it’s a cuisine standard. Try Havana Harry’s (multiple locations including 4612 S. Le Jeune Rd., Coral Gables, map), which offers the regular beef as well as not-so-common chicken and pork versions (the latter on dinner menu only).


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