|December 22, 2017
Growing up in the 305 means you've had your share of Noche Buena parties, and although South Florida's multicultural landscape is fettered in unique traditions, the Magic City definitely has its own take on the Christmas eve holiday. We've managed to create a holiday filled with dancing, dominos and debauchery. For Miami newcomers and snow birds, here are Miami's Noche Buena must haves.
Pork. Whether you call it lechón or pernil, you've likely made a trip to Hialeah with abuelo to pick out "dinner." Even if you've been spared the traumatic ordeal, its not uncommon to see cars accelerating down the 836 with unlucky hogs strapped to their roofs. Being that Miami has strong a Cuban community, mojo is key. The marinade consisting of garlic, sour orange, cumin, oregano and oil, provides an inherent aroma familiar to most Miami locals. If you don't own a caja china, you can purchase an authentic Hialeah hog and the fixin's from Las Viñas BBQ. 3935 E. Fourth Ave, Hialeah; 305-694-2040; lasvinasbbq.com. Prices vary by size.
Yuca. The Latin American staple is a must have at any celebration. It's typically boiled or deep fried, and keeps you going once the aguardiente shots come out. Try either variation from Versailles, which adds extra cilantro to its creamy garlic dipping sauce. A half tray of yuca frita feeds eight to ten people and costs $38. 3501 SW 8th St, Miami; 305-444-0240; versaillesrestaurant.com.
Moros or congri. Beans, sofrito, and rice are cooked together which provides a much drier, rustic version of rice and beans. El Palacio de los Jugos has a great selection of rices, and with nine locations throughout Miami-Dade, it's easy to find one close to abuela's house. 5721 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-264-1503; elpalaciodelosjugos.com.
Flan. Every family in Miami, from Little Havana to Doral, claims to have the best flan in the city. Although it may be sacrilegious to purchase the caramel custard tart outside of the family circle, Casa Cuba's is pretty damn delicious. Pick up a flan de coco for $4.50. 5859 SW 73rd St., South Miami; 305-709-1214; casacubarestaurant.com.
Plantains. This starchier banana is served two ways: tostones or maduros. The two preparations are complementary; creating a natural collision of savory and sweet. The salty crunch of the tostones is the perfect compliment to the sweetness of maduros. Grab them both from La Carreta. 3632 SW Eighth St., Miami; 305-444-7501; lacaretta.net.
Coquito. Miami is obsessed with coquito. The Puerto Rican eggnog, made from coconut milk, rum, and spices, is definitely a usual suspect at the dinner table. Furthermore, when it comes to buying coquito, every Miamian has their own coquito dealer — it's like asking for counterfeit Louis Vuitton on Canal Street. Ask the right people and you'll find what you're looking for.