Pica Pollo Recipe, Comparison with Chino and the Quest for the Best in Punta Cana


Pica Pollo: What is it? Recipe, Fast Food vs Chino, Where to find it in Punta Cana

Pica Pollo, a tantalizing delight originating from the Dominican Republic, has captured the hearts and taste buds of food aficionados worldwide. This mouthwatering dish, known for its crispy, golden exterior and succulent, tender interior, marries the best of fried chicken with the unique flavors of Dominican cuisine. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of Pica Pollo, sharing a delectable recipe, comparing the fast-food version to the Chino variant, and revealing the best spots to find this treat in Punta Cana.

The History and Origins of Pica Pollo

Pica Pollo’s history is an intriguing tale of culinary fusion, with its roots deeply entwined with the Dominican Republic’s multicultural background. Dominican cuisine is a delightful mélange of influences from Taíno, African, and Spanish cooking traditions. Pica Pollo’s origin is particularly fascinating, as it reflects the island’s connection to Chinese immigrants who arrived in the Dominican Republic during the mid-20th century. They introduced their wok-based cooking techniques, which quickly gained popularity among Dominicans and became a staple of the local culinary scene.

A Recipe to Savor: Pica Pollo at Home

Crafting Pica Pollo at home is a splendid opportunity to experiment with Dominican flavors and indulge in a sumptuous meal. Here is a comprehensive recipe that will guide you in creating an authentic Pica Pollo experience:


  • 2 lbs of chicken pieces (preferably thighs and drumsticks)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of adobo seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of oil for frying (vegetable or canola oil)


  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces with the lime juice, minced garlic, adobo seasoning, black pepper, oregano, paprika, cumin, and salt. Mix well and let the chicken marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for best results.
  2. When ready to cook, heat the oil in a deep frying pan or wok over medium-high heat.
  3. Dredge the marinated chicken pieces in flour, ensuring they are evenly coated.
  4. Carefully place the coated chicken pieces in the hot oil, and fry for 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken reaches a rich, golden brown color and is cooked through. Use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  5. Remove the cooked chicken from the oil and place on a wire rack or paper towels to drain excess oil. Serve hot with your favorite side dishes, such as tostones (fried plantains) or a simple green salad.

Fast Food Pica Pollo vs Chino Pica Pollo: The Battle of Flavors

Pica Pollo has become a prominent dish not only in the Dominican Republic but also in fast-food establishments and Chinese restaurants (locally known as “Chinos”) throughout the country. Though both versions share similarities, there are subtle differences in flavor, preparation, and presentation that make each rendition unique.

Fast Food Pica Pollo

Fast food chains and roadside stands in the Dominican Republic have adapted the traditional Pica Pollo recipe to cater to their customer base, seeking a quick and satisfying meal. In these establishments, you’ll find Pica Pollo served with French fries or tostones, accompanied by a side of ketchup or a tangy garlic-mayo sauce called “Mayoketchup.” The seasoning blend in fast-food Pica Pollo is typically milder and more uniform, with less emphasis on the bold flavors that characterize the traditional version.

Chino Pica Pollo

Pica Pollo found in Chinese restaurants, or “Chinos,” presents a unique twist on the dish, incorporating Chinese-inspired ingredients and techniques. Chino Pica Pollo often features the use of soy sauce and ginger, which imparts a subtle umami flavor and a hint of warmth to the dish. Additionally, the chicken is usually chopped into smaller, bite-sized pieces, allowing for easier consumption with chopsticks. Chino Pica Pollo is often served with a side of white rice and a flavorful sauce, such as sweet and sour or garlic sauce.

While both fast-food and Chino Pica Pollo have their merits, the choice between the two ultimately boils down to personal preference and the craving of the moment.

Savoring Pica Pollo in Punta Cana: A Culinary Quest

Punta Cana, a tropical paradise located on the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, offers a multitude of opportunities for visitors to indulge in authentic Pica Pollo. Here are some top-rated establishments where you can savor this delectable dish:

  1. Pollos Victorina: A local favorite, Pollos Victorina‘s Pica Pollo is known for its crispy exterior and succulent, well-seasoned meat. Their friendly service and relaxed atmosphere make it an ideal spot to enjoy a leisurely meal.
  2. Restaurante Y Super Pica Pollo Oriental: For a taste of the Chino Pica Pollo variant, look no further than Chino Pollo. This popular Chinese-Dominican eatery offers a wide variety of dishes, but their Pica Pollo stands out for its unique blend of flavors and tender chicken pieces.
  3. Bavaro Pica Pollo: Bavaro Pica Pollo, situated in the heart of Punta Cana, is renowned for its consistently delicious Pica Pollo and prompt service. The eatery’s cozy ambiance and reasonable prices make it a top choice for both locals and tourists alike.

Exploring Dominican Flavors: Perfect Pairings with Pica Pollo

pica pollo dominicano

A meal of Pica Pollo is a symphony of flavors, enhanced by a selection of delightful side dishes and beverages native to the Dominican Republic. Here are some traditional accompaniments to consider when serving or enjoying Pica Pollo:

  1. Tostones (Fried Plantains): These twice-fried plantain slices are a ubiquitous side dish in Dominican cuisine. With their crispy exterior and tender interior, tostones provide a pleasant contrast to the juicy Pica Pollo.
  2. Arroz con Habichuelas (Rice and Beans): This classic Dominican staple features a flavorful mix of rice and beans, often seasoned with bell peppers, onions, garlic, and tomato sauce. The comforting combination pairs harmoniously with Pica Pollo, creating a satisfying and well-balanced meal.
  3. Ensalada Verde (Green Salad): A simple green salad, comprised of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado, drizzled with a light vinaigrette, offers a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of Pica Pollo.
  4. Morir Soñando (Die Dreaming): This creamy, citrusy beverage is a popular Dominican refreshment made from a blend of milk, orange juice, sugar, and vanilla. Morir Soñando complements the zestiness of Pica Pollo, creating a delightful marriage of flavors.
  5. Presidente Beer: A cold, refreshing Presidente beer, the Dominican Republic’s most famous lager, is an excellent choice for quenching one’s thirst while savoring the savory flavors of Pica Pollo.

A Cultural Icon: Pica Pollo in Dominican Festivities

Pica Pollo’s popularity extends beyond the dining table, as it plays a significant role in various Dominican festivities and celebrations. During events such as birthday parties, family gatherings, and street festivals, the aroma of Pica Pollo wafts through the air, enticing revelers to indulge in its crispy goodness. Pica Pollo’s ubiquity at these gatherings underscores its importance as a cultural icon, reflecting the culinary heritage and communal spirit of the Dominican Republic.

Pica Pollo: A Versatile Culinary Delight

While Pica Pollo has cemented its status as a beloved Dominican dish, its versatility lends itself to various adaptations and creative culinary experiments. Here are some innovative ideas for putting a unique spin on this classic recipe:

  1. Pica Pollo Sliders: Transform Pica Pollo into bite-sized sliders by serving the fried chicken pieces on mini buns, topped with a dollop of coleslaw or pickled onions. These scrumptious appetizers are perfect for parties and gatherings.
  2. Pica Pollo Tacos: Give Pica Pollo a Mexican twist by using the crispy chicken pieces as a taco filling. Add a scoop of guacamole, a sprinkling of crumbled queso fresco, and a drizzle of hot sauce for a flavor-packed treat.
  3. Pica Pollo Salad: Create a delectable Pica Pollo salad by combining chopped Pica Pollo with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado. Toss the salad with a zesty lime vinaigrette for a light and refreshing meal.
  4. Pica Pollo Pizza: Elevate your next pizza night by topping a freshly baked pie with bite-sized Pica Pollo pieces, along with red onions, jalapeños, and a blend of mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Finish the pizza with a drizzle of garlic-mayo sauce for a delightful fusion of flavors.

A Culinary Journey Through Pica Pollo

Pica Pollo, with its enticing blend of flavors and textures, has earned its place as a cherished culinary treasure of the Dominican Republic. From its humble beginnings as a fusion of Chinese and Dominican cooking techniques, it has evolved into a versatile dish that continues to inspire gastronomes and casual diners alike. Whether you choose to savor it at a Punta Cana eatery, experiment with our recipe at home, or venture into creative adaptations, Pica Pollo promises a memorable culinary experience that will transport you to the sun-soaked shores of the Dominican Republic.