Tag Archives: street vendors

Bolitas de Coco

Bolitas de Coco / Little Balls of Coconut

Bolitas de Coco, also known as Bombones, Memelos de Coco, Caramelitos Rellenos, Paleta de coco, or Churumbeles, are a sweet candy covered coconut treat that is a very popular product found being sold in the streets of Dominican Republic.

bolitas de coco - little balls of coconut a sweet caramel covered candy found on the streets of Dominican Republic
bolitas de coco – little balls of coconut a sweet caramel covered candy found on the streets of Dominican Republic

Dominicans have many different names for this much loved sweet, sweet really sweet candies. No mater the name they are a favorite of everyone. They can be found in almost all parts of the country. These caramel – hard candies have a white coconut fudge candy inside.

The Bolitas de Coco Street Vendor carries these sticky yummy coconut candies on a tray on his shoulder. He hits the tray with a butter knife to get attention. The knife is used to lift these scrumptious sticky morsels from the tray where they are resting. Each little red ball has a toothpick stuck in the center making it easier to hold until you pop it into your mouth. Crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. They are a must try sweet.


Cocoero/ Coconut Street Vendor

El Cocoero street vendor can be spotted pushing a cart laden with coconuts (called coco here). At times this vendor will have a permanent spot and will not move his cart.

Cocoero selling coconut water in the streets of Colonial Zone
Cocoero selling coconut water in the streets of Colonial Zone

Coconut water is very fulfilling on a hot day and will give you a little energy boost.

Purchasing one of these green fresh coconuts can be tasty as well as entertaining and a little bit frightening. The vendor will grab the nut of choice firmly in his hand. He then will pull out a very sharp machete. Swinging the blade with great precision he commences to cutting off the top of the coconut by making slices in an angle around the top leaving a little point. One swift swipe across the top makes a small opening making the sweet water accessible. This water is called coco de auga.

Cocoero selling coco de auga ready to cut with his machete
Cocoero selling coco de auga


the sweet liquid can be one directly from the coco, which can be messy, or you can use a straw. You can also choose to have the man pour it into a foam glass. If you wish you can add ice (which will cost a little extra) and sugar to the liquid.

While you are enjoying your beverage the vendor may offer to cut the coco in half there is any meat inside. Out comes the machete again and with amazing skill he will chop the coconut in half. This will make accessing the white, semi-slimy meat inside easier. Eating the meat can be done directly from the shell using a piece of the shell that was cut away earlier or it can be placed in a cup.

The cost

is about $40 to $60 pesos, maybe a few pesos more if you want ice or sugar (as of 12/12).


Yaniquequero/ Johnny Cake and Empanada Vendor

El Yaniquequero (pronounced yon-e-kay-key-ero) and his helper usually have a permanent spot to sell these hot treats and does not walk around much. You will see these vendors selling Yaniqueques (Johnnycakes), Empanadas and/or Pastelitos on many street corners. They are usually located in front of places where people gather.

Yaniquequero rolling out the dough

The Johnny Cake vendor will have a little table where he rolls out the dough. Some only sell the dough which is the original Yaniqueque. Other vendors will have containers on the table holding assorted fillings for filling the little dough pockets. Some of the fillings could include eggs, ham, beef, shrimp, cheese, mixed vegetables or other special items. Beside the table is a pot filled with boiling oil where the dough will be dropped into for frying.

Yaniquequero cooking Empanadas con Huevos boiling in the pot.

Popular and tasty these fried dough pieces and little stuffed pie type morsels are a must try item for a snack on the go.

The prices

for the plain piece of dough Yaniqueque are usually around RD$5 pesos. The filled pockets prices may range from around $25 to $50 pesos and sometimes more depending on the filling (as of 11/2017).