31 August 2018
The Caribbean is renowned for its gorgeous beaches and relaxed island vibes, but its local cuisines are not to be missed. We’ve shared our favourite Caribbean delicacies sure to tickle your taste buds.
You can’t talk about Jamaican cuisine without mentioning their iconic jerk, a native style of cooking in which meat is dry-rubbed or marinated in a special blend of spices. You can find it at traditional jerk shacks as well as restaurants all around the island. Or try Jamaica’s national dish of ackee and saltfish, a mouth-watering sweet and salty concoction of salted cod and ackee (a fruit originally imported from Ghana but cooked and used as a vegetable), enjoyed both at breakfast and dinner. When you visit make sure you try Scotchie’s, home of authentic jerk chicken where you can get red stripe beer and jerk chicken for two people for around $20.
“Fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood and even eggs are all typically grown and sourced by the regional farmers in Jamaica. In the hotels I stayed at, most had their own allotments where all this was grown. Of course, I had to try the jerk-seasoned dishes, one of the most well-known cuisines – delicious.”
Sally, Travel Counsellor
One of this island’s most famous dishes is cou cou, made from cornmeal cooked with chopped okras and served with steam or fried flying fish and topped with a spicy sauce. Alternatively fish cakes – made from salted codfish and local herbs and spices and deep-fried – can be found on all menus. Try Bread and Two: two fish cakes, a slice of cheese and pepper sauce. For dessert, be sure to try a slice of Bajan sweet potato pie. Oistin’s Fish Fry on a Friday night is an absolute must – all the locals and tourists head to the fishing town on the south coast for BBQs, local food and drink, entertainment.
The national food here is conch, a mollusc similar to calamari, usually found fried in a dough to make a fritter, or in chowder, but also eaten raw with lime juice and chopped onion and peppers in a deliciously refreshing salad. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try the renowned chocolates at Graycliff Chocolatier, a bean-to-bar producer creating the likes of white chocolate key lime pie and dark-chocolate salted-caramel bonbons. Other sweet delights include coconut cake, rum cake and guava duff – a sweet dough with guava folded into it and served with a rum butter sauce.
Antigua’s famed Ducana, a mildly sweet dish often eaten with saltfish, is considered by foodies to be best sweet potato dish in the Caribbean. The grated potatoes are seasoned with pumpkin, coconut and cinnamon, wrapped in banana leaves and boiled in water. Another favourite is Antigua’s national dish fungee – cornmeal with okra, cooked in salted water and boiled to a paste, served at breakfast or as a main meal.
This island’s rich harvest of fresh seafood, mangoes, bananas and avocados means every meal bursts with colour, flavour and vitality. The national dish of green figs and salt fish makes use of the island’s largest export – green unripe bananas, known as figs to islanders – peeled and boiled in salt water before being mixed with boiled or flaked cod in sautéed onions, peppers, local herbs and spices. Or if you’re peckish during the day, fried plantain is the perfect snack while lying on one of Saint Lucia’s beautiful beaches.