Today’s food travel takes us to the beautiful and tropical Carribean. The Carribean food culture is a result of a mixture of influences from the region's early settlers: European, African, Amerindian, Indian, and Chinese.
Subtle but distinct differences can be found in the way food is prepared and how spices are utilized from island to island. However, what you’ll find in common is that most traditional Carribean dishes are one-pot stews accompanied with rice, that is served as a side dish or as the main staple.
So what should you know about dining out in the Caribbean?
• Many of the local restaurants in the Carribean will accept all major credit cards and US currency. I spent an entire week dining out across the Carribean and had no problem paying with US dollars.
• I’d also recommend taking a taxi into the local towns. Avoid the local tourist traps; your driver may be able to recommend a good local place to dine.
So what are the must try dishes?
For those who like spice, the Carribean is known for its Jerk – a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meats, traditionally chicken or pork, is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a pungent spice mixture. Jerk seasoning typically contains all-spice, clove, thyme, garlic, onions, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and fiery hot scotch bonnet peppers. The most common Jerk dish is Jerk Chicken. For those who can’t handle the heat, fear not! You can request a mild heat level.
Some other popular dishes found in the Carribean are:
• Mellagee – A popular dish of Guyana – a one-pot stew containing fish and vegetables in a coconut milk base.
• Belikin Beer Battered Conch Fritters – A specialty of Belize – beer battered fritters made with conch, a tropical marine mollusk (snail).
• Mofongo – A popular Dominican dish with roots from Puerto Rico – made from fried and mashed plantains mixed with chicharones (fried pork rinds).
• Oil Down – Grenada’s National Dish – a highly flavorful dish made of cured meat or fish, vegetables, spices, plantains, and coconut milk
• Flying Fish with Cou Cou – Barbados’ National Dish – made with corn meal, okra, flying fish and topped with an aromatic sauce of tomato, onion, chives, garlic, thyme, and other herbs. The fish can be steamed, batter-fried or grilled.
• Curry Chicken – A favorite with Trinidadians and Tobagonians. For the more adventurous, try the goat curry.
Comment below and let me know your favorite “Island” dish. Feel free to upload a photo, too!
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