What To Eat When You Visit The Caribbean

If you’ve never been to the Caribbean before, you might be tempted to think that every island offers pretty much the same thing. Don’t be tempted to think this way because it just simply isn’t true. Each island offers something unique, and this is especially true when it comes to the local cuisine. As an islander myself, I can tell you with certainty that no two islands will blend ingredients and flavors together in quite the same way.

To take the guess work out of what you should try, I’ve compiled a list of the most popular local dishes and beverages for you to indulge in whenever you visit the Caribbean.

Jamaicans eat lots of ground provisions and rice. Staples include green banana, sweet potato, yams, breadfruit and ackee. It never ceases to amaze me how every house (it seems) has a breadfruit tree and an ackee tree and yet at every corner there is someone selling these items. Don’t find it strange if a Jamaican offers you green banana, callaloo, sweet potato and salted cod for breakfast.

Popular Foods:
Ackee and Saltfish (National Dish)
Jerk Chicken
Curried Goat & Rice
Traditional Jamaican breakfast
Mannish Water (Goat head soup)
Festival (similar to a fried muffin)
Roast Breadfruit
Breadfruit Chips

Popular Beverages:
Red Stripe Beer
Coconut Water
Ginger Beer
Fruit juice blended with ginger
Blue Mountain Coffee

Barbadian cuisine is heavily influenced by British and African fare. Breakfasts are traditional with eggs, toast, bacon, cereal etc. Barbadians love chicken, pork, lamb and fish. A typical Barbadian meal would be rice and peas, beef or lamb stew, macaroni pie and baked chicken. Favorite ingredients for flavoring include onions, sweet pepper, garlic, thyme, ginger etc.

Popular Foods:
Fish Cakes and Bakes
Cou Cou and Flying Fish (National Dish)
Sweet Potato Pudding and Souse (pork)
BBQ Pig Tails
Macaroni Pie
Ham cutter
Pineapple Sweet Potato Pie
Cassava Pone
Bul Jol (made with salted Cod fish)
Pickled Breadfruit
Plantain Chips
Rum Cake

Popular Beverages:
Banks Beer
Mauby (Drink made from tree bark)
Plus (Energy drink made from hops and barley)
Rum Punch
Golden Apple Juice
Mount Gay Rum (World’s oldest rum brand)
Coconut Water

Trinidad & Tobago
If I had to sum up the flavor of Trinidadian cooking in one word it would be Curry. Their cuisine is heavily influenced by Indian and Amerindian cooking and so even fruits like golden apple and mango get the curry treatment.

Popular Foods:
Chicken/Beef/Goat Roti
Doubles (Curried Chickpeas served in a fluffy, soft bread product)
Pelau (Rice, peas, meat, vegetables cooked together)
Crab & Callaloo (National Dish)
Shark N Bake Sandwich
Tamarind Balls
Salted prunes
Sugar Cakes

Popular Beverages:
Carib Shandy
Sea Moss Punch
Carib or Stag Beer

Other Caribbean Islands
This could easily be a never-ending post as there are so many good foods to eat in the Caribbean, but I’ll leave you with a few top dishes from some of the other islands.

St. Lucia
Green Fig and Salted Cod Fish (National Dish)

St. Kitts
Stewed Salted Cod Fish, Spicy Plantains, Seasoned Breadfruit & Coconut Dumplings (National Dish)

Oil-Down – a boiled down dish made with meat and plenty of vegetables and ground provisions. (National Dish)

St. Vincent
Roasted Breadfruit & Fried Jack Fish (National Dish)

Rice & Peas with Pepper Pot (National Dish) – a hot, spicy stew made with various meats like pork, lamb and beef.

Antigua & Barbuda
Pepperpot and Fungee (National Dish)

Fried Mountain Chicken (Frog legs)

Colombo (Curried meat dish served with plantains)

Griot (marinated pork, boiled then fried or oven roasted) with Peas and Rice, Banan Peze (fried and smashed Plantain), and Picklies (marinated onions).

Dominican Republic
Sancocho – a soup made with vegetables, a variety of meats and ground provisions.
Ropa Vieja – shredded flank steak in a tomato based sauce served with rice.

The Bahamas
Cracked Conch and Rice & peas

Rice and beans with Fish stew.