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Caribbean Cuisine? Most everyone visits the Caribbean for sandy beaches and endless sunshine, but these islands are also a great destination for those of us who love to plan our travels around great eats. If you’re wondering which islands you should visit for the best eating, here are my top recommendations.
The Top Cuisine Experiences in the Caribbean
While it is perhaps the most well-known Caribbean nation, Jamaica is also home to one of the most well-known Caribbean dishes, jerk chicken. This spicy rub applied to meats is a combination of spices that has a kick. The meat is then grilled to perfection and oozes with flavor. If you can’t make it to Jamaica anytime soon, you can whip up this delicious dish in your kitchen instead. Try this jerk chicken with rice and peas or jerk chicken soup.
Sorry New Orleans, this country has a true creole food culture. You’ll find French, Indian, African, and Asian influences — just to name a few — in dishes and restaurants across the island. Fish and seafood is plentiful and abundant, though the St. Lucian diet doesn’t include a lot of protein.
Guyana isn’t an island but a nation in northern South America. Its most famous dish is pepperpot. Instead of being a creation of the merging of colonizing powers, pepperpot is an Amerindian dish. Today it’s most often served at Christmas time. The dish is simple, combining root vegetables with a protein and spices that always include hot peppers and is a winner in Caribbean Cuisine. It’s served with homemade bread to scoop up every last drop. Make it for dinner tonight, or be traditional and wait for Christmas morning breakfast!
Anyone who has ever been to the Bahamas knows that there is nothing more common in restaurants or street food stalls than conch. Conch are sea snails found plentifully in the waters around the Bahamas. It’s considered the national food of the island and is served in many ways, including raw in salads or cooked into conch fritters and burgers, or made into gumbos or chowder. Conch is best eaten fresh, so it may be worth waiting to visit to give this special seafood a try.
Just this year Cuba was opened up for U.S. travelers to begin visiting and I can’t wait to go to this island. I’ve dreamed about it for years! Cuban food is common in the southern U.S., especially Florida, and we love it. However, Cuban food from the island is much simpler than what is found in the U.S. The most common dish is beans and rice, or Moros y Christianos. Arroz con pollo is another favorite (make your own at home with this recipe from De Su Mama!) Thanks to a tropical climate you’ll also find lots of fruits and vegetables that make up the Cuban diet. Try this Cuban rice or Cuban pork roast!
You might overlook this little island in the British West Indies but you shouldn’t. The island bears a lot of resemblance to Ireland and has many residents with Irish roots! Keep in mind that there was a volcanic eruption in 2000 and the volcano remains active, so it’s not always possible to visit. But if you do? Order the goat stew. It’s a delicious national obsession.