LONDON – TRAVEL – What makes a trip to Caribbean islands so delightful for millions of travelers? Undoubtedly, the key reasons are divine sandy beaches with azure water and summer weather that lasts the whole year long. In addition, the Caribbean locals are known for their hospitality, cheerfulness, and love for life. And now we are slowly moving to the discussion of their cuisine. When you spend your next vacation on Barbados, Puerto Rico or Cuba with a travel girl (whom, by the way, you can find on https://romancecompass.com/travel-girls/), do not forget to try the most delightful dishes of the Caribbean from our top-list.
The origin and distinctive characteristics of cuisine
Historically, the Caribbean islands penetrated few radically different cultures from all corners of the world. Throughout ages, the islands were a point of intersection of thousands of trading routes from France, Spain, China, India, Netherlands, and Portugal. Add to this hot mix the particular qualities and traditions of indigenous Amerindians and slaves brought from Africa. All these nations made a huge impact on the future of wonderful Caribbean culture.
As a result, the local cuisine represents an incomparable bouquet of hot spice, seafood, meat, tropical fruits, and groats. Particularly, the most popular ingredients are rice, beans, pigeon peas, chicken, conch, goat meat, and lobsters. Although at the first sight they are regular products, that may be found in many other countries’ culture, a certain Caribbean chick is reached by using the incredible amount of spice and unique local ingredients: coconut milk, peppers, garlic, lime, breadfruit, and green papaya.
Of course, every region has its own gastronomical preferences. They depend on the influence of one of the mentioned cultures. For example, the people of Spanish influenced regions like Cuba and Puerto-Rico adore flavored spicy dishes. Those regions that were affected by the British culture prefer cooking beef, chicken, and goat with rice and stewed vegetables. We should also mention that every region has its favorite seafood, and its variety is limitless in the Caribbean.
10 best dishes of the Caribbean cuisine
As you may have noticed, the local culture is extremely versatile, as well as the cuisine. Each year the Caribbean islands have millions of tourists, that’s why there are thousands of places to eat out. Sophisticated restaurants in the most visited sites of the cities alternate with small family cafes and fast food spots. The same dish can be cooked a bit differently in each of them, but wherever you try this food, be sure you will get unforgettable gastronomical impressions.
- Wrap roti. This dish is one of the most essential in Trinidad, Surinam, and Jamaica. It has Indian roots and you can notice that just after the first look at this food. The original roti is a thin flapjack made of dough, which is eaten as an accomplishment to curry and stewed dishes. Today, wrap roti is a common fast-food dish with a mash of split peas and other fillings inside: conch, shrimp, beef, and others.
- Conch chowder. A smooth tomato soup with sautéed chopped onions, carrots, and celery: what makes it so delightful and popular among tourists? The answer is quite obvious – a mix of conch. Very popular in the Bahamas.
- Goat water. The name of this national dish of Montserrat sounds too weird and even horrifying. However, it’s better to try once and judge by your own impressions. Goat water, or kiddy stew, is just a stewed goat meat profusely seasoned with pepper, garlic, and thyme. Looks too simple, but believe us, it is very delicious. Its simplicity is very easy to explain by the Irish origin.
- Arroz Con Pollo. Chicken with rice – can anything be as simple and delicious at the same time? In fact, the most popular food in each country is the most ordinary, and arroz con pollo is not an exception. The dish with Spanish origin reminds paella. The key ingredient is beer that is used for stewing a chicken. The whole dish is seasoned with garlic, tomatoes, annatto oil, and other spice.
- Pineapple salsa. The traditional dish of Trinidad and Tobago is obviously made of cubed pineapples. The pieces of the tropical fruit are seasoned with, – surprise! – garlic, peppers, salt, chilly, cilantro, and lime juice. It is also called a pineapple chow, and some historians claim it has an Asian origin.
- Ackee and saltfish. The most famous Jamaican dish is cocked of salted white fish (usually cod), that is preliminarily soaked overnight. Thein it gets simmered with a local fruit ackee to get a creamy texture. The dish also may include tomatoes, onions, Caribbean red peppers, and other optional vegetables. It can be served with other garnish and hard bread.