The enchanting Caribbean food that you can try while on vacation will show you that you can eat fresh, healthy and with rich taste. The items you will find below feature old and traditional recipes, as well as modern items that are now highly popular.
Some of the most popular and delicious Caribbean food available in the Caribbean are exclusive to the area. These foods are described in detail below.
9 Unique and Healthy Caribbean Food Options
Jamaica is well known for its jerk, especially jerk chicken and pork. Jerk is a very spicy rub that is applied to meat when either dry or wet. After the meat has absorbed the rub, it is smoked or grilled until it reaches tasty perfection.
There are many different varieties of jerk available. You will also discover that different areas of the Caribbean have their own unique spins on this popular Caribbean food.
Being located in the middle of a vast ocean makes the Caribbean the perfect place to get fresh seafood. All different varieties of fresh seafood are available. These range from shellfish like crab and lobster to mild flavored fish like snapper and grouper.
Flying fish are especially popular in Barbados according to the BBC. This is because they offer a delicate flavor that is wonderful when grilled.
3. Roast Pork
The dish is often served with local sides such as rice, beans, and plantains. Drippings from the meat itself give roast pork its tasty flavor, and many variations are spit-roasted, giving them a smoky taste.
4. Cuban Sandwich
This popular Caribbean food is named so because it was once served primarily to laborers in Havana, Cuba. It is built using soft white bread with a crusty exterior, ham, roast pork, and a mild white cheese. The sandwich is often customized in different areas.
Dill pickles and yellow mustard complete the essential flavor profile of the Cuban sandwich. The sandwich is then pressed together, resulting in a gooey, delicious combination. Although popular in the US, there is nothing like eating a Cuban sandwich in the Caribbean.
Conch is a versatile dish that consists of any of the local sea snails found in the beautiful shells in the nearby ocean. Also, conch can be served on its own or included in other dishes such as soups, salads, and stews.
Many forms of conch come from the ocean. However, farm-raised conch is becoming popular as it is more sustainable.
6. Chicken with Rice
Another Caribbean food that is extremely popular in Spanish influenced islands is chicken with rice. A tropical comfort food, the dish is comprised of savory flavors from tomatoes, garlic and peppers.
Many restaurants in the Caribbean serve chicken with rice. But this is also a dish that is commonly prepared in people’s homes in the Caribbean.
Pepperpot is a thick, rich stew. It contains a wide variety of local vegetables including aubergine, okra, squash, and anything else the chef decides to throw in.
A variety of meats can be included although beef is the most common. Referred to as souse in the Bahamas, this Caribbean food generally also contains cornmeal dumplings that give the dish texture.
Callaloo is a vegetable dish that originated in West Africa. Caribbean slaves brought the dish to the Caribbean centuries ago. But it remains a popular dish in modern times.
The dish features leafy greens that are boiled into a stew. Chefs accent the dish using a variety of other ingredients including peppers, coconut milk, okra and other meats and seafood.
9. Goat Stew
Served all across the Caribbean, goat stew is a rich, meaty stew featuring goat meat that varies greatly across different islands. Islands including Aruba and Bonaire make goat stew with a very hearty broth. Meanwhile, the small island of Montserrat typically uses a thinner broth.
On the Cayman islands, it is common to prepare this Caribbean food using a goat head and foot.
Where to Eat in the Caribbean
There are a variety of places to get these delicious foods in the Caribbean. Also, the choices can be overwhelming. Here are the most popular venues to find popular Caribbean foods.
- Resorts: Many people are uncomfortable venturing out on their own to find great local food. Luckily, many different resorts across the islands have on site restaurants. Moreover, many of them employ local chefs who specialize in making Caribbean food. This is a great option for those who want to experience Caribbean cuisine without the hassle of arranging for transportation or worrying about directions.
- Local Restaurants: For those who want to venture away from resorts, many local restaurants offer the dishes above. To find a great restaurant, you can check out online travel guides such as Fodor’s, or look at online travel review sites such as Trip Advisor. Another option is to ask the locals where you are staying for recommendations.
- Roadside Stands: Many roadside stands also sell some delicious Caribbean cuisine such as seafood and jerk chicken. To find the best roadside stands, you can ask locals for recommendations. You can also do some research online before you begin your vacation. Often times if you target stands that are popular with locals, you can find the best food.
To Your Exotic Dinner
If you are traveling to the Caribbean in the future, keep these foods in mind. Trying new food can be a delicious and fun way to experience local culture and heritage. These delicious and interesting foods will not disappoint.
You may even find yourself wanting to return to the area just to sample some of the delicious local cuisine.