Planning on going on holiday in the Caribbean soon? You’re in for a treat (literally)! The region is not only home to the most beautiful beaches and coastlines, but also boasts a delicious, and often spicy, cuisine. Each island has different, unique dishes so whether you head to Jamaica or the Dominican Republic, you’re guaranteed to find a new favourite dish at each destination. Not sure about what typical Caribbean food to look out for? Here are the top 10 dishes to eat while you’re on holiday.
- Jerk chicken: Often combined with rice and peas, jerk chicken is one of the most traditional Jamaican food options. The flavoursome meal is marinated with hot Jerk spice, which includes Scotch bonnet peppers, and is a popular way of cooking in the Caribbean.
- Curry goat: Originating from East Indian immigrants, Curry Goat quickly became a signature dish in Jamaica. Usually, the goat is slow cooked which makes it even more tender and mouth-watering.
- Ackee and saltfish: Suitable for both breakfast and dinner, ackee and saltfish is Jamaica’s national dish and originated when the ackee fruit was first brought to the island from Ghana in the 18th century.
Hungry for more? Check out our full list on the best Jamaican foods to try on your trip.
- Flying fish and cou cou: As the name suggests, the national dish of Barbados consists of two main ingredients: flying fish and coucou. The latter is a combination of cornmeal and okra, with a consistency like porridge. Flying fish is usually marinated with hot spices and then gets added to cou cou.
- Cutters: What looks like a normal sandwich is actually a Bajan specialty. It uses Bajan salt bread, with a fluffy base and crusty outside, while fillings can vary from flying fish, ham, or even fried chicken livers. A popular topping is pepper sauce.
- Macaroni pie: While macaroni pie is a widely popular Caribbean food option, the Bajan have their own unique take. Other than using tube macaroni instead of regular macaroni, the differentiating ingredient is yellow mustard and ketchup, which makes the texture even creamier and more delicious.
- Green figs and salted cod: Serving as the island’s national dish, it brings together freshly salted cod and green bananas cooked to perfection with plenty of vegetables and spices. We like to wash ours down with a chilled Piton beer.
- Lambi: Also known as conch, lambi is a go-to street food option at street parties. The shellfish-based dish is marinated with certain spices and seasoned sauces, resulting in a unique and popular food option for both locals and visitors.
- Callaloo soup: One for the vegetarians, this soup is made with callaloo (a green leafy vegetable grown on the island), okra, potatoes and garlic. Just be sure to choose one that’s made without added seafood or meat.
- Mangú: this breakfast dish includes mashed green plantains, onions, cheese, fried eggs and salami. A hearty way to start the day!
- Pescado con Coco: this flavour-packed fish dish is made with a coconut sauce and served with rice and is a staple of coastal restaurants.
- Sancocho: a stew that is made with various meats such as beef, chicken, or pork, along with root vegetables like yucca, plantains, potatoes, and corn, often made for special occasions and gatherings.
- Oil down: This one-pot stew rightfully holds the title of Grenada’s national dish. Warming and comforting but still packed with flavour, it brings together salted meats, dumplings, vegetables, coconut milk and lots of spice.
- Roti: Grenadian cuisine draws influence from African, Indian and Spanish menus, so you’ll be unsurprised to find roti commonly sold as a street food snack. This whole-wheat flatbread gets filled with curry meat, fish or even vegetables – great for keeping you going on daylong adventures!
- Nutmeg ice cream: Grenada offers an entirely unique take on the frozen treat, living up to its aromatic spice reputation by mixing nutmeg in with the dairy delight. The result is super refreshing and utterly indulgent on a hot island day.
- Bammy: A traditional flatbread made from cassava. It is popular on the islands and often served with fish or conch dishes.
- Conch fritters: Deep-fried balls of conch meat and vegetables are then fried on a skillet and traditionally enjoyed as a snack.
- Rum Cake: For a sweet end to a meal, this delicious dessert is made with rum-soaked cake, then topped with a buttery glaze.
Hungry for more Caribbean food after reading about all these exotic dishes? We’ve got plenty of extra reading to satisfy your appetite, plus a unique collection of luxury villas across all four regions that’ll help to ignite your tropical wanderlust.