Taste The Caribbean - So Many Islands, So Many Flavors...

Delectable Caribbean Dishes
You'd think that you'd find the same food on each Caribbean island, and you'd be right to a certain extent. But I can guarantee you that it won't taste the same! The way a Jamaican flavors rice, is surely not the same way a Barbadian (Bajan) would do it, and what one island calls Conkies the other calls Doucanou, and on and on the list goes. It can be quite confusing for visitors to figure out what they are eating and what foods they should try on each island. So I've compiled a list of favorites from each island to help you taste 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. They have no problem eating these foods for breakfast either so don't find it strange if a Jamaican offers you green banana, callaloo, sweet potato and salted cod for breakfast. They also love to flavor foods with coconut milk and allspice.

Foods to try:
Ackee and Saltfish (National Dish)
Jerk Chicken
Curried Goat & Rice
Traditional Jamaican breakfast
Mannish Water (Goat head soup - Warning for real men only!)
Festival (bread product similar to a fried muffin)
Roast Breadfruit
Breadfruit Chips
Jamaican Ackee And Salt Fish

Beverages to try:
Red Stripe Beer
Coconut Water
Ginger Beer
Blue Mountain Coffee

Follow Caribbean Island Food on Pinterest. Pin these delicacies for later!

Barbadian cuisine is heavily influenced by British and African fare. Breakfasts are traditional with eggs, toast, bacon, cereal etc. I like to say that Barbadians embrace a wide range of foods but make it their own. Barbadians love chicken, pork and lamb. 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. Not many Barbadians cook with coconut milk or allspice like Jamaicans and some other islands.

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

Beverages to try:
Banks Beer
Mauby (bitter sweet 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)
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 spices used include garam masala, tumeric, ginger, and of course curry. Trinidadians are also known for preserving all kinds of fruits by salting them or by making them extremely sweet - and they can be quite addictive.

Foods to try:
Chicken/Beef/Goat Roti (Curried meat served in a flour tortilla-like skin)
Doubles (Curried Chickpeas served in a fluffy, soft bread product)
Pelau (Rice, peas, meat, vegetables cooked together)
Callaloo Soup (National Dish)
Shark N Bake Sandwich
Tamarind Balls
Salted prunes
Sugar Cakes
Trinidadian Tamarind Balls

Beverages to try:
Twist Shandy
Soursop Punch

Other 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 flavors from the other islands.

More Caribbean Food To Try

St. Lucia - Green Fig and Salted Cod (National Dish)
St. Kitts - Stewed Salted Cod, Spicy Plantains, Seasoned Breadfruit & Coconut Dumplings (National Dish)
Grenada - Oil-Down (Soup-like dish with meat and plenty of vegetables and ground provisions) (National Dish)
Guyana - Pepper Pot & Rice and peas (Hot, spicy stew of various meats)(National Dish)
Antigua & Barbuda - Pepperpot and Fungi (National Dish)
Dominica - Mountain Chicken (Frog legs)
Martinique - Colombo (Curried meat dish served with plantains)
Haiti - 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 (soup with vegetables, variety of meats and ground provisions)
Cuba - Ropa Vieja (Shredded flank steak in a tomato based sauce served with rice)
The Bahamas - Cracked Conch and Rice & peas

Mountain Chicken (Frog Legs)
So remember to taste the Caribbean next time you visit!

Follow Caribbean Island Food on Pinterest. Pin these delicacies for later!

Related reading: Destination Focus: Mediterranean vs Caribbean

Cou Cou on Foodista
Mannish Water on Foodista
Conkie on Foodista


Rox said...

Great Post! You'll have to do round 2 sometime and add Cuba and the Bahamas ;) lol.

Bunny, THE PARIS HOUSE said...

Great post, I love Coconut Water, I think it is the perfect beverage..I hear it replaces your electrolytes exactly the way your body needs them!!!

nooschi said...

Great summary! Definitely learned a thing or two. Didn't realize there were that many differences between the different islands. Love the photos of the different dishes!!

Markiesha said...

Interesting blog Desiree. I certainly learned a few things myself. Although, I personally would not encourage anyone to try Trinidad's mauby as it really is an "acquired taste". For a first time visitor, I definitely endorse the rum cake. It's an easier transition that you'll be sure to love. However, I've tried 80% of all those dishes and they are all quite good in my opinion. So if you are an adventurous person, I say dig in!

Samantha Gianulis said...

Pineapple sweet potato pie? YOU KILL ME!!! We are going to Huntington Beach, CA for our next travel. Fish tacos =)
Oh, I gave you a One Lovely Blog Award!

FoodTravelDiva said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments :)!

Rox - Yes I will have to consult with you on Cuban and Bahamian flavors for round 2.

Bunny - Coconut water is really good. legend has it that many shipwrecked sailors survived by drinking coconut water and eating the jelly. (although I always wonder what did they use to open it?)

Nooschi - Yes a lot of differences in how we cook.

Markiesha - I know how you feel about trinidadian mauby...lol it's not like ours is it. And to top it off sometimes they add milk to it!

Samantha - You'd love pineapple sweet potato pie...trust me! Thank you so much for the blog award. Now I've got to figure out who to give it to :).

Sharon said...

What a great post! I always like to try the local foods when I travel so thanks for letting me know what's good! :)

amandalouden said...

Great post. I would have thought all the cuisine was the same. Thank you!

EAT! said...

My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Jamaica. We loved the food - especially the Blue Mountain coffee!

islandgal246 said...

Hello just like to make \ a small correction on oil down..it is not a soup. Interesting blog.

Davis said...

Looking at all the food on these photos makes me really hungry, how i wish i could Travel from India, Bangalore all over to this beautiful City