The Caribbean is rich with memorable delights, many of which are served on a plate or in a glass. If you’re planning an island vacation, don’t forget to think about your dining options while you’re there. Seek out some of the distinctive flavors of the Caribbean to ensure that your cultural experience on the islands is complete.
Cou-cou and flying fish is the national dish of Barbados. Cou-cou is like a Caribbean polenta, made primarily from cornmeal and okra. The mixture is prepared with a special stick that gives it the distinctive texture that comes from slow, low cooking and regular stirring. The okra also plays an important role in the final form of the dish. Gelatinous in nature, it gives the finished cou-cou the ability to form neatly into a rounded loaf. You can find cou-cou readily available throughout the Caribbean, particularly on Barbados.
Rich and filling, keshi yena is a culinary staple that’s beloved on the island of Aruba, where it’s considered the national dish. This meal originated when the Dutch began importing Edam cheese onto the island. The locals used the hollowed out shell of the cheese as a convenient container for the rich meat filling that they tucked inside. The filling is usually spicy beef or chicken. Consider starting at Old Cunucu House where the keshi yena features chicken, onions, peppers, celery, olives, raisins, and cashews in a gouda crust.
Served throughout the Caribbean, pepperpot is an island stew that will usually contain squash, okra, potatoes, beef, and aubergine. Cooks often add cornmeal dumplings known as “fungi” to the dish. It’s a well-known fact on the islands that no two batches of pepperpot are the same. If you want to find the best pepperpot in a particular area, just ask the locals. They’ll point you to the restaurant that’s been serving the best version lately.
Chairman’s Reserve Rum
Chairman’s Reserve is a beloved rum that’s blended on the island of St. Lucia. If you want a mixed drink flowing with the original flavors of the Caribbean islands, this rum is the perfect place to start. Seek out a skilled mixologist to enjoy this rum in all its glory. The Coconut Bay Resort carries this and many other rums and is known for the distinctive drinks that its expert mixologists serve up. Ask for the Dirty Banana for a dessert-like treat that drinks like a milkshake and offers all the kick of a good Caribbean rum.
Callaloo came to the Caribbean with slaves from West Africa. This rich stew includes a variety of leafy green vegetables like Amaranth or dasheen leaves. Okra, coconut milk, and peppers add a distinctive flavor to the dish. There are numerous variations available around the islands with added ingredients like pumpkin for a hint of sweetness or chilies for more spice.
These mouth-watering Caribbean delights will give you plenty of reasons to look forward to mealtime during your vacation. Whether you’re enjoying the skilled work of top resort chefs or dining from street carts in local villages, these classics are sure to appear.