Food is a pivotal part of the culture and way of life of Caribbean people. This makes the Caribbean islands an excellent choice for individuals who travel in search of delicious and peculiar dishes.
While every Caribbean island has its unique types of food and methods of preparation, the following is a comprehensive list of the Caribbean islands that stands out among its counterparts and hence ideal for foodies.
Read on for further details and explanations on what are the best Caribbean Islands for food enthusiasts. This article was written by a Caribbean National who lived and traveled throughout the islands.
1. St Martin
When it comes to food and the Caribbean, St Martin is the capital of it all. The island of St Martin is unique as it shares its landmass with Dutch Caribbean nation of St Maarten.
As an overseas territory of France, the French cuisine style is infused in its many dishes. One of the main towns known for its remarkable food and restaurants is Grand Case.
From Grand Case you can get a view of the Anguilla. Foodies can enjoy items such as croissants and French pastries, johnny cakes and several types of street foods.
Popular restaurants in Grand Case include The Villa Restaurant, Le Cottage and Spiga Restaurant.
Seafood is also an important element in the dishes in St Martin with lobster being one of the star ingredients.
Aruba is a Dutch Caribbean island which is a popular travel destination especially for visitors from the United States of America.
Aruba has several fine dining restaurants and has strong Dutch influence in its meals.
One factor that may have contributed to Aruba’s exquisite cuisine is the dependency on the tourism sector.
As a result, restaurants ensure that their culinary experience is world class. Seafood plays a major role in the dishes served in Aruba.
Furthermore, there are numerous vegan restaurants in Aruba as well as high end and affordable options.
Some of the well-loved places to eat by the locals on the island include O’Neil Caribbean Kitchen, Zeerovers, Peanuts restaurant and Red Fish restaurant.
Additionally, Dutch snacks such as Frikandel and Bitterballen are unique to the Dutch Caribbean and you should try them if you visit Aruba.
If you love cheese, then the national dish, Keshi Yena which is a traditional meal made by Arubans is one that you will enjoy. Cheese is added to leftovers to create a casserole which is baked.
In Aruba the main and popular fruit drink is Awa di la munchi. This is a local Antillean drink made with lime that is also served in Bonaire and Curacao. This drink is not served in Dutch St Maarten.
If you prefer authentic creole food such as curry goat and rice and peas then Jamaica is the perfect island for you.
Additionally, Jamaica is well known for jerk food, festival, ackee and salt fish as well as bammy.
Jerk chicken as an example is specially cooked over pimento wood and has a unique flavor which you can only get in Jamaica.
Jerk food is prepared in other Caribbean islands but the Jamaica cuisine in this area is extraordinary.
Festivals are served as a staple with many meals. There is packet festival mix which you can buy at local Jamaica supermarkets.
If you love jerk food, there is an annual jerk festival in Portland the first weekend in July annually.
At this event, a variety of jerk inspired dishes are served as well as several cultural presentations.
Therefore, if you are a foodie, then the month of July may be ideal for a visit to Jamaica.
Though Bonaire is not a popular Caribbean island for tourists, its cuisine is superior.
Pastechis is one of the favorites of locals and visitors alike and is a must try if you visit the island.
There are top notch restaurants such as Patagonia which specializes in Argentinean foods.
Like its Dutch counterpart Aruba, dishes such as Keshi Yena , Dutch snacks such as Frikandels and Awa Di La Munchi is available in Bonaire.
For a refreshing blend of African, French and Caribbean cuisine, Martinique is a must visit destination.
The national dish of the island is grilled snapper served in a creole sauce. Lots of seasoning and spices are used for added flavor.
Another must try meal is Boudin with the island having two main types being Boudin Creole and Boudin Blanc.
When it comes to fine dining and amazing restaurants in the Caribbean, Anguilla stands out.
Anguilla has some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean. If you are a foodie at heart you will love Anguilla. There are several high end restaurants on the island where the cuisine is top class.
Even lower end restaurants have excellent food. So if you are visiting the island, explore and try the many dishes at the restaurants.
Veya Bar is one of the most popular restaurants with a unique tree house setting.
If you visit Anguilla, there are ferry services available from Blowing Point to St Martin.
Visitors can therefore consider exploring both islands to experience the cuisine on both of them.
7. Turks & Caicos
If seafood is one of your favorite dishes, then Turks & Caicos is the perfect island for you. The national dish is cracked conch and it is often served stewed, as fritters and in chowders.
The island is also known for its fine dining internationally.
Every November, the Turks & Caicos hosts a food and wine festival where top chefs and wine connoisseur come together to showcase many culinary creations.
8. Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago’s multicultural environment makes it an ideal island for a foodie to explore.
The dominant cultures that exist on the island are Indian, African, Portugese, Amerindian, Spanish and Chinese.
With this comes a variety of exciting dishes perfect for foodies to explore. One of the most popular street foods on the island is doubles.
This is made with baras which can be compared to a sandwich that is used to hold a mixture with channa, chutney and a variety of sauces.
It is very popular that you will see local surrounding the doubles stands while on their way to work daily.
Another popular street food on the island is Bake N Shark and the favorite location for this item on the island is Maracas Beach.
Fondly known as the Isle of Spice, Grenada’s culinary experiences are truly reflected in its name.
Grenada’s national dish called oil down is a unique fusion of flavors. It is made with breadfruit, local provision, callaloo and different types of meat such as salt fish, chicken and salt meat.
Tumeric and curry powder are used to give the dish its yellow colour. Oildown is cooked in one pot with coconut milk being the mixture that it is cooked in.
Additionally, if you love chocolate, then Grenada is the destination for you.
Home to six producers of fine local chocolate, these factories in some instances grow their own cocoa and process it into chocolate bars.
Some of these bars are infused with various flavors such as nutmeg, turmeric, cinnamon, mace, bee pollen, sea salt and ginger.
In addition, there is a lovely shop nestled in the heart of St George, the capital city called House of Chocolate where you can buy a wide range of chocolate and chocolate flavored products such as tea, cakes and ice cream.
This café is a perfect stop to rest for both kids and adults in the city.
10. Puerto Rico
For a blend of Spanish and African cuisine, Puerto Rico is an excellent Caribbean island to visit. Puerto Rican foods that you must try when you visit include Mofongo, Arroz Con Pollo and Pastelon.
If food is your priority during your Caribbean vacation, the following islands are definitely top ones that you should consider exploring.
As indicated above, food is a vital part of the day of life of Caribbean people with each island having its own unique blend of dishes and flavors.
Remember if you are visiting the Caribbean during the hurricane season which starts June 1 and ends November 30 annually, it may be prudent to consider travel insurance in the event of travel disruptions and delays.
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