Muy Delicioso! 8 Caribbean Dishes You Have to Try On Vacation
The Caribbean is a melting pot of culture. From this pot have come some truly amazing foods. Check out these Caribbean dishes on your next visit.
Even despite violent hurricanes, Caribbean tourism grew in 2017 with over 30 million visitors.
Needless to say, the Caribbean region has always been a hot spot for vacationers and it continues to be that way.
With its tropical climate, beautiful beaches, diverse wildlife, and delicious cuisine, many world travelers still seek these islands out.
That last one is worth talking about today, though.
What are some must-have Caribbean dishes? Are you interested in finding real traditional Caribbean food for your next trip?
Today, we’ll take a look at some great cooking that should be at the top of your to-do list.
The Caribbean and Its Cuisine
Before we take a look at a mouth-watering list, let’s explore what you’ll be getting yourself into first.
The Caribbean is a region of over 700 islands resting neatly in the (you guessed it) Caribbean sea.
Many of the large cities you may be interested in visiting include:
- Santo Domingo
- San Juan
- Santiago de Cuba
The list goes on.
The collection of islands is culturally diverse, featuring people, customs, and foods from all over the world. Their dishes have strong roots in Creole, Cajun, African, and Indian cuisine.
There are even Dutch and Chinese influences thrown into the mix, too, so this region is certainly a melting pot of ideas.
For those travelers seeking trips out of the ordinary, the diverse set of culinary influences alone is worth checking out.
That being said, this mixture of influences has swirled around and created some dishes that are entirely original to the Caribbean islands themselves.
Let’s dive into eight of the dishes you have to try on your next Caribbean vacation.
#1. Jerk Chicken
We’ll start off with the basics.
Ninety-nine percent of you who are stumbling across this blog post will probably already be well familiar with jerk chicken. It’s about as traditional as it gets when it comes to Caribbean dishes.
It’s to the point where you can visit any Caribbean-themed restaurant anywhere in the world and jerk chicken will be at the top.
Basically, this is ultra tender chicken meat rubbed and slammed with a multitude of spicy seasonings.
Everything from pimento to scotch bonnet, to habanero, cayenne pepper, and beyond can be mixed for this heavily seasoned dish.
The nice thing about jerk chicken is that it isn’t necessarily made with the same seasoning from one place to the next, so it could be different anywhere you go!
Pair it up with black beans and rice, mango salsa, or plantains and have a drink ready and on hand.
#2. Pepper Pot
This classic Caribbean dish is, as the name implies, another spicy one. It’s a stew made from a giant amalgamation of ingredients.
These can easily be swapped out for other vegetables or meats, but it tends to contain okra, squash, potatoes, beef, and loads of jerk seasoning.
It’s largely popular in Guyana, and one of the biggest benefits of this dish is how long it can last, being served for days.
On the other hand, it also takes a long time to cook, so be prepared for a wait or to ask around to see if places have it on hand.
A version of this dish has been well known in Philadelphia for its famous role in feeding the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War.
All sources point to this dish being true West Indian food.
This is another meat-n-veggies type dish that happens to be quite popular in Trinidad.
Featuring an assortment of chicken, beef, or goat (even crab meat!), this dish is unique in the way that it is sugar coated and caramelized before mixed with other ingredients.
This dish is a combination of African traditions (the preparation of the meat) and Middle Eastern traditions (the rice, being like pilaf).
#4. Ackee and Saltfish Fritters
Here are two famous foods of Jamacia combined into one.
Saltfish fritters are a salted and dried white fish that are balled and fried and can be served with creamy ackee. Ackee is a yellow fruit that is soft and slightly sweet.
Ackee can also be served raw and on its own as a side or just a snack. The savory nature of saltfish fritters and slightly sweet texture of ackee pair wonderfully together.
#5. Curry Goat
Another Jamaican specialty, curry goat has roots in India.
Most likely this dish came along with Indian indentured workers and features very slow-cooked goat meat that can be served with rice or potatoes.
#6. Cou-cou and Flying Fish
Here’s a two-for-one for you.
Cou-cou (sometimes called fungi) is a cornmeal dish cooked with okra that has African origins.
This can pair surprisingly well with the very unique looking flying fish.
Largely considered the “Land of the Flying Fish,” Barbados is home to this odd and incredibly satisfying meal. The fish can also be combined with thyme, tomatoes, or other seasons or vegetables to make the flavor pop.
Also having influence from Indian indentured workers, roti is a wrap surrounding a mixture of veggies and/or meats.
This dish is especially great with just vegetables, so vegetarians or vegans visiting the Caribbean islands should pay attention here.
#8. Cuban Sandwich
There are a lot of unique dishes on this list, but not every world traveler is as daring as the next.
Some need the help of various traveling resources, like this one here. So, for those that don’t have the stomach for the spicier end of the spectrum this list has mostly comprised, listen up.
You may have had one before. In fact, you may have had many before. But you need to try the mainstay of the Cuban sandwich if you’re in Havana.
They consist of a white bread that’s crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and are packed with ham, pork, cheese, pickles, and mustard.
You’d be wrong to miss out on this simple yet delicious sandwich while visiting its point of origin.
Explore Caribbean Dishes For Yourself
The Caribbean islands are a well-known destination for many world travelers and a popular point of entry for all sorts of cruises.
If you find yourself visiting the region, be sure to explore all Caribbean dishes you can get your hands on.
They’re varied in influences and there are plenty of options to consider.
If you’d like to learn more about what Stayful is all about, feel free to contact us anytime!