Caribbean food is a mouth-watering combination of fresh ingredients, exotic spices and historical influences. The fertile earth and the lapping turquoise waters create a sublime environment to celebrate fresh fruits, herbs, fish, and meats. National specialties vary across the board, but there are specific foods and flavors that create the unique essence of Caribbean cuisine. Here’s a few of our favorites and where to try them.
Fresh Seafood: Treasures from the Sea
With a wide variety of fish surrounding the Caribbean islands, it’s hard to imagine a palette that can’t be pleased. The most common fish you’ll come across in the Caribbean is the yellowtail, wahoo, snapper, and grouper. But if you’re really searching for something different, head to Barbados to try their national dish: Flying Fish and Cou Cou.
Restaurant: The Tides Restaurant
Find your way to the west coast of Barbados where you’ll find The Tides Restaurant sitting on the edge of the water in beautiful Holetown. Set in what was once a Barbadian home during World War II, The Tides offers candle-lit tables paired with stunning ocean views.
Dish: Try the Flying Fish with an Herb and Citrus Crumb, crispy Polenta and Avocado. Finished with a Passion Fruit, Lime and Coriander Dressing.
Jerk: A Flavor Explosion
The most flavorful way of cooking meat in the Caribbean is Jerk style. Born in Jamaica, this technique is as vibrant and energetic as its people. First the meat is marinated in a spicy dry or wet rub and then cooked to perfection by grilling over hardwood or charcoal, usually in a steel drum jerk pan. The result is a moist, spicy piece of meat that is bursting with flavor.
Restaurant: Murphy’s West End Restaurant
Let’s get one thing straight: this is not your typical restaurant. The sight of swinging hammocks, the sound of reggae music and the sensational smells of fresh Caribbean food attract locals and visitors alike. Located in a quaint little beach hut on the west end of Negril, Murphy’s West End has created a reputation for being among the best of the best.
Dish: The classic jerk chicken is nothing less than extraordinary. But for something a little less traditional, order Murphy’s Jerk Lobster. Whichever dish you choose, chances are you’ll be back.
Conch: A Taste of Paradise
Conch is a gastropod mollusk native to the Caribbean basin. It’s known for its elaborate shell sometimes found along a beach’s coastline. Its meat is white and firm, making it perfect for fritters, flash frying, and flavorful ceviche. For an authentic conch fritters experience, there’s no better place to go than to the Bahamas.
Restaurant: Twin Brothers
Located in Potter’s Cay Dock in Nassau, Twin Brothers is your one-stop-shop for all things conch. The colorful restaurant sits right on the water, so beautiful ocean views are always a guarantee. Pair it with their World Famous Daiquiris and you’ve pretty much landed in Caribbean heaven.
Dish: From the classic Bahamian conch fritters to the delicious Cracked Conch, you can’t really go wrong here.
Rum: A Love Story
Rum is as synonymous with the Caribbean as palm trees are to tropical breezes. It’s the official alcoholic drink of the Islands. Made from sugarcane, the aging process determines either a sweet, spicy, smooth or complex flavor, but the result is always perfectly scrumptious.
Barbados is home to the famed St. Nicholas Abbey, a boutique distillery with a 350-year-old plantation home and museum, and the perfect place for a rum-tasting tour. Admission gives you access to the distillery, the historic great house, the gardens and the Cherry Tree Hill, which offers visitors a breathtaking view of the island’s East Coast.
Restaurant: Terrace Café
Exclusively available to the St. Nicholas Abbey visitors, this café overlooks the plantation’s beautiful, lush gullies.
Dish: Ordering any other beverage than the refreshing rum punch just wouldn’t feel right. Pair with one of the café’s Bajan Fish Cakes or Smoked Salmon, and you’ve got yourself the perfect rum-sipping afternoon.