A fusion of African, European, American, East Indian, Chinese and Arab flavors, authentic Caribbean food is made up of influences from all over the world. In addition to this, each Caribbean island has created a style of cuisine that is individual to them, resulting in some truly diverse dishes.
With fresh conch being readily available all over the Caribbean islands, conch fritters are a popular dish. Consisting of the shellfish mixed together with onions, eggs, flour and spices, this fried dish is perfect as a snack, or alongside other dishes as part of the main meal.
Unlike the lobsters that you are most likely familiar with, Caribbean lobsters do not have claws, and most of its meat lies in its tail. While this tail meat is used in a number of ways, it is tastiest when split and grilled with a garlic butter.
While roti may traditionally refer to an Indian flatbread, it is served up slightly differently in the Caribbean. Here, roti refers to a complete burrito-like sandwich, with the flatbread wrapped around a variety of fillings, from vegetables to curried meat.
Jerk is one of the signature flavors of the Caribbean and consists of a spice mixture that is usually applied to chicken or pork, before being grilled or smoked to perfection. For those trying jerk for the first time, the chicken is usually the best option, as this does not taste as fiery as the pork, and will give you the same explosion of flavor without too much heat.
Callaloo is a thick green soup that is usually made with amaranth, although other leafy vegetables are often used, depending on the island that you are on. It was first introduced to the Caribbean by West African slaves, and has continued to be a popular dish across the islands, and is usually cooked up with coconut milk, peppers, okra, seafood and meat.
Ackee and Saltfish
Ackee and saltfish is an important dish in the Caribbean, combining simple ingredients to create extraordinarily magical flavors. Ackee is a sweet fruit that comes from the lychee and longan family, and when paired with saltfish, which is usually salted cod, along with seasonings, spices, onions and peppers, the result may look somewhat like a dish of scrambled eggs, but it will taste unlike anything that you will have ever tried before.
Patties are a popular Jamaican snack and consist of a flaky pastry that is filled with either minced beef or curried chicken. These dumplings are then baked, before being eaten with a Scotch bonnet hot sauce and a soft bread made from coconut milk.
Caribbean cuisine is full of color, flavor and diversity, and while menus across the islands may feature several dishes that you have never heard of, the unique flavor combinations make them all worth trying. From the satisfying bite of a conch fritter to the warming goodness of callaloo, these authentic Caribbean dishes should all be tried when visiting the area.