Caribbean Islands That Are Perfect for Foodies
The Caribbean evokes images of soft sand beaches with clear blue water, rainforests with cool waterfalls and colorful carnivals. And while all of these are more than enough reasons to book a flight to the region, there is another compelling factor: food.
Of course, every country and territory has its unique cuisine, but in general, the region offers dishes that are the result of mixing indigenous, European and African flavors. So, which Caribbean islands serve the best food? Start at these 10 destinations.
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10. Dominican Republic
Dominican food shares elements with several other Latin American countries: lots of plantains, rice, pork and beans. We're hungry just thinking about it.
While vacationing on the island, you'll get to eat mangu, made with smashed green plantains, for breakfast. Don't miss out on trying bandera dominicana (literally, Dominican flag), which is a staple of the country and indulge in deep fried fish by the beach. And if you get too carried away with the country's famed nightlife, a sancocho stew will bring you back to life.
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We're about to say something that is highly controversial: Martinican food is better than French food. Sorry, the truth is the truth.
While, yes, continental French food reigns in terms of cheese, wine and desserts, actual main courses don't compare to those of this overseas territory. What makes Martinique superior? It takes all the best elements of French food, adds West African spices and Caribbean ingredients. This heavenly mix results in dishes like chatrou (steamed octopus), accras de morue (seasoned codfish fritters) and Colombo, a fragrant meat-based dish that resembles curry.
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Barbados is known for its music festivals and carnivals. But the island also excels with its food festivals, particularly the Barbados Food & Rum Festival, where participants can spend days indulging in some of the region's best dishes — and strongest rums.
Can't make it to the festival? Don't worry. Foodies never leave the island unsatisfied. Try cou cou, the national dish that is made with corn meal and okra. Or dig into Bajan macaroni pie, pudding and souse and conkies.
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Day trippers coming on cruises often miss out on trying local food in the Bahamas. If you have an upcoming stop in one of the country's islands, don't make the woeful mistake of going for Americanized food. Instead, indulge in the national dish, conch, as well as baked crab and Bahamanian stew fish.
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6. Saint Lucia
Green gif and saltfish is the most important dish you can try in Saint Lucia. But neglecting to eat some callaloo soup, lambi, pepper pot or bouyon would simply be a terrible decision. Besides, everything tastes better when you're taking in views of the imposing Piton peaks as you eat.
If you're visiting on a weekend, make sure you go to Anse la Raye for its famous Friday Night Fish Market.
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5. Puerto Rico
As with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rican food serves an abundance of rice, beans and plantains. But the country manages to set itself apart from other Latin American nations, even while using similar ingredients.
Nowhere else in the region will you find mofongo, for instance. This delightful dish is made with stuffed deep-fried plantains and can be found in practically any restaurant. Other mouthwatering Puerto Rican dishes include arroz con gandules, asopao de pollo and sorullos.
The island also has a pork highway, or ruta del lechon. Drive around it, making stops in small roadside restaurants serving inexpensive but oh-so-delicious traditional dishes.
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When an island in a region known for its abundant spice use is called "The Spice Isle," you know its food is going to be mind-blowingly good. For centuries, Grenada has grown numerous spices like ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. And while these often make it into the international market, they've also become an important part of local food.
So, where do you start? Go for crab back, curry goat and nutmeg ice cream. And don't neglect to order oil down, the country's national dish, which is made with dumplings, vegetables and salted meat.
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This British Overseas Territory is often described as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. This is mainly because the island attracts well-to-do tourists who indulge in its abundance of high-end restaurants. Here, you'll get to taste food from around the world, presented in impeccable settings.
But if you want to try local dishes, all you have to do is leave the resort behind and go to local markets. Don't be afraid of street food — the crayfish in particular is amazing.
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2. Trinidad and Tobago
One of the least-visited countries in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago is a country that doesn't depend on tourism. And yet, it has all of the beauty and appeal of its sister islands. This translates to a great experience where you can immerse in local culture without feeling like anyone is catering to you.
To the surprise of many, Trinidad has some of the best food in the entire world. Besides Indigenous and African traditions, the island blends Spanish, English, Portuguese and Indian ingredients and recipes. Dig into roti, callaloo pie, bake and shark and Trini pelau. And whatever you do, don't, we repeat, do not miss out on eating doubles in the street. Trust us, your life will never be the same.
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We'd venture to say that no Caribbean island has bad food. But if we had to choose a single place for foodies, Jamaica would be our unequivocal choice.
There's a reason that country staples like Jamaican patty and jerk chicken can be found around the world, with dinners unable to resist the spicy rich flavors of this cuisine. Other dishes everyone should try at least once include peppered shrimp, coco bread and the absolutely satisfying curry goat.
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