Vibrant and Delicious Caribbean Cuisine

Posted on Thursday, 3rd April 2014

Never tried Caribbean cuisine before? Be prepared to taste a combination of the freshest ingredients, a wealth of spices and a diversity of dishes influenced by countries from around the world. There’s definitely nothing mundane about the vibrant cuisine from the Caribbean.

If you’re one of the 25 million people set to take Caribbean holidays in 2014 then prepare to taste some of the most delicious food imaginable while you’re sunning yourself on the isles. You will enjoy a tantalizing array of dishes influenced by those who colonized the islands including the Dutch, Americans, British, Spanish and French. Throw in Africa, Asia and Latin American influences and you’ll soon realize that diversity is a key ingredient in Caribbean dishes. If you were under the impression that Caribbean cuisine was simply about jerk chicken and sweet potatoes then it’s time to think again.

Island cuisine

A major factor in the food you will eat in the Caribbean is that most of the islands have their own specific dishes and key ingredients. French cuisine plays a big influence, as you would expect in French Caribbean islands such as Martinique, while the Dutch Antilles is of course influenced by cuisine from the Netherlands. Cubans prefer dishes with cumin and black beans while the English islands have a penchant for curried dishes. However spices are a major element no matter which island you visit or which dish you try.

The freshest of ingredients

Fresh ingredients play a key part in Caribbean cuisine whether you’re dining on a goat curry, a Trinidadian fish stew or a Jamaican grilled fish. As you’d expect from an island, the fish should be ‘straight-out-of-the-sea’ and the wealth of tropical fruits and vegetables should be same-day fresh. The freshness of the ingredients does give this cuisine an extra kick, plus of course the spices do give the dishes a kick all of their own. The popular jerk spice is commonly used in a variety of meals including beef, lamb, fish and shrimp dishes.

Popular Caribbean dishes

Classic Caribbean dishes are usually either sweet or savory and there should be something to suit every taste. Popular dishes include jerk chicken with rice and peas, black bean curry, traditional goat curries and spare ribs with barbecue sauce. You can also enjoy a delicious range of soups such as coconut and bean soup, Caribbean beef soup and West Indian chicken soup. Fruits also play a big part in the deserts such as banana flambé with pineapple curd, banana and raisin strudels, and the mouth-watering Caribbean black fruitcake that comes with a hefty dose of dark rum.

If you’re vacationing on any of the Caribbean islands this year, then make sure to get out of the resorts and try some of the dishes available at the local restaurants. Choose a restaurant with a sea view or a terrace and dine while enjoying one of those spectacular Caribbean sunsets.

Note: Written by Laura Gavin.

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