The Caribbean is well known for its sunshine and laid-back
lifestyle, but did you know about the tasty cuisine? It should come as no
surprise that in the Caribbean the food is colorful and the flavorful
ingredients from the islands make for amazing dishes.
If you’ve been to the Caribbean or are planning your first
trip there, have a look at this small selection of classic regional meals. Hopefully
they will inspire you to try them when you’re visiting next or even better you
might want to try some of these dishes at home to recreate that vacation
Cuban Ropa Vieja
Ropa Vieja originated in the Canary Islands (Spain) and
arrived in Cuba through the Canarian immigrants. While the original version
contained leftovers, later it became a shredded meat dish in sauce. Usually the
Cuban dish consists of shredded beef, marinated with peppers and onions, but there
are other variations of this famous delicacy. It is a favorite dish of most
Cubans and is considered the country’s national dish.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Jerk is a Jamaican style of cooking where meat marinates
with a hot spice mixture. Jerk seasoning is applied to pork and chicken, but
these days can be applied to fish, beef and even sausage. The two main ingredients
of the jerk seasoning are allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers, an extremely hot
type of pepper used throughout the Caribbean.
Roasted Breadfruit and Fried Jackfish
Breadfruit has its name derived from the texture of the
cooked fruit, which has a flavor similar to freshly baked bread. Breadfruit is
used to make sweet and savory dishes, but can also be made into flour, making
it a great option for people on the lookout for gluten free options. Roasted
breadfruit and fried jackfish is the national dish of St Vincent and the
This may not be a full dish, but there is nothing more
refreshing or emblematic of the tropics than fresh coconut water. Not only is
it hydrating, it is also fat free. And let’s face it; there is nothing more relaxing
than having a drink right out of a coconut, now is there?
Tikin Xic is a Mexican dish that means ‘dry fish’. This is a
personal favorite that I learned how to prepare during a cooking class in
Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The ingredients are black grouper, red onion, tomato,
green tomato, bell peppers, epazote and Mexican rice. First the vegetables are
cut and the fish is marinated. Then the vegetables and fish are wrapped in
banana leaves to seal in all the moisture and flavors. Next the parcel of banana
leaves is cooked on a wooden fire in the ground until ready. Trust me, you will
love this delicious dish.
What are some other foods you’ve tried in the Caribbean?