Traveling from one country to another, visiting different regions, and meeting people who belong to other cultures is not only a matter of joy and fun. These situations are some important chances to discover the unknown world which you have never seen before. This hidden part of the world is not really hidden, but we cannot know it unless we hit the doors to enter the deepest part of the other peoples’ traditions and habits.
Cultures of the nations do not only consist of arts, music, geography, history, and literature, But there is a vital part, and the most popular one too, of the culture, Food. Food is one of the common and widely known languages, if you can consider it a language, which can make nations come together and understand each other’s taste of life.
The Caribbean cuisine is the main example of the influence of food to make the nations come close. The Caribbean Cuisine is a sensational mix of African, Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, and European tastes which makes you feel that you traveled to these countries without moving from your place.
The Caribbean kitchen is very rich in flavors, spices, and herbs, side by side with sugar, rum, and coconut for desserts. When you try any of the Caribbean dishes for the first time you will feel that you take a glimpse of these cultures and also you may find one or more dishes that are similar to your country’s traditional food wherever you come from. This will make you feel the friendly atmosphere of this magical Caribbean wonderland.
Here we will show you 10 of the best Caribbean dishes. We are trying to make you familiar with these recipes before you take the chance to try them. You will find 10 Caribbean main or Caribbean side dishes, from different islands of the Caribbean, which can be in your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Don’t miss trying these dishes or other ones during your next visit to the Caribbean islands.
You may also like to know more about Caribbean cuisine and food experiences in Puerto Rico.
Best Caribbean Dishes:
In this article, I will talk about main or side dishes. I mean with “main and side dishes” these dishes which are primary in the meal, and all the meal goes around it. The main dish usually contains meat, chicken, or fish, and it is always served with a side dish that contains items meant to accompany the main dish.
CouCou and Flying Fish:
Flying fish is a kind of fish which is very famous in Barbados. Coucou is a traditional dish consisting of cornmeal and okra and is always served as a side dish with fish or spicy sauces. This dish’s main ingredient is flying fish fillet steamed or fried. The Coucou side dish is much close to a cornmeal-ocra porridge, getting its delicious taste from the herbs, garlic, onions, thyme, chili, and ginger seasoning.
Find the complete recipe with a cooking method for more detailed information.
From Barbados, direct to Jamaica. Jerk refers to a cooking technique widely known there. The process mainly goes around the spicy and tasty seasoning which is known as Jamaican jerk spice, with the unique mixture of green onions, chili, nutmeg, cinnamon, and thyme. Imagine the tender texture of the chicken, coming with the hotness of the spices, and feel the juicy taste of this dish, I am sure this may take you away to the real meaning of a tropic paradise.
You can find here the entire ingredients and cooking method of the Jamaican Chicken Jerk.
When you search for the callaloo recipe to cook it or search for a restaurant to try it, you may feel a little confused. You are right because you will find different recipes for this dish. Don’t be confused anymore.
The Callaloo is a Green leafy veggie, that looks similar to spinach but with a stronger taste. It is a national dish in Trinidad while a different recipe is known with the same name in Jamaica, and this is what makes the confusion. Both of the recipes are delicious, healthy, and carry the splendid spirit of Caribbean cuisine. My advice is to try this dish several times in different places, or by different cooking recipes, so you can pick your favorite one.
This is one of the dishes that reflect the influence of Indian cuisine on Caribbean cuisine. The duck is usually used in this recipe is Muscovy. The meat in this recipe is marinated with salt, pepper, hot pepper, curry powder, cumin, cilantro, onion, and garlic. This Caribbean dish is always served with a side dish of rice or roti. The curried duck is popular in Trinidad and Tobago and is also known in other Caribbean islands. It is a totally different dish that you need to try and enjoy the dish’s deep spicy taste.
For more information about it just check here the full Trini-style Curried Duck recipe.
Arroz con Huevo:
The name refers to the Spanish phrase which means “rice with eggs”, also let me tell you that Arroz means rice in the Arabic language too. You can easily then expect the ingredients of this simple dish. But nothing can be this simple in Caribbean cuisine, this culture always adds its strong influence to any dish.
The recipes can vary a lot from one island to another, so you have the flexibility to cook it your way. The taste comes from vegetables, herbs, and spices, but it is much less spicy than the traditional way of Caribbean cuisine.
Here enjoy the Cuban way of preparing Arroz con hueva, and don’t stop searching for other recipes to enjoy the variety of tastes for this unique dish.
For those who don’t like to try very different kinds of food than they usually eat, this dish is an ideal choice. This dish is simple but still has the tropical Caribbean cuisine spirit, it is so similar to the Spanish dish of Paella, the African Jollof, and The Saudi Arabian Kabsa too.
This is a popular dish in the Dominican Republic. It is a one-pot chicken and rice recipe, flavorful of lemon juice, oregano, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and other herbs. Personally, I like one-pot recipes, they are easy to cook, and always simple and delicious.
Enjoy the full recipe of the famous Dominican Republic’s Locrio recipe, and don’t miss trying it on the mother island when you land there one day.
Cabrito or kabritu:
A taste of Montserrat, with this goat stew dish. This dish is a popular festival dish there, and every family in Montserrat has its own touch when preparing this mouth-melting stew. The main ingredient is the goat meat, flavored with salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and my favorite is the clove which adds a unique taste and personality to the stew. Try it from a local restaurant to feel and live an unforgettable experience.
Need more inspiration, or need to try it at your home? Check this video for the Goat Stew recipe from Montserrat.
Let’s hop to Cuba. This national dish of Cuba has been cooked for the first time on this island in 1857. It seems as if it is a part of Cuban history. In fact, this yummy recipe deserves to be a national dish in the Caribbean region. One bite can tell you a lot about the passion for Caribbean cuisine. Try it and I am sure you will fall in love with this sensational tasty recipe.
It is made of flank steak, with a variety of spices and herbs, adding vegetables to the recipe makes it healthy and delicious. Usually served with a popular Caribbean side dish of rice and black beans.
For the recipe go to this page and see how to make Cuban Ropa Vieja at home.
From Grenada with love, this mouth-watering dish comes to steal your senses. Oil Down is the national dish of Grenada and it is as colorful as their flag. The ingredients can vary from house to house, and you can use meat, chicken, pigtails, and some families may add conch or crab, also there is a vegetarian version. It is a one-pot stew, my favorite cooking method, which is prepared from many ingredients such as meat, breadfruit, callaloo, carrots, onion, dumplings, and scotch bonnet pepper with a mix of spices to take the flavor to a higher level. With the colorful dish, you will indulge not only your taste buds but also all of your senses.
Go direct to the kitchen and try this recipe to experiment with the culture of Grenada, and here is the full method of Grenada’s Oil Down with meat or fish, you can also try this version with pigtails and chicken.
A unique seafood dish from St. Kitts and Nevis. This dish is the national dish there, which is served with coconut dumplings, spicy plantains, and seasoned breadfruit. The saltfish is the local name of dry codfish. This recipe is not as easy as the previous one, because all the components are prepared separately and are served in a single dish. The cooking period may go around 1 hour and a half, so arrange your time before preparing it.
This is the full recipe of Stewed Salt-fish which you can try in your kitchen and enjoy the great taste of this beautiful island.
Let me tell you one last thing, the mission to choose only 10 Caribbean dishes to my best dishes list was a hard mission. The Caribbean cuisine is considered one of the best in the world with a huge variety of dishes, and diverse influences from a lot of different cultures. All these reasons make the Caribbean food culture a big attraction to food lovers from all over the world.
At last, you should be sure that trying any Caribbean recipe in your way will work well, but trying it in a local restaurant or from local people will give you the original experience which I highly recommend for you all. Enjoy your meal, Bon appétit!