The region known collectively as The Caribbean is actually made up of over 700 islands, reefs and cays, including popular destinations such as St Lucia, Antigua and Barbados.
Peak season runs from December to April when temperatures average a balmy 26 degrees - perfect for a winter getaway now the nights are drawing in. Aside from the weather, stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters, one of the Caribbean’s biggest draws is the abundance of rich local cuisine.
Often exquisitely spiced and full of flavour, many islands have their own national dish alongside Caribbean favourites that are cooked island to island. Visitors will be spoilt for choice when it comes to Caribbean food, so whet your appetite with our roundup of some popular local dishes below.
Taste The Caribbean Cuisine
Green figs and saltfish
The national dish of St Lucia, green ‘figs’ are actually the name for the unripe bananas that are plentiful on the island. The figs are boiled in saltwater before being mixed with flaked cod, onions, herbs and spices to create a must-try local speciality.
A popular soup made from the spinach-like callaloo leaf, plus seasoned meat, potato, garlic, okra and coconut milk. The recipe originated in West Africa but most Caribbean cooks will have their own variation, with some featuring crab, conch or lobster.
A trip to the Caribbean wouldn’t be complete without trying plantain; a vegetable which resembles a banana but when cooked has a starchy flavour more akin to sweet potato. Fried plantain is a delicious snack on its own, or used to accompany many stews, curries and other main dishes.
A traditional dish from Antigua, ducana is a steamed dumpling made from sweet potato and coconut, wrapped in a banana leaf. The lightly spiced and sweet dumplings make a great accompaniment to saltfish or conch.
Many Caribbean islands excel when it comes to seafood, and conch (pronounced ‘conk’) is one of the most popular dishes.
Conch is the general name for the meat found inside several different medium to large sized shells and has a flavour similar to clams.
It’s very versatile and can be steamed, served in curries and fritters or simply served raw with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Sweet Potato Pone
A popular dessert from Grenada, this cake-type pudding combines sweet potato, milk, sugar, grated coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, before being baked in the oven.
Don’t be put off by the use of a vegetable, just like carrot cake it’s tastier than you might think!