10 Caribbean Foods You Need To Try

Caribbean cuisine has plenty of influences to thank for their amazing culinary creations, including cuisines such as African, East Indian and European. In spite of all these influences though the Caribbean has brought its own gastronomy to the table and produces dishes that are both simple and satisfying. They cook with the seasons and with the freshest of ingredients, delighting visitors from all over the world. There are hundreds of dishes to try when visiting the Caribbean but here are 10 of our favorite foods from this part of the world.

10. Conch Fritters

Considered a delicacy around the world, there is no better place to try Conch Fritters than the Caribbean, especially in the Bahamas. These fritters are small ball so conch snail meat that have been friend in batter with a number of seasonings. Conch is readily available in the Caribbean which makes this the freshest place to taste this delicious local treat. Many chefs put their own spin on this dish and often use ingredients such as onion, peppers and celery along with a variety of spices. Make sure to try this dish at numerous restaurants including the Poop Deck in Easy Bay, Nassau and Head Over to Conch Fritters.

conch fritters

9. Jerk Chicken

It one of the spiciest and well-known and well-loved dishes that originates from Jamaica. The jerk part of the dish is actually a special mixture of spices and can include soy sauce, brown sugar, whole cloves, bonnet peppers, jalapenos and more. The jerk is laced onto the chicken which is than grilled. The grilling process is of most importance when it comes to perfecting this dish and true jerk chicken is actually cooked over coals as well as fresh green wood, most traditionally the wood from the pimento tree. This tree also happens to produce allspice berries which is another component of the jerk marinade. Other meat can also be cooked in the same process and the jerk spice will work its magic by soaking the meat in its flavours.

jerk chicken

8. Aloo Pie

You will find this variant of the samosa on the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. This soft friend pastry is made from flour and water and filled with boiled and spiced mashed potatoes. Other vegetables inside accompany the potatoes such as green peas or split chickpeas without their seedcoat. A little larger than a typical samosa it looks more like a calzone and is ordered with a sweet and sour type dipping sauce known as imli ki chutney.

Photo by: Calypsos Spice
Photo by: Calypsos Spice

7. Callaloo

This Caribbean dish actually originated in West Africa and was brought to the Caribbean by slaves. This green soup is typically made with amaranth leaves; taro leaves or water spinach. In the Caribbean this dish is often served as a side dish and calls for such ingredients as coconut milk and okra. Callaloo tends to be different from island to island, for example in Jamaica they only use the callaloo leaf, salt, onions and scallions simply steaming the vegetables while in Trinidad they use the okra and coconut milk. Wherever you decide to try it, it is definitely a must and although the dark green soup may not look appetizing at first, it is absolutely delicious.

Callaloo

6. Coconut Shrimp

This easy to make and even easier to eat dish tastes that much better in the Caribbean due to the freshness of the ingredients. Soft shrimp is dipped in eggs and coated with shredded coconut, making the sweetness of the shrimp and the crispiness of the coconut come together in one delectable treat. If you are a health conscious individual, you can opt to have this delicious snack baked instead of fried. Try these shrimps out in multiples islands, each offering its own unique twist of spices and coatings.

coconut shrimp

5. Ackee and Saltfish

Ackee happens to be the national fruit of Jamaica and thus its fitting that Ackee and Saltfish is the national dish. Parts of the Ackee fruit are actually toxic and therefore much caution must be had when preparing this dish. Salt cod is soaked overnight before sautéing it with boiled ackee, onions, Scotch Bonnet peppers, tomatoes and spices. It is often garnished with bacon and tomatoes and can be served as breakfast or dinner. It can be served alongside breadfruit, dumplings, fried plantain or eaten with rice and peas.

Ackee and Saltfish

4. Keshi Yena

Laying at the extreme south of the Caribbean is the island of Curacao and it happens to offer one heck of a local main course dish. Keshi Yena is essentially one giant stuffed cheese ball and although it is prepared differently all over the island, the end result is the same, absolute deliciousness. Essentially a round bowl is lined with Gouda or Edam cheese slices, topped with meaty filling (mostly chicken) and than covered with more slices of cheese. Sometimes the cheese ball is smothered in a Creole sauce with plenty of tomatoes and peppers. Other ingredients are olives, prunes or raisons.

Photo by: The Traveling Table
Photo by: The Traveling Table

3. Jamaican Patty

Although it is most notably found in Jamaica, the Jamaican patty is also commonly found in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. This pastry is stuffed full of various fillings and spices, baked inside its flaky shell that is often tinted yellow with an egg yolk mixture or turmeric. The filling is typically seasoned ground beef but sometimes can be chicken, pork or lamb. In Jamaica the patty is often eaten as a full meal when accompanied by coco bread. This beef patty came to be shortly after the Cornish pastry was introduced in the Caribbean and using the cumin and curry spices along with the Scotch Bonnet, a hot pepper indigenous to Jamaica allowed them to make it their own.

Jamacian Patty

2. Flying Fish

One of the most popular foods in Barbados is flying fish and one can expect to have one land on their plate at some point on this island, which is a good thing considering how delicious they are. Flying fish and cou-cou is actually the islands national dish, featuring the fish steamed and served with cornmeal cooked with okra and water. Many visitors choose to have fish cutters, battered, crispy and fried flying fish that is served on salt bread, normally accompanied by lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mustard. However, which way you choose to eat this meal, you certainly won’t regret it.

flying fish

1. Boca Chica Style Fried Fish

The Dominican Republic boasts plenty of colorful and lively dishes but the most loved may just be Boca Chica Fried Fish. One of the most flavorful dishes in the Dominican, this fried fish- normally red snapper- is marinated in a mix of garlic, onions, bell peppers and paprika. Coated with flour and fried twice, the fish vendors in this part of the Island tell visitors it’s the love that goes into the recipe that makes it so good. Often served alongside a heap of friend green plantains, this dish is big on flavor.

Photo by: Arturo Feliz-Camilo via Dominican Heat
Photo by: Arturo Feliz-Camilo via Dominican Heat

8 Things to See and Do in the Bahamas

The island chain of the Bahamas is rich with history, culture and romantic legend that lends to its appeal. First settled by English Puritans, the Bahamas became popular with pirates in the late 1600s and early 1700s because of the vast number of islands (700+) and shallow waters that made for prime treasure hiding. This patchwork of islands and cays interlock its way through some of the clearest waters in the world- making it an ideal spot for snorkeling, diving and beach time. It’s also home to the third largest barrier reef in the world. It’s easy to get around this group of islands, with ferry boats and frequent flights facilitating access. Here are some notable attractions.

8. Cable Beach, Nassau

Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are in the Bahamas, and Cable Beach lives up to that reputation. Cable Beach follows along the North coast of Nassau through New Providence. This stretch of beach is home to a number of resorts and hotels, so for travelers seeking beachfront accommodation, this is a good spot. Guests appreciate waking up to views of turquoise water and miles of sugary white sand.

Cable Beach, Nassau

7. Nassau Straw Market

Nassau is a wonderfully walkable city, that is safe and well-marked. There are lots of shops, restaurants and cafes sandwiched around the downtown core. For tourist shoppers seeking out bargains and souvenirs to bring home, the Nassau Straw Market on Bay St.  is worth a visit to pick up handmade Bahamian straw crafts and gifts, as well as other wares.

"Nassau straw market 1" by BrokenSphere - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Nassau straw market 1” by BrokenSphereOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

6. Sandy Toes Beach, Rose Island

Sandy Toes Beach is located on Rose Island, just off the coast of Nassau. Accessible by boat only, this private island hosts full day excursions as well as private events. Excursions include boat transportation, drinks, lunch and snorkeling at the private beach. The waters in the Bahamas are incredibly clear, but the waters at Sandy Toes Beach are exceptional, and swimmers and snorkelers can expect to see a lot of marine life very clearly with very little effort.

Photo by: Youtube/samevansmedia
Photo by: Youtube/samevansmedia

5. Arawak Cay (Fish Fry), Nassau

No visit to Nassau would be complete without a visit to Arawak Cay’s Fish Fry. Located about a 15-minute walk west of Nassau’s downtown proper, this group of restaurants include humble shacks alongside full restaurants (some with air conditioning). There are few better (and less expensive) places on the island to sample Bahamian specialties, like conch fritters, conch chowder, cracked lobster, snapper and grouper- among many other fish dishes.

Photo by: Bahamas Finder
Photo by: Bahamas Finder

4. Pirates of Nassau Museum

Nassau was the center of the rich pirate lore that surrounds the mystique of the Bahamas. Nassau was home base for many pirates (even some pirate celebrities like Blackbeard). The configuration of the harbor facilitated their ability to launch attacks successfully on merchant ships. Nassau is known of the “capital of piracy”. The Pirates of Nassau Museum is an interactive exhibit that lets visitors view and experience the colorful history of piracy in Nassau.

"PIRATES OF NASSAU MUSEUM, NASSAU" by JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
PIRATES OF NASSAU MUSEUM, NASSAU” by JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MDOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

3. Atlantis, Paradise Island

Popular with cruise day trippers and with resort travelers, the monster resort of Atlantis lies just outside of Nassau on Paradise Island, connected to Nassau by a massive bridge. This sprawling resort contains several different hotels, dozens of restaurants, four beaches, the largest casino in the Caribbean, two major aquariums and a 141 acre Waterpark, complete with waterslides that immerse you in a shark tank. The hotel sells a limited amount of day passes for visitors to experience the aquariums, water park and beaches.

LivetImages / Shutterstock.com
LivetImages / Shutterstock.com

2. Lucayan National Park, Grand Bahama Island

This 40-acre park is comprised of lush mangroves, forests, waterways and sparkling white sand beaches. There is also an extensive network of caves, and is home to one of the longest limestone caves in the world. Two of the caves are open to the public; swimming is not allowed, and diving is only allowed in specific locations with a permit. Visitors will enjoy Gold Rock Beach, especially at low tide, where miles of rippled sand pave the way for an oceanside stroll.

Photo by: Hike Now
Photo by: Hike Now

1. Lighthouse Beach, Eleuthera

While you could plonk your beach chair just about anywhere in the Bahamas and enjoy miles of pristine white sand, the beaches on Eleuthera and Harbour Island offer a slightly different experience. The white sand is tinged with pink, and has a refined, soft texture that you don’t find on the other islands. Lighthouse Beach is known as one of the more remote, unspoiled and beautiful beaches- perfect for a lazy afternoon in solitude.

Photo by: Eleuthera Paradise
Photo by: Eleuthera Paradise

Party Time: 10 Best Spring Break Destinations

Spring break is a rite of passage. Each year, tens of thousands of college students flee their dorms and head for sunnier locales. They are planning to blow off some steam – leaving classes, teachers, and homework far behind. It is the perfect time to hang out with friends, do a little partying, and just relax and recharge after a long winter. The biggest choice these college students want to make is where to go for Spring Break.

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” right? Las Vegas offers a wide variety of activities from amusement park rides to the Eiffel Tower or a gondola ride on a Venice Canal. For those looking to try their hand at gambling, each hotel has its own casino. There are a wide variety of nightclubs and shows to visit in the evening as well.

Las Vegas

2. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas is a great Spring Break location. It is renowned for its extreme outdoor sports and pristine beaches. Spend an afternoon relaxing on Lover’s Beach. In the evenings, there is always a party during the week of Spring Break in one of the glamorous hotels.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

3. Nassau, Bahamas

Consider taking a cruise to Nassau, where the nightlife is vibrant and varied. Nassau is the largest city in the Bahamas with plenty of beaches, culture, and, of course, drinks (with umbrellas!). Under the Caribbean moon there are plenty of nightclubs where the rum is cheap and the music is loud. After an evening of partying, spend the day relaxing on one of the many pristine beaches.

Nassau, Bahamas

4. Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay enjoys a reputation as a Spring Break hotspot. Each March, Montego Bay hosts the Brit-Jam. This party blends American and English music with the music and culture of Jamaica for a unique party experience. Spend the day relaxing on the beach, splashing in the waves or simply recovering from the previous night’s party.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

5. Acapulco, Mexico

There is always a party in Acapulco. During the day, enjoy one of Acapulco’s many pool parties. In the evening, it is time to head out to one of the many nightclubs. Acapulco combines plenty of stunning beaches with countless clubs, making it a top pick for Spring Breakers. Be sure to stop by Palladium, a club on the cliffs that offers breathtaking views of Acapulco Bay.

Acapulco, Mexico

6. South Padre Island, Texas

The Lone Star state has become an up and coming hotspot for college students enjoying Spring Break. South Padre Island offers white sandy beaches, blue oceans, and plenty of Spring Break parties. It’s also easily accessible to students who live in Texas – or one of the other states in the Southeastern United States.

South Padre Island, Texas

7. Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach is known as the Spring Break Capital of the World. It is easy to see why with MTV sending camera crews to film the festivities and choosing it as the best party. They roll kegs of beers out on to the beach, so they can party in the sun or under the moonlight.

Panama City Beach, Florida
Maria Maarbes / Shutterstock.com

8. Miami Beach, Florida

No, the South Beach Diet is not beer, tequila, rum and repeat. Here in Miami’s South Beach, there is a variety of nightclubs and entertainment. During the day, the beaches of Miami seem to go on for miles. With its Cuban influenced flavors the food is outstanding. Dance the night away in Miami!

Miami Beach

9. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Punta Cana offers a variety of inclusive resorts that provide a wide array of activities for students. From lazing on the beach to snorkeling to parties at the clubs, there’s no shortage of things to do here. Only in Punta Cana can you take the president’s crown. If you are able to drink more of the country’s beer (Presidente), than the president, you get his crown. The number to beat? 42 and counting.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

10. Cancun, Mexico

Cancun offers pristine beaches, sparkling water, and of course plenty of parties. In the evening, choose between a club with a water slide and one that offers bungee jumping. Under the Mexican moon, the party never ends!

Cancun, Mexico