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14 Mouth-Watering Caribbean Dishes You Need To Try
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14 Mouth-Watering Caribbean Dishes You Need To Try

Picture of Sophia Francis
Updated: 24 November 2016
With unique flavors, colors, textures and smells, Caribbean cuisine is delicious and plentiful. The fusions of spices, herbs and seasonings, in addition to the range of ingredients that are grown on the islands, make for mouth-watering and filling eats. Here we explore the tastiest dishes of the Caribbean.
Patties © Ritcharndmoskow/Wikipedia
Patties | © Ritcharndmoskow/Wikipedia

Patties

Savory pastries that flake in the mouth, wrapped around fillings that range from beef to chicken and saltfish; patties deliver flavors that always satisfy the palate. They can be found in a range of restaurants, but patties that are made at home are delicious and can be custom made to your taste. Ingredients and seasonings vary from patty to patty and, with options such as vegetarian and pork fillings combined with potatoes, patties are the perfect snack to indulge in.

Ackee and Saltfish

A yellow-colored fruit that is soft in texture and slightly sweet when cooked, combined with the salty taste of codfish; ackee and saltfish is a flavorsome dish that is widely consumed in Jamaica. With strong, unique flavors and textures, mixed with carefully selected seasonings and spices, onions and pepper, this morning dish is wholesome and filling.

Jerk Chicken

A delicacy that uses a range of fiery peppers and spices such as Scotch bonnets, nutmeg and pimentos, jerk chicken combines the heat of the seasonings with tender meat. Often the chicken is rubbed with the spices and then either roasted or barbecued for an intense flavor and succulent texture. There are variations of flavorings that can be used for this dish, and every plate is unique. When cooked to perfection, jerk chicken is a popular dish that simply must be tried.

Plantain © paegis/Wikipedia
Plantain | © paegis/Wikipedia

Plantains

Resembling a banana that has a starchy but soft texture when cooked, with a sweet taste, plantains make the perfect accompaniment to any Jamaican dish. Strictly speaking, although they look similar to bananas, plantains must be cooked prior to eating. The fruit is often fried until cooked to perfection and then served alongside chicken and rice. The sweet flavor counterbalances the savory elements in a dish and makes for tasty and filling food.

Rice and Peas

Fluffy rice that is often boiled with sweet coconut milk for additional flavor, and soft red beans that add to the texture; rice and peas is an important part of the Caribbean diet. Each dish varies from home to home, restaurant to restaurant, but this savory accompaniment works well with chicken, pork and seafood dishes and is very widely consumed. It is a staple dish and a delicacy that must be tried.

Curry goat © Leon Brocard/Wikipedia
Curry goat | © Leon Brocard/Wikipedia

Curry Goat

A dish that has roots in Asia and is popular in the Caribbean, curry goat is an absolute delicacy with big flavors and a succulent texture when cooked right. Slow-cooked goat meat with spices and seasonings, and served piping hot, the dish can be eaten with rice and peas or alongside potatoes. It is an incredibly popular dish in Jamaica, is widely eaten and is completely delicious when the meat is falling off the bone and melts in the mouth.

Sweet Potatoes

A starchy carbohydrate that resembles ordinary potatoes, except for the color, sweet potatoes are filling accompaniments to any dish. They can be combined with spices and served with chicken, lamb or pork, and are usually either roasted or boiled to perfection. Sweet potatoes can be served in stews as well, adding texture and flavor to the dish to create an extra dimension that makes Caribbean eats all the more delectable.

Saltfish fritters © Foodstores/Flickr
Saltfish fritters | © Foodstores/Flickr

Saltfish Fritters

Small morsels or rounded savory fishcakes that are packed with flavor, saltfish fritters are the perfect appetizer or pre-dinner snack. They are highly popular in West Indian cuisine and deliver both flavor and texture. Mixed with flour, herbs and peppers the saltfish is shaped into circular, bite-sized portions, which are then fried in hot oil. The texture is always crispy on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside, and the color is always an enticing golden-brown.

Coconut Drops

Traditional, sweet-tasting snacks that are delicious, coconut drops are a popular Jamaican dish. These are small chunks that consist of the white fleshy part of the coconut, a sprinkling of sugar as well as ginger. This snack can be eaten with afternoon tea and can be made by boiling the coconut in water that is combined with brown sugar and left to cool after cooking.

Flying fish © solutionspainting/Wikipedia
Flying fish | © solutionspainting/Wikipedia

Flying Fish

Widely consumed in Barbados, and considered a national dish, flying fish is a delectable, exotic eat. It can be consumed with cou-cou (which is like polenta) or other accompaniments. The unique-looking fish is steamed or stewed and combined with a mixture of herbs and seasonings such as onions, thyme and tomato to intensify the flavor. Flying fish can be served in a variety of ways and recipes can be altered to taste.

Guinep or Spanish Lime

Exotic and sweet-tasting, guinep is a delicious fruit that is grown in Jamaica and is similar to lychees. The fruit can be eaten as a refreshing snack or its juice can be consumed as a flavorsome drink. Guineps have a firm, skin-like exterior that should be removed before eating. The white, fleshy part of the fruit inside has an intense, sometimes slightly tangy taste that will wake up your taste buds. This fruit should definitely be tried if you are visiting the Caribbean.

Callaloo © Shiv/flickr
Callaloo | © Shiv/flickr

Callaloo

A green vegetable that is wholesome, fresh and versatile, callaloo is similar to spinach and can be eaten in a range of dishes. It is native to Africa but is a popular Caribbean food. It adds texture and flavor to such dishes as soups and patties, and usually accompanies other main ingredients such as chicken. The vegetable is usually rinsed, cleaned and steamed or boiled to taste; it is healthy, nutritious and flavorsome.

Yam

A rich, starchy root vegetable that is filling, nutritious and wholesome, yams are a stable food of the Caribbean diet and can be consumed with a variety of dishes. Yams come in a range of colors and can be served as part of a thick soup or as an accompanying vegetable to complete a dish. Their versatility makes them perfect for consumption in many different ways; they can even be made into yam chips.

Breadfruit

A fruit that is high in protein, filling and energizing, breadfruit is considered a wonder food. The fruit is usually peeled, chopped and boiled or roasted, then served as an accompaniment to a dish; it can be included in soups or eaten as part of a spicy curry. Its texture is soft but the fruit can be fried and made into chips as well for an alteration in texture.