There is a rather unique heritage to Caribbean cuisine, which has Indian and African influences that can be traced back to the earliest inhabitants. The spicy, hearty meals found on these beautiful islands are also internationally renowned due to the waves of immigrants that moved overseas from Jamaica in the 1950s and 1960s, importing their cooking traditions with them.
Such fascination with Caribbean recipes has grown stronger over the years and, thanks to the boom in all inclusive Caribbean holidays, tourists have been increasingly surprised by how fresh and authentic the local cuisine really is once they arrive. This even resulted in some companies offering proper culinary holidays, with specific taste itineraries. For those who decide to travel independently, we have picked our top three Caribbean eating experiences – you’ll just have to let the gourmet inside you guide you to spend some time under the sun.
The Verandah, Trinidad
Going strong among tourists to the island of Trinidad, yet still an underdog in the Caribbean restaurant scene, Port of Spain’s Verandah offers an exciting mix of local and global foods. With a menu that changes daily serving up fresh, locally-sourced seafood plus island fruits, make sure you don’t miss out on any of the shrimp recipes, or the typical coconut ice cream.
Boston Jerk Centre, Jamaica
For all those who love Jamaican cuisine because of the hot, mouth-watering meat dishes, the Boston Jerk Centre is a heavenly option. Right in front of Boston Beach’s marvellous waters you’ll find a series of open-air jerk pits where pork, fish and goat are all cooked and seasoned in front of you. Chilled out and genuine, the Boston Jerk Centre is both authentic and inexpensive.
Pelican Bar, Jamaica
This is more than just an eatery – it’s a bar in the middle of the ocean. Perhaps Jamaica’s most unusual experience, the Pelican’s offering is quite minimal, yet this picturesque wooden shack also delivers in terms of atmosphere and quality of food. Usually presenting delicious lobsters and fish, the Pelican is also a dream place for a cold beer or a glass of rum and it’s well worth the trip on a privately hired boat. Try the snapper with a vinegar sauce if you can – although no doubt the owner Floyde may surprise you with something completely different! By the day pelicans flock to the roof of the bar, while the sunset is simply idyllic.
Bio: John Duncan has spent over 2 decades exploring every corner of the Caribbean as travel guide for British and European tourists.
Now retired, he enjoys sharing his knowledge with fellow travellers from the quiet of his Dominican home.
Photo 1: Haddock – Flickr
Photo 2: Trinichow.com – Flickr
Photo 3: writerchick10002 – Flickr
Photo 4: Beakem82 – Flickr