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A new study reports that over half of Americans (53%) consider themselves foodies.
A love of food means trying new cuisines. Nothing compares to the unique culinary tastes of the Caribbean sea, ranging from the corn-based diets of the northwest to the abundant seafood and tropical fruits of the central and south Pacific coasts.
We’ve put together this introductory guide to showcase some of the finest Caribbean cuisine and encourage you to try it yourself.
Read on to dive into Caribbean culture and food.
The History of Caribbean Food
The original inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands were the Carib, Arawak, and Taino people. Their diet was rich in vegetables and fruits, including papaya, sweet potato, and mango.
The Taino cooked meat and fish in large clay pots, a tradition that is still practiced today. Herbs, spices, and lime juice were incorporated into fish dishes by the Carib Indians.
Modern Caribbean cuisine has culinary influences from Asia, France, India, Spain, Holland, the USA, the United Kingdom, and Africa.
The Chinese introduced rice and mustard, while early Portuguese merchants imported the famed codfish. Spain provided fruit trees, while the Americas brought beans, maize, pumpkins, potatoes, onions, and chili peppers.
Caribbean Food Culture
Food plays an important part in traditional Caribbean customs. It’s normal for individuals to spend days preparing delicacies for holidays and special events.
Caribbean cuisine features seafood, poultry, and beef dishes, cooked with local spices and colorful ingredients. Rice is a staple across the Caribbean, and each area has its specialty rice dish. Seasoned rice is served with papaya, coconut, or eggs on different islands. Many Caribbean meals use steamed brown rice as a side dish.
Dessert is also an essential component of Caribbean food culture. Sugar cane is a major crop in the area, so there’s usually a range of cakes, pastries, and pies to choose from. Almost every Caribbean meal includes dessert. In their culture, dessert is equally as significant as the main dish.
Essential Caribbean Recipes
The most popular and iconic Caribbean dish is dry-seasoned jerk chicken. This fiery dish is enjoyed throughout the region and is a must-try for newcomers to Caribbean cuisine.
Callaloo soup is the national dish of Dominica. This creamy soup uses green vegetables like spinach, as well as herbs, spices, chicken, and coconut milk.
Another Caribbean favorite is stewed saltfish with dumplings. This hearty dish is served with spicy plantains and breadfruit. It is often eaten as a breakfast meal.
If these Caribbean recipes are making you hungry, click here for 5 more must-try dishes.
Caribbean Cuisine: Get Inspired
The islands of the Caribbean sea are awash with vibrant and exciting dishes to try. Whether you’re planning to visit the Caribbean or try cooking Caribbean cuisine at home, we hope this guide has inspired you.
If you enjoyed this article, why not check out the rest of our blog for everything you need to know about food, travel, leisure, and much more.