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Caribbean Cuisine You Must Try on Your Vacation

11 Sep

Caribbean Cuisine You Must Try on Your Vacation 

Trying different dishes is one of the most exciting ways to immerse yourself in a new area and taste the local culture. Caribbean cuisine is no expectation. When vacationing on the tropical islands, be sure to try some of the most famous foods the Caribbean countries and territories are known for. 

This blog will guide you through the signature dishes of the Caribbean that you must try before returning home. Continue reading to discover delicious, unique, and flavor-packed Caribbean foods. 

Conch Fritters 

A staple in Caribbean cuisine is a small plate of crispy conch fritters. Especially in the Bahamas, most local restaurants feature this deep-fried seafood as an appetizer served before a meal or shared with friends over tasty rum-based beverages.  

The finely chopped conch meat comes from the conch shell– You know, the giant shell with a pretty pink inside that you can hold to your ear and hear the roaring ocean waves? Well, you can only wear the music of the sea when the shell is empty. Alive conch critters have a meaty sea snail that is delicious when fired but challenging to find and remove from the beautiful shell. 

So, before heading home from your Caribbean getaway, enjoy a plate of classic conch fritters. 

Jerk Chicken 

Jerk chicken can be found all over the Caribbean islands, but it is most common in Jamaica, where all the famous jerk restaurants are. This spicy smoked chicken dish is one of the most popular and beloved of all Caribbean cuisine, and for good reason.  

The chicken is marinated in spices and herbs, including peppers, allspice, garlic, thyme, and more. Traditionally, the chicken is smoked over pimento wood, giving the chicken that signature smoky flavor. However, it can also be prepared on a gas grill, slow cooker, or stovetop.  

Caribbean jerk chicken is worth a few tries because the blend of spices varies depending on where you order it from. Most restaurants and families have their own twist on the classic recipe, making it match their preferences or stand out among others.  


You can’t visit Trinidad without digging into the popular street food called doubles. Food carts line the busy streets and make it impossible to pass by without a quick bite. The savory aromas of the various Caribbean dishes are tempting, especially when there’s a cart selling Trinidad doubles in the mix. 

Doubles are made of a seasoned chickpea filling sandwiched between two pieces of soft fried bread and served in a wax paper pouch. It’s conveniently portable, filing, and packed with flavor, which makes it so popular on the streets. 


Like several other long-lasting Caribbean dishes, Fungee originated as a quick, simple, and cheap meal for the slave population. Today, it is considered the national dish of Antigua and Barbuda and is served on just about every island in the region.  

Fungee is made of slow-cooked cornmeal seasoned with salt and sometimes garlic, mixed with chopped okra and butter or oil, then formed into a patty-like shape. It’s most commonly eaten as a side dish to traditional stews, including pepperpot.  

Ackee and Saltfish 

Ackee and salt fish is recognized as Jamaica’s national dish and can be enjoyed all over the Caribbean region. It’s a traditional recipe involving salted codfish sauteed in ackee fruit, other veggies, and seasonings.  

Locals enjoy ackee and saltfish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner– It’s just that good! Ackee is a unique fruit that can only be eaten when prepared properly. Unripe, ackee is toxic. However, for a Jamaican chef, the preparation is well-known. When the fruit ripens, the cook will harvest the arils or ‘meat’ of the fruit, clean it, and then boil it in salt water. It has a nutty flavor and soft texture contrasting with salty cod. 


Monfongo is another widespread dish in Caribbean cuisine with a rich history and is still loved today. Most common in Puerto Rico, the African-influenced recipe consists of mashed unripe plantains combined with bacon or something similar, island spices, and boiled in a broth. 

Like many of the dishes on the list, wherever you go, the overall taste of mofongo differs due to the varied takes on the recipe. 


Speaking of plantains, this banana-like fruit is a staple in Caribbean cuisine and is prepared in many ways. They are often served plain, fried with oil or butter and possibly seasoned with a bit of salt to produce a sweet bite with a subtly crisp outside. Fried plantains are served much like french fries would be, as a side dish to a wide variety of meals. 

Spiced plantains are a bit more like potato chips. They are sliced thinner, well-seasoned with island spices, and deep-fried to a golden color and extra crispy texture. They are typically thicker than the classic potato chip, so you can still enjoy the sweetness inside. 


You will almost always find a massive pot of pepperpot stew slowly cooked at large family gatherings or events. It’s a typical dish made to serve many people. The recipe is most common in Jamaica, but it can also be found on other islands nearby.  

It’s a stew made of tender pieces of beef, onions, ginger, chili, herbs, garlic, and more. Often, sweet potatoes are added in the last few minutes of the long cooking process, and spinach is added when it’s time to serve it up! 


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