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Caribbean Food You Must Try on Vacation

25 Mar

Caribbean Food You Must Try on Vacation

People rave about the pristine beaches, warm turquoise sea, thrilling water sports, lush forests, rare wildlife, and colorful culture in the Caribbean. But one of the most memorable parts of a trip to paradise is the delicious Caribbean food!

The food in the Caribbean is unique and diverse, just like the other qualities that make it so special. This blog explores the Caribbean food you must try on your next trip. Plus, we answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Caribbean cuisine. 

Get ready for a culinary adventure!

The Top Caribbean Dishes to Try at Least Once

The Caribbean's Famous Jerk Chicken

Perhaps the most popular Caribbean food is jerk chicken, and its reputation is for good reason. This famous tropical dish is an art form! From the general description, it seems like a simple dish. Chicken is coated in spices and peppers, then smoked, slow-cooked, or grilled to perfection. However, mastering the balance of flavors is impressive and will surely give you a name in your community.

Jerk chicken is different everywhere you try it, so this is a Caribbean food you'll want to sample more than once!

Conch Fritters on Almost Every Menu!

Conch shells are well-known for their creamy pink spiral-life surface and iridescent inside. But did you know that a sea creature lives inside? In the Caribbean, conch is a popular dish that is often served as deep-fried conch fritters. 

Chefs will chop the conch meat, coat it in flour and egg batter, and deep fry it in oil. The final product is crisp and crunchy with a tender and sweet inside. Cronch fritters are found all over the Caribbean but are especially common in the Bahamas.

Jamaica's National Dish, Ackee and Saltfish 

A trip to Jamaica wouldn't be complete without a bite of the national dish, Ackee and Saltfish. Ackee is a tropical fruit with a thick skin and nutty, savory flavor native to West Africa. It was introduced to the Caribbean islands when enslaved Africans were brought overseas.

This unique dish is best left to experienced chefs and Caribbean residents. When prepared without knowledge, it can be poisonous! But when you know what you're working with, it is a culinary experience like no other.

Saltfish, or cod, is a staple of Caribbean cuisine, commonly accompanied by ackee and eaten for Breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

You Can't Go Wrong with a Side of Rice and Pigeon Peas

Rice and Pigeon Peas is a widespread Caribbean food, but particularly popular in Barbados, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. Dried beans and rice are simmered in a coconut broth with seasoning like garlic, spices, onion, and sweet peppers. You can enjoy this dish as a meal itself or a side for jerk chicken, pork chops, or seafood.

Try Variations of Fungee All Over the Caribbean

Fungee is another Caribbean food found all over the region and made uniquely, spending on where you get the chance to try it. It's essentially slow-cooked seasoned cornmeal with chopped okra, butter, salt, and other seasonings, like garlic. Think of it as a patty-like ball of bread similar to Italian polenta.


Callaloo plays a significant role in the adverse history of the Caribbean. It was brought from West Africa with the enslaved peoples and continues to be a popular dish, especially in Jamaica, Dominica, and Trinidad & Tobago.

It's a thick vegetable stew commonly with leafy greens, peppers, coconut milk, meats, seafood, and okra. However, it is made with various ingredients depending on where you are or who is cooking it. Callaloo is served at all times of the day, including breakfast.


Fried plantains are a stable Caribbean food that anyone can make easily at home. But, of course, the best fried plantains can only be experienced on the tropical islands of the Caribbean Sea!

Plantains can be found in markets and grocery stores all over the world. They look much like bananas, but the flavor differs greatly. To make a batch of Caribbean fried plantains, wait for the fruit to be semi-ripe or mostly yellow with little green remaining. Then, heat oil in a pan, slice the plantain into pieces about 1/4 inches thick and toss them to fry. After about ten minutes, they should be golden brown. Add a dash of salt, and take a bite! Fried plantains are sweet, delicious, and served as a side dish or snack.


If you're looking for the most unique Caribbean food on your trip to paradise, Mofongo should be at the top of your list! It's a recipe like no other.

Most popular in Puerto Rico, it is a tasty mix of textures and flavors served as a side or entre with meat, seafood, or vegetables. Fried green plantains are mashed and mixed with garlic and pork rinds using a wooden mortar and pestle.

Caribbean Food FAQs

Caribbean cuisine is exciting, flavorful, and full of tropical fruits, spices, and meats that are unique to the area and full of history. So, it's common for people unfamiliar with it to have many curiosities. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about Caribbean food.

What is the most popular Caribbean food?

The most popular Caribbean food is subject to opinion, but the most searched for and talked about are Fungee & Pepperpot and Jerk Chicken.

What defines Caribbean cuisine?

Caribbean food is influenced by African, Indigenous Caribbean, Indian, and European cuisines, producing dishes with vibrant flavors, tropical ingredients, and unique spices.

What is jerk seasoning?

Jerk seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices, like peppers, allspice, garlic, thyme, ginger, and more. It is a spicy wet or dry rub or marinade for chicken and other meats.

What are some common ingredients in Caribbean cooking?

The most common ingredients in Caribbean food are coconut milk, plantains, yams, cassava, sweet potatoes, mangos, pineapples, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves.

What are some popular Caribbean desserts?

The savory and sweet sides and main dishes of the Caribbean receive a lot of praise, but the desserts are just as unique and tasty! Some popular desserts are rum cake, pineapple upside-down cake, coconut tarts, banana fritters, and sweet potato pudding.

Are there vegetarian or vegan options in Caribbean cuisine?

Yes! Popular dishes, like vegetable curry, callaloo, stews, and fried plantains, are great options for the vegetarian or vegan diet. Plus, many other recipes can easily be altered to fit these diets.


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