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11 Popular Food in the Caribbean to Excite Your Taste Buds

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Look beyond the white sand, turquoise water, and lush green forest of the Caribbean, you’ll find a cuisine just as wonderful as the landscape. Food in the Caribbean is an amalgamation of African, French, English, Chinese, Portuguese, Indian, and Spanish influences. And it’s full of variations from island to island. Continue reading to discover the X popular food in the Caribbean to excite your taste buds.

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Saltfish Buljol

How To Make Saltfish Buljol. Video Credit: @FoodieNation

A favorite Sunday morning breakfast, Saltfish Buljol is a salad dish of the cuisine of Tobago and Trinidad. It consists of tomatoes, chopped salted cod, and chillies. The name is of French origin. 

Ingredients 

  • Vegetable oil
  • Onion, chopped
  • Red bull pepper, chopped 
  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Salted cod fish
  • Lemon juice
  • Avocado peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • Pinched red pepper flakes

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Doubles

Trinidad Doubles Recipe. Video Credit: @CookingWithRia

Doubles is a popular and delicious street food snack in the Caribbean region, especially in Tobago and Trinidad islands. It’s made with channa (a spicy chickpea curry and barra (fried flatbreads). 

You’ll find doubles at most carnivals in the Caribbean as an on-the-go snack or a post-night treat. And they’re popular and just about the tastiest thing ever. 

The food name came from customers asking vendors to double up on barra to create a sandwich-like snack. 

Ackee and Saltfish

Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish Recipe. Video Credit: @davidandjody

This is a Jamaican national food prepared with salted cod fish and ackee. The dish is often enjoyed at breakfasttime, though it can also be eaten at any time of the day. 

Ackee and Saltfish are often served with yam, breadfruit, and banana. Other favorites include fried or boiled dumplings such as hard dough bread, and green or ripe plantains. 

Ingredients 

  • Boneless salted cod
  • Vegetable oil
  • Finely chopped onions
  • Garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Deseeded and finely chopped scotch bonnet pepper
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Ground pimento (allspice)
  • Green pepper
  • Cans ackee, drained

Tostones

Tostones Recipe. Video Credit: @Chefzeecooks

Popular throughout the Caribbean, Tostones are salty, crispy, savouring, and golden coin of pure deliciousness. The name Tostones came from the Spanish verb tostar which means “to toast.” 

Tostones are green plantains that are sliced, fried, flattened and refried again. This results in a tasty crispy craggy texture. They’re usually served with chilli sauce or garlic. 

Ingredients 

  • Green Plantains
  • Water
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Salt
  • Cloves of garlic

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Black Cake

Black Cake Recipe. Video Credit: @FoodieNation

The Caribbean black cake is popular for its dense texture, dark color, and robust and rich taste. Black cake is sought after and revered during Christmas, weddings, and other celebrations. 

Most people believe that the cake originated from the British figgy pudding, but changed over time in the Caribbean, incorporating local flavors and ingredients. If you come across black cake for the first time, it may be confused with chocolate cake. However, its appearance comes from its main ingredient – dried bread.

Ingredients 

  • Raisins
  • Pitted prunes
  • Sultanas
  • Candied red cherries
  • Port Wine
  • White Rum

Patty 

How To Make Jamaican Beef Patties. Video Credit: @Munchies

The Jamaica patty is a sim-circular pastry that contains many spices and fillings baked inside a flaky shape. It’s usually tinted gold-yellow with turmeric or egg yolk. 

Patty is made like a turnover as it’s formed by folding the circular dough cutout over the chosen filling. However, it’s more tasty and filled with ground meat. While it’s commonly found in Jamaica, the patty is eaten in other parts of the Caribbean.

Ingredients

  • Onion, finely chopped
  • Vegetable oil
  • Garlic cloves, crushed
  • Beef mince
  • Turmeric
  • Potato
  • Tomato puree
  • Hot pepper sauce
  • Egg, beaten
  • Block shortcrust
  • Green salad

Rice and Peas

How To Make Rice and Peas. Video Credit: @TERRIANNSKITCHEN

This is a Jamaican side food of red beans combined with coconut rice, perfumed with spices, and a whisper of warmth from chilli. It’s traditionally cooked on a stove although most people these days find it safer to cook in the oven. That’s because coconut milk has the ability to catch on the base. 

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The name rice and peas came to be because Jamaicans call red kidney beans peas. Rice and peas is a delicious meal and it’s among the tasty and popular food in the Caribbean that you should try out.

Ingredients 

  • Dried kidney beans
  • Onion
  • Garlic cloves
  • Scallions
  • Scotch bonnet pepper
  • allspice berries
  • Water
  • Unsweetened coconut milk
  • Long-grain white rice
  • Kosher salt
  • Grated fresh ginger
  • Thyme sprigs 
  • Allspice berries 

Ropa Vieja

How To Make Ropa Vieja. Video Credit: @NOTANOTHERCOOKINGSHOW

Ropa Vieja is the national food of Cuba. It’s a hearty stew made with tomato sauce, shredded beef, pepper, and onion. 

The stew is basically served with yellow rice and cold beer on the side. Like several other Cuban foods, Ropa Vieja originated from Spain. It was brought to Cuba and the entire Caribbean region by the Spaniards. 

Ingredients 

  • Yellow onion
  • Dried oregano
  • Ground cumin
  • Sweet paprika
  • Smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Dry white wine
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Chicken broth
  • Tomato paste
  • Carrots
  • Green olives

Flying Fish and Cou Cou

How To Make Bajan Flying Fish & Cou Cou. Video Credit: @BarbadosTourism

If you’re visiting Barbados in the Caribbean don’t leave without trying flying fish and cou cou. This meal is closely compared to polenta. 

When preparing flying fish and cou cou, okra and cornmeal are combined with local spices and water to form a mash-like paste. The flying fish is then steamed using light Bajan seasoning. 

Ingredients 

  • Flying fish fillets or sea bass fillets
  • Lime
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

Jerk

How To Make Jerk. Video Credit: @Munchies

The list of popular foods in the Caribbean to excite your taste buds will be incomplete without Jerk. It’s a cooking style that’s native to Jamaicans. When preparing jerk, meat is wet marinated or dry-rubbed with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. 

The jerk cooking style originated from the indigenous people in Jamaica from the Taino and Arawak tribes who intermingled with the Jamaican maroons. 

Ingredients 

  • Brown sugar
  • Allspices
  • Ginger
  • Garlic cloves
  • Scotch bonnet
  • Ground thyme
  • Spring onion
  • Soy sauce
  • Nutmeg

Pepperpot Stew

Caribbean Pepperpot stew with spillers dumplings. Video Credit: @jalebimancooking8974

This is a popular sharing meal in the Caribbean region. Locals in this region tend to cook large portions of it and share it during large gatherings of friends and families. At the center of pepperpot stew is beef, which is cooked very well to tender. 

Ingredients 

  • Scotch bonnet chilli
  • Onions
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Dried Thyme
  • Coconut milk
  • Beef stock
  • Cinnamon
  • Berries 

No visit to the Caribbean is complete without eating some of the popular and tasty meals. The use of fresh and local ingredients makes the Caribbean meal a delight to the taste buds. The 11 popular food in the Caribbean covered here are worth giving a bite. 

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Uchenna Agwu
Uchenna Agwu
Hi there! I’m Uchenna Agwu, and I love to write. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me reading books or watching documentaries (I’m a bit of a nerd). But I also like to get out and explore – whether that means going on hikes or checking out new restaurants.

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