Embrace the Culture of the Caribbean though the Local Cuisine
Although your charter chefs will be preparing delicious meals for you aboard, and often drawing from local flavours and ingredients for inspiration, you still may want to venture ashore and try some of the foods that are special to the caribbean. You will find a mix of indigenous and imported ingredients from mangoes to lobster tails to bulls feet! Food is a big part of the cultural heritage of the virgin islands, so if you want to learn a bit about these islands, you will want to engage your tastebuds in the process.
This rich, heavy loaf is dubbed for the very clever way in which it’s made. The white flour dough often sweetened with coconut is placed into a skillet and set over hot coals. More hot coals are placed over the skillet’s lid to cook the bread from above and below until it’s toasted and brown. Dumb bread is usually cut into pie-shaped wedges, split in the middle and filled with cheddar cheese. “Cheese and Bread” is the popular breakfast for local workers.
These hand-sized rounds of fried bread are sold by themselves or with a fried chicken leg for a light lunch. The best that we have found are at Ms. Lucy’s on St. John.
Pronounced pahtay, these caribbean “hot pockets” are made from a flaky white flour dough that encloses a hot pepper-spiked mixture of ground beef, conch, salted codfish (called salt fish) or vegetables. The dough is wrapped around the mixture turn-over fashion and then deep-fried. You will find pate’s served almost everywhere from lunch trucks parked under trees along the side of the road, to convenience stores and gas stations. They are the favorite local “grab and go” meal. The best place for these is in St. John, Cruz Bay at Hurcules Pate Delight. After checking back into customs on your last day of charter, a stop there for a pate and a Red Stripe is a great way to re-charge before exploring the wonderful shops in Cruz Bay.
Our lobsters are all about the tail! The Caribbean Lobster differs from the Maine Lobster in that it does not have front claws. All of the meat is located in the tail. A favorite way of preparing the tails is split and barbecued on the grill. Anegada is famous for their BBQ’D lobsters as is Syndey’s Peace and Love or Abe’s in Little Harbor on Jost Van Dyke. Other chefs will chop up the meat and serve it in a curry sauce over rice.
Conch in Butter Sauce
These beautiful shellfish are a delicious local favorite. The meat is pressure cooked until it is extremely tender and then served in a butter sauce.
This delicious stew of local greens is a staple of the diets here. Spinach, okra and local greens are the base with often conch, fish or smoked pig tail added. Fungi is the typical accompaniment.
This mixture of cornmeal, water and butter is cooked and hand-stirred to become a mashed potato like consistency. It is served as a side dish and accompanies many of the local meals.
Like Conch these mollusks are harvested at limited times during the year and are considered a true island delicacy. They are typically served sautéed in garlic butter and served over rice. They are pronounced “Wilks” here.
Many islanders will argue over who makes the best roti, but they are all pretty delicious. Rotis are like warm tortillas with a chickpea flour wrapping enclosing a stewed filling of curried meat, seafood or vegetable filling.
This soupy stew is made with – you guess it -bull’s feet! A medley of vegetables such as peas and carrots as well as root vegetables such as yams, sweet potatoes and white potatoes are added to the meaty bull’s feet to create a very rich and densely flavored soup.
Firm-fleshed white fish such as red snapper or old wife is boiled or pan-fried and served whole with the head intact (locals say that the eyes are the best part!) in a creole sauce. Fungi is a typical accompaniment as well as fried plantain.
The large green bananas are very starchy and must be cooked to bring out the sweetness. Sliced thin and fried in oil, the plantains take on a delicious caramelized sweetness. They are a favorite side dish served with most meals. Plantain chips are also a favorite snack here.
This rich, meaty, flavorful stew’s main ingredient is goat meat with a mixture of root vegetables, greens, onions and carrots.