There is a lot of variety in Caribbean cuisine. If you've never visited a Caribbean restaurant before, you may initially feel a little overwhelmed by all of the options. Every dish is loaded with all sorts of flavors and many ingredients. In time, you will grow to know and love Caribbean cuisine for all that it has to offer, but your first time around, you may want to play it safe with one of these more approachable dishes.
Jerk chicken hails primarily from the island of Jamaica. It's a simple dish consisting of chicken that has been marinated and rubbed in a unique blend of spices. Jerk chicken is a bit spicy, but the spice has so much character, thanks to the use of warm spices like cinnamon and clove. Often, dark meat chicken is used, so the resulting meat is still nice and moist even though it has been roasted and caramelized on the outside.
If you enjoy seafood and fried food, then you must try some saltfish fritters at your local Caribbean restaurant. Salted cod is really common throughout the Caribbean since years ago, it could be stored without refrigeration. In this dish, the cod is combined with flour, egg, and a blend of herbs to make a fritter, which is then shallow or deep-fried for a light, crisp texture. These are usually intended to be more of an appetizer or first course, but you can totally make a meal out of them.
Crab and Callaloo
This is a fun dish to try because it is made with callaloo, a unique vegetable that's really only grown in the Caribbean. Callaloo is quite similar to spinach. It is green, leafy, and very nutritious. In this dish, it is typically combined with crab meat, coconut milk, spices, and chile peppers to make a creamy dish that may remind you of curry. It's warm and soothing on a chilly day.
Fungee and Pepperpot
Don't let the unfamiliar name scare you off; this dish is really just a beef and pork stew, although made in the Caribbean tradition. Fungee is similar to a dumpling. It's ball-shaped and made from a cornflour mixture, giving it a delightful texture. The fungee is served on top of a hearty stew made from okra, cassava root, beef, pork, and an array of spices.
Each of these Caribbean dishes is well worth a try. Place your order and enjoy.
Contact a local Caribbean restaurant to learn more.