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Best known for its big, hearty stews and curries embellished with spices, coconut milk and hot peppers, Caribbean food is the result of a wide range of different cultural influences. From the spicy pepperpots of the indigenous Arawaks and Caribs to the jerk seasonings brought in from Africa, as well as Indian roti Caribbean cuisine is a colourful hotchpotch of diverse flavours.
On Jamaica the cuisine includes a mixture of cooking techniques, flavors, spices and influences from the indigenous people of the island, as well as the Spanish, British, Africans, and Chinese who have all inhabited the island. Various dishes came to the island with the arrival of people from these different cultures. Other dishes are novel or a fusion of techniques and traditions. In addition to ingredients that are native to Jamaica, many foods have been introduced and are now grown locally. Popular Jamaican dishes include curry goat, fried dumplings, ackee and salt cod fish (which is the national dish), rice and peas, fried plantain, steamed cabbage and, of course, jerk chicken or pork.Because the Caribbean is multicultural, there are distinct regional differences in the authentic cuisines of the individual islands. Puerto Rico and Cuba have distinct Spanish-influenced food. Guadeloupe and Martinique are French-owned so their native cuisine has obvious ties to France. Jamaica, which was once a major slave-trading centre, is rich in African culture, even though it was a British colony until 1958 and only secured full independence in 1962.
Although it is difficult to generalize about Caribbean cuisine, it remains exquisite. Whether dining on conch in the Caymans or Callaloo in Tobago, or simply eating a passion fruit right off the tree, you can be sure that the Caribbean has a wonderful cuisine.