If you were to take someone to a Caribbean restaurant without telling them anything about the cuisine, they may be a little perplexed. Caribbean food is so vast and varied that it can sometimes feel unapproachable or mysterious, even when it's already in front of you. However, the right knowledge and context can help it all make sense. Here are some key facts about Caribbean cuisine that will help you better enjoy and understand the dishes you're served.
Caribbean cuisine is a fusion cuisine.
People often assume Caribbean cuisine is only the dishes made by natives to the Caribbean islands. This isn't really the case. Yes, there are some native influences in the cuisine, but it has also been shaped by the various other cultures who have visited and settled the Caribbean over the years. When the Spanish came to Cuba and Puerto Rico, they brought elements of their cuisine with them. When the British came to the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and St. Lucia, they brought their food. The French brought their influence, and the Dutch brought theirs. So, if the Caribbean food you're served seems like it's a blend of various cuisine and cultures, that's because it is!
Caribbean cuisine comes from many different islands.
The Caribbean islands are not as alike as many people presume them to be. Jamaica, for example, has quite a different culture from that of Haiti or Barbados. Along with a different culture comes different food.
It can help to think of Caribbean cuisine as a big umbrella with many other sub-cuisines underneath it. Costa Rican cuisine, for example, is made with lots of fruits, veggies, and black beans. Haitian cuisine has a lot of French and Creole influences; you'll see bold and spicy flavors. Jamaican cuisine uses lots of fried dumplings and pastries, along with seafood.
Caribbean cuisine relies on foods locally available on the islands.
Although the cuisines in the Caribbean have developed with various European influences, they still had to be made with ingredients available on the islands. So, you'll see a lot of dishes made with root vegetables, like cassava and taro, and with seafood, like codfish and shrimp. Often, the flavors of the dish will be reminiscent of various European cuisines, but the base ingredients will be uniquely Caribbean.
Hopefully, this background shines a little light on what you're actually enjoying the next time you order Caribbean food. Enjoy!Share
9 August 2021
Ever since I started a gluten-free diet, I have had to pay special attention to what restaurants I dine in. I have found that many restaurants are making the changes to include several gluten-free options for people like me. How do you find these restaurants and what can you choose on a menu that isn't specifically made for gluten-free diets? This blog contains several tips for making your dining experiences pleasant and diet friendly. You will find many options of foods that are served at many restaurants so that you can go just about anywhere and find something that you will enjoy.