1. Arroz con Gandules, Puerto Rico
You can’t get more Puerto Rican than Arroz con Gandules (pictured). A rice dish cooked with pigeon peas and pork shoulder, it’s an all time favorite between both visitors and locals. Make sure to order this dish with a side of tostones, (fried green plantains), and you’ll be in heaven!
2. Sancocho, Dominican Republic
A dish that is typically prepared only for special occasions since it takes hours to make, Sancocho is a stew with a variety of meats, vegetables and root vegetables. While this hearty dish may vary depending upon the region of the island you’re visiting, it will nevertheless bring you to a happy place, as it’s intended to!
3. Crab and Calaloo, Tobago
This thick dark green soup is a blend of baby calaloo (taro) leaves or spinach if calaloo isn’t available, spices and root vegetables. Crab is usually added to the soup and served whole in addition to rice, to make it a very healthy and satisfying main course.
4. Trini Doubles, Trinidad
This dish is about as Trini as you can get! After your first bite of this fried bara bread and curried channa (chickpea) filled concoction, you will be craving Doubles for the rest of your trip! This snack-sized sandwich can be topped off with tamarind or mango and a pinch of black pepper.
5. Colombo de Porc, Guadeloupe
Colombo is a signature spice of Guadeloupe, consisting of turmeric, brown mustard seed, hot pepper, coriander, West Indian bay leaf, thyme and black pepper. This Creole curried stew is typically made with pork and cooked in coconut milk, ginger and Colombo powder.
6. Accras de Morue, Martinique
Accras is one of the most common fritters across the Caribbean, with each island having it’s own recipe; however, Martinique has perfected it. Salted cod (morue) is the main ingredient, fried with flour and spices. Beware, they’re quite addicting!
7. Fish and Fungi, British Virgin Islands
Fungi, the Caribbean version of polenta, is a cornmeal mixture served with boiled fish. Topped with mayo or butter sauce, this dish is a staple of the BVIs and a must-try before you leave the islands.
8. Ayaca, Aruba
Typically served during the holiday season, Ayaca originated in Venezuela, but Aruba has made it it’s own. Chicken or pork are mixed with spices and ingredients ranging from raisins, olives, pickles, onions and cashews, then wrapped in banana or plantain leaves (ayaca) which are breaded with cornmeal dough. The finished product is then boiled to perfection and served on it’s own.
9. Keshi Yena, Curaçao
For all the cheese addicts out there, this is for you! What translates literally to “stuffed cheese,” this dish is made with the shell of an Edam cheese wheel, filled with chicken or minced meat, onions, celery, raisins, olives, peppers, tomatoes and parsley, then baked. A definite island favourite!
10. Karni Stoba, Bonaire
A hearty Caribbean beef or goat stew, cooked with carrots, rice and potatoes. Funchi (polenta) is a great choice for a side, as you’ll want it to soak up the sauce.