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  • A short guide to Caribbean cuisine

    The Caribbean is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in the world, thanks to its lovely islands with tropical beaches and hundreds of resorts. Caribbean culture, with its art and music and (of course)  food  is also one of the most important things that draws tourists to these islands.

    Of course, there are lots of differences between the various islands and nations that make up the Caribbean, but if you have the option of visiting more than one destinations, here’s a short guide to Caribbean cuisine.

    Since the Caribbean is such a multicultural mix, its cuisine has influenced from all over the world: African, Amerindian, British, Spanish, French, Dutch, Indian, and Chinese, changed to fit the tastes of the inhabitants and the ingredients available locally. Some of the most popular traditional Caribbean dishes.

    Mofongo

    photo by Arnold Gatilao

    This plantain-based dish is one of the traditional recipes of the Dominican Republic, but very similar dishes can be found in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

    Green plantains (or breadfruit) is fried and mashed up with some broth, garlic, friend bacon and olive oil, and shaped into a dumpling, which can be filled with things like chicken, seafood, vegetables or beef, and it is sometimes served with a rich stew sauce.

    Soup Joumou

    This mildly spicy squash soup is typical of Haitian cuisine, but it can be found in many other places in the Caribbean. This light soup is made with butternut squash, beef, potato, and vegetables, and seasoned with a variety of spices. The finished concoction is served hot with soup pasta, and sliced bread, which you are supposed to eat by dipping it into the soup.

    Fungi

    photo by Foodista

    Fungi is a national dish in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and the Virgin Islands (both UK and US), and it is a type of cornmeal polenta made with okra. Since the ingredients are so cheap, fungi is considered an everyday food, but it is still delicious, especially if you’re eating it for the first time.

    In Barbados, fungi (called cou-cou there) is served with flying fish, while in other places it can be served with beef stew.

    Ropa Vieja

    Ropa Vieja is a very interesting dish eaten in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominica and Panama, made of shredded flank steak prepared in tomato sauce. It can be served with a variety of side dishes, like rice, black beans, plantain, or fried yucca.Although the name of the dish, which means old clothes, is not very enticing, the food is really delicious.

    Ackee and Saltfish

    photo by Christina Xu

    This is a traditional dish in Jamaica, and probably the most well known dish in the country’s cuisine. It is made with salt cod sauteed with ackee fruit, onions, Scottish bonnets (the hottest chili in the world, so beware!) and all sorts of spices. The dish is eaten with fresh tomatoes and fried bacon, usually for breakfast or dinner.

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