Caribbean food is just starting to become more popular in the restaurant setting. As such, you may not have been to a Caribbean restaurant before. If one pops up in your area, it is definitely worth a visit. Although many of the dishes are sure to be delicious, here are a few of the top ones you'll want to try.
Crab and Callaloo
If you see this on the menu and you enjoy fish, definitely place your order. This dish hails from Trinidad and Tobago, and it's a stewed treat that's really satisfying in the summer heat. The base of the dish is a leafy green vegetable called callaloo. It's like a cross between spinach and kale, and it cooks down beautifully. The flavor comes from chunks of crab meat along with chile peppers and other spices. Sometimes a hint of coconut milk is added for creaminess.
If you like fried food and are looking for an appetizer you can pick up and eat with your fingers, then conch fritters are an excellent choice. Americans rarely eat conch, but you've probably seen a conch shell on the beach. These sea creatures, which are similar to snails, are eaten in many different ways throughout the Caribbean. However, fried conch is a Bahamian specialty and a good way to try the conch for the first time. Often, the frying batter is seasoned with celery, chile peppers, and onions for plenty of flavor.
This dish, which hails from the Dominican Republic, is made primarily from red beans and rice. However, it is quite different from the red beans and rice that you've probably had in Mexican restaurants. This dish is made with bits of meat — usually beef — and green vegetables. La Bandera is very filling, and even a small portion makes for a most excellent lunch.
Don't let the name of this dish turn you off. It is a soup made with stewed goat meat, green papaya, and breadfruit. Often, other vegetables like onion and tomato are added. The soup is simmered for hours, which allows the broth to thicken, and it's usually served along with rice and bread for dipping. Goat water traces back to Montserrat, but it's common in various pockets throughout the Caribbean.
As you can see, Caribbean cuisine is quite varied. You probably won't find all of these items at any one restaurant, but if you see one of them, it's worth a try.
To learn more, contact a Caribbean restaurant.