Caribbean Cuisine History

Caribbean Cuisine is a unique blend of influences shaped by the history of the Caribbean inhabitants.

Fusion Cuisine at its best.

Caribbean Cuisine is fusion food at its best. It has a rich blend of vegetables and meat, flavoured with spices which are aromatic, tart, hot, sweet and pleasant to the palate. It is not too spicy, but for those who want hotness, extra hot pepper sauce is available.

Favourites include Jerk Chicken, Curry goat or Curry Mutton, Curry Chicken, Rice and Peas, Callaloo, Ackee $ Saltfish, Fried Plantain, Fried Dumpling and Roti.

Whatever the islands’ colonial past, a cuisine common to all of the islands of the Caribbean has developed because of the influx of ingredients and cooking styles of the European, Asian, African, and Indian and the seasonings shared by all of the islands.

The Arawaks were a society that relied on agriculture and fishing. They practiced subsistence farming. This means that they grew what they needed to survive and a small amount of excess for trading.

They planted many types of vegetables, such as cassava, peppers, beans, yams, and sweet potatoes.

Many dishes of Caribbean cuisine are served with cooked vegetables and white rice—introduced to the islands by Asian immigrants in the nineteenth century. Today rice is often combined with a variety of legumes, which are staples of the island’s cuisine.

Soups and other one-pot hearty meals used to be the mainstay of the plantation slaves who relied on only one dish for their daily nutrition. A typical soup, will contain, large pieces of vegetables, dumplings and meat.

The Caribbean’s Spanish heritage is evident in the variety of characteristically Spanish food preparations used in Costa Rica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic and throughout the Caribbean today. Paella and Zarzuela, both traditional Spanish dishes, are commonly prepared in the Caribbean.

Many pungent variations of barbecued pork, chicken, and fish are roasted over open fires called barbacoa. This was an influence from early settlers like the Maroons, and Spanish influences. Jerk, a popular method of barbecuing well-seasoned pork, chicken and fish, is now a thriving fast-food industry in Jamaica.

The French islands of the Caribbean, including Martinique and Guardeloup demonstrate a distinctly French biased – Creole cuisine.

Dutch influences can be found in Aruba and St Maarten

Influences from the British,  brought Patties which are similar to Cornish Pasties, and Irish potatoes.  The Indians brought rice, roti and curries.