Culinary curiosities in the Caribbean

Caribbean stew

Iguana stew ©trinidad sky/Flickr

First of all, let us establish something about Caribbean food: Caribbean food is, par excellence, unusual. Here in the Caribbean cuisines as different as French, African, Spanish, Asian have created an interesting blend. The region offers numerous exotic fruit and vegetables that grow nowhere else in the world. And not only is Caribbean food unique, but it is also extremely diverse: so that the food in Curacao can be radically different from the food in Jamaica, for example. Anyway, in case you are planning a vacation in the region and want to try something special, here are a few examples of culinary curiosities in the Caribbean:

Iguana meat

While some detest reptiles and some keep them as pets, Caribbean nations prefer them on a plate. Iguana meat is considered a delicacy in many Caribbean countries, including Aruba, Puerto Rico or Trinidad and Tobago. There are several ways of cooking an iguana, it seems: you can have it roasted, steamed or as part of a stew. However, you should also expect it to be quite spicy, as this is the Caribbean tradition.

Caribbean stew

Iguana stew ©trinidad sky/Flickr

 

Mountain chicken

The mysterious mountain chicken is very rare nowadays, and due to its endangered species status cannot be find in the menu of Caribbean restaurants. But few decades ago, the mountain chicken was considered a true feast. Now, what made this Caribbean animal so special? I mean, except for the fact that it was not a chicken, not even bird, but a giant tropical frog? Well, I guess it must be the well-known resemblance between chicken and frog’s legs that gave the animal its strange name.

Keshi-Jena

The Keshi-Jena, traditional to Aruba, is a classic mix of European and Caribbean food. While the origins of the dish  can easily be traced in the Colonial era, for some it might still be difficult to imagine how can food be served in the shell of a Gouda cheese. The filling, however, is very similar to a vegetable and chicken stew, fragrant and juicy.

Dutch cheese

Gouda specialty ©yashima/Flickr

Turtle Stew

It might be a bit weird to eat turtle after visiting one of the numerous turtle reservation in the Caribbean. However, turtle soup was famous from Antiquity, and turtle stew seems to be the national dish in Grand Cayman. You should know that most of the turtle’s soft parts – and even some bones – go into this stew, so don’t be surprise if you find all kind of weird pieces of meat. This is not to say that the dish is not tasty. And, to clear your conscience, remember that these turtles cooked in restaurants are raised in special farms, so you will not endanger the environment.

Caribbean food

Turtle soup ©Kent Wang/Flickr

Leave a Reply