Nutrition Articles

Dining Out: Caribbean Cuisine

Restaurant-Specific Strategies

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Characteristics:

A combination of African and Spanish cooking, spices and fruits are its signature.

Common Ingredients:

Variety of seafood, spicy meats, tropical fruits, hot peppers, and root vegetables.
Hidden Dangers:
  • Rice and beans—If it’s plain and basic, that’s fine. But this is often coated in high-fat coconut milk.
  • Callaloo dishes usually contain salt pork and coconut milk.

Healthy Finds:
  • Jerk Chicken—smoked and seasoned with peppers, and served with a number of tropical fruits.
  • Stew Peas & Rice—pork or beef with kidney beans over rice. Often comes with flour dumplings called spinners.
  • Escoveitch Fish—marinated with vegetables, peppers and vinegar, and served over rice with plantains and fruit chutney.

The Big Tip:

Scotch bonnet peppers should throw up a red flag. Unless you LOVE the hottest of hot peppers, your mouth may regret it!

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Member Comments

  • It's good that there is an article on Caribbean food!

    At the same time, there is such a wide range of ethnic influences and local food variations from island to island that there is no way to effectively sum up "Caribbean food" in a single article.

    This particular article, for example, is really describing Jamaican food. Jerk chicken, spinners, and even the stewed beef and beans over rice are all characteristicall
    y Jamaican.

    Very different foods, such as flying fish and coocoo from Barbados, roti, callaloo and pelau from Trinidad, and pepperpot from Guyana are major Caribbean food finds, but they aren't reflected here. Even the description of the cultural influences reflects Jamaican culture, which is less diverse than other parts of the Caribbean. Guyana and Trinidad, for example, have large East Indian populations and significant cultural influences from India, especially in the kitchen. - 7/16/2014 12:36:29 PM
  • JOY_IS_LOSING
    This article must not include Cuban food in the Caribbean because it is generally not spicy. My husband is from Cuba so we eat it frequently especially with his family. Yummy!
    - 1/24/2010 9:17:16 AM
  • FLYING_V
    I just realised--callalo
    o = T&T gumbo LOL! - 5/1/2009 10:58:37 AM
  • FLYING_V
    In Jamaica "callaloo" is a green leafy veg. In Trinidad "callaloo" is a spicy stew made with that green leafy veg or dasheen (taro) greens, okra and seafood or meat. This can cause some confusion. The green leafy veg like all green leafy veg is low in calories and quite good for you. - 5/1/2009 10:55:41 AM
  • I had callaloo and cabbage for breakfast every morning when we went to Jamaica. There was no salt pork in it and it seemed to have been steamed and sauteed. Now, that was the only time I ever had callaloo (which is delicious, by the way). So, one time is not a good measure of how a dish is traditionally prepared. - 1/19/2009 5:48:02 PM
  • Callaloo dishes is not necessarily with salt pork nor cooked in coconut milk. Jamaicans have this as a main dish sometimes with codfish on the side. - 11/11/2008 10:30:04 AM
  • Great article. I will stay with FRUIT and FISH. - 4/23/2008 2:16:14 PM
  • We spent two weeks in Barbados, and I would recommend FISH. They have all kinds, and often you can order grilled, poached, etc. Seldom will you find it battered or crumbed, and you can avoid the fried stuff (!) on most menus. The fruit is out of this world, every type you can think of, and most of it fresh as can be. - 4/23/2008 7:55:34 AM
  • Advice just in time for my upcoming vacation to celebrate our 30th Anniversary. Good to know what to avoid! - 3/31/2008 9:08:36 AM
  • Good to know I don't have to give up going to some of my fave restauratns - 12/29/2007 9:49:34 PM

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