Don't Miss These Caribbean Dishes on Your Cruise Vacation
Heading to tropical waters on a Caribbean cruise is more than just beaches and salt water. You’ll also have the opportunity to try new cuisine in each cruise port you visit. The Caribbean is especially known for its spices and seafood as well as incorporating locally grown vegetables and fruits into its dishes.
If you want to make sure you get a good taste of what Caribbean cuisine is all about, try these 10 Caribbean dishes during your cruise vacation.
Caribbean Dish to Try #1: Saltfish
If you love salty foods, then just the name of this seafood dish probably gets your mouth watering. Saltfish is typically made from cod, snapper, or pollock and involves preserving the fish by salt-curing it and drying out all the water. Once ready to be feasted upon, the preserved saltfish is typically soaked in water overnight to remove most of the salt – but not all of it! – in order to give it a flavorful taste. Then the saltfish is often mixed with rice and veggies or turned into fritters. Saltfish is most commonly seen on the menu in Jamaica, where it’s the national dish when mixed with ackee fruit. If consuming the national dish, make sure the fruit is ripe and prepared correctly – unripe ackee is poisonous.
Caribbean Dish to Try #2: Jerk Chicken
Another popular Caribbean dish that is popular in Jamaica is jerk chicken. This spicy chicken dish is created by rubbing the chicken in a spice mixture made with cayenne pepper, allspice, cinnamon, thyme, and cloves. You can also find this jerk rub on other types of meat for a spice-infused entrée, though it’s most known for being on chicken.
Caribbean Dish to Try #3: Plantains
Plantains are grown all over the Caribbean. While technically a fruit that is part of the banana family, they are more often used like a vegetable in Caribbean dishes. Plantains look like a banana and you peel it similarly, but unlike a banana, plantains taste much better when cooked and are rarely eaten raw. In the Caribbean, a popular way to eat plantains is grilled or fried and serving them as a side dish.
If in port in Puerto Rico during your cruise, you must try the island’s popular mofongo dish, which molds fried plantains into the form of a bowl, which is then filled with meat, seafood, or vegetables.
Caribbean Dish to Try #4: Sada Roti
Sada roti is a type of flatbread made from white flour that is often consumed with vegetables or meat-based meals in the Caribbean, though it’s also common to spread butter or jam on it and have it for a snack. Variations of sada roti can be found throughout the Caribbean.
Caribbean Dish to Try #5: Flying Fish
While in port in Barbados, you must try the island’s national dish, which also has quite a fun name: flying fish. This type of fish is found in the waters off the coast of Barbados and gets its name from the fact that it can skim over the top of the water for up to 200 feet due to its wide wing-like side fins. Flying fish is also quite tasty, especially when served in traditional ways in Barbados, such as fried in breadcrumbs tossed with Bajan seasoning or covered in butter and tomato-based gravy with hints of lime and onion. The latter is part of the Barbados national dish when paired with cou cou, a type of cornmeal prepared with okras, water, and butter and cooked to a firm consistency.
Caribbean Dish to Try #6: Shrimp with a Tropical Twist
Shrimp dishes can be found all around the Caribbean islands. For a Caribbean shrimp dish that will leave your taste buds happy, seek out a menu that has coconut shrimp or tequila lime shrimp on it.
Caribbean Dish to Try #7: Callaloo
The Caribbean dish of callaloo gets its name from the green leafy vegetables that serve as its core ingredient. The type of plant that callaloo is referring to when you hear it spoken in the Caribbean differs by island, and can be amaranth, taro, or water spinach. The callaloo dish is made from these greens and typically mixed with onions and scallions or okra and coconut milk, depending on the island.
Caribbean Dish to Try #8: Goat Stew
Goat may not be a type of meat you’re used to seeing on a menu, but in the Caribbean goat is often used in local dishes. Try it in goat stew, which is mixed with vegetables and lime and gets an extra spicy kick from the addition of curry flavoring.
Caribbean Dish to Try #9: Conch
If you haven’t heard of Conch, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with it before heading to the Bahamas. Conch (pronounced conk) is a type of sea urchin that is the national dish of the Bahamas. Conch is found in the waters surrounding the Bahamas and appears in many dishes. It is similar to calamari when prepared and is often served grilled or fried, and sometimes raw with dipping sauces.
Conch salad is a quintessential way to enjoy Conch while in the Bahamas. It comes mixed with tomatoes, onions, and green peppers and is dressed in lime and lemon juice.
Caribbean Dish to Try #10: Key Lime Pie
And now it’s time for dessert! At the very tip of the Caribbean Sea is Florida, and on the state’s southern shores is Key West, a popular port of call for Caribbean cruises that embark from Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Key West is known for its refreshing Key Lime Pie that is the perfect dessert on a hot, sunny day.
Key Lime Pie gets its creamy consistency from egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk mixed with (you guessed it) key lime juice and zest. The pie filling is served on a crunchy graham cracker crust and topped with whipped cream or meringue.
Which of those ten Caribbean dishes sound best to you? Don’t forget that another way to experience Caribbean flavors when in port in the Caribbean is by taking one of Celebrity Cruises’ fun and informative shore excursions.
Try Caribbean Dishes on a Chef’s Market Discoveries Shore Excursion
The Chef’s Market Discoveries series of shore excursions in particular are great for foodies. They are offered throughout the Caribbean and provide guests with ways to learn about the ingredients and cooking techniques of Caribbean cuisine while accompanied by a Celebrity Cruises chef. Chef’s Market Discoveries shore excursions also include a special meal back on the ship after your port excursion during which your chef will prepare a special menu for your tour group inspired by the food you just learned about on land.
To book your Caribbean cruise, visit Celebrity Cruises and find your perfect cruise itinerary. You can also reserve your airfare and shore excursions using Celebrity Cruises’ easy to navigate booking system.