Paris Permenter & John Bigley's
Caribbean Family Tripper travel guide

Your guide to Caribbean family vacations from a husband-wife team of professional travel writers and guidebook authors.

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Caribbean Cuisine

Also see: What's on the Menu?

For most Caribbean travelers, dining is an important part of their trip. After all, not everyone will snorkel, scuba dive, or fish, but everyone eats three times a day. It’s also a chance to further delve into a national culture, to learn more about the bounty of the land and the sea.

A richly diverse region, the Caribbean presents a full menu of offerings that reflect the many cultures that settled this area. From East Indian rotis served throughout Trinidad and Tobago to Dutch keshi yena served on Aruba, Curaçao, and St. Maarten, the islands are a cornucopia of cultures and cuisines.

One thing island cuisines have in common is attention to flavor. Dishes are rich with flavor and are often spicy. Some dishes trace their origin back to the earliest days of the island when the Arawak Indians first barbecued meats. Later, distinctive seasonings were developed by Africans who came to the islands as slaves. A century later, Chinese and East Indian influences made their way to the islands, when indentured laborers who replaced slaves after emancipation also brought their own culinary talents. Today curried dishes grace nearly every menu, using local meats such as goat, chicken, and seafood.

You will find, however, that at most resorts local dishes are “toned down” to more American tastes. Also, many resort restaurants also offer plenty of American dishes for even the pickiest eater in the family.

Beyond the resorts, you’ll find fast food outlets on many islands. Don’t laugh, even a trip to a fast food eatery can be a cultural experience. In Aruba, we enjoyed an inexpensive lunch under the golden arches, surrounded by locals speaking in Papiamento.



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