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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What's on the Menu?

While you'll find everything from sugary breakfast cereals to hot dogs and pizza on resort menus, most resorts include some local dishes on every menu. Here's a look at some Caribbean menu favorites:


• ackee and saltfish, the national dish of Jamaica. Ackee is a small fruit that is harvested only when it bursts and reveals its black seeds; before that time the fruit is poisonous. Ackee is cooked and resembles (and tastes) much like scrambled eggs.
• johnny cakes and boiled fish for breakfast in the Bahamas


pepperpot, a spicy stew
asopao, a chicken and rice soup in Puerto Rico.
stoba di cabrito (goat stew) in Curaçao


fried fish
stewed lamb with pan bati (pancake) on Dutch islands
keshi yena (a hollowed wheel of Edam cheese filled with meat and baked to combine flavors) on Dutch islands
conch (pronounced konk), a shellfish served chopped, battered and fried in conch fritters
grouper, a large fish caught in the waters just offshore, also appears on every menu
• flying fish
fried plantains
pattie, a turnover filled with spicy meat that’s a favorite lunch snack with locals in Jamaica
jerk, pork, chicken, or fish is marinated with a fiery mixture of spices including fiery Scotch bonnet peppers, pimento or allspice, nutmeg, escallion, and thyme. This is a favorite dish in Jamaica.
empanadillas, little meat turnovers in Puerto Rico.
roti, a burrito-like fast food that traces its roots to India; served in Trinidad and Tobago. Look for “buss up shot” at most diners; this is a roti that’s torn up like a “busted up shirt” and is eaten with a fork rather than by hand.

Side Dishes

peas (usually red beans or pigeon peas) and rice: the number one side dish in the Caribbean
cou-cou (a cornmeal and okra dish) in Barbados
jug-jug (a dish made of Guinea corn and green peas) in Barbados
christophine, a type of squash
dasheen (a root vegetable similar to a potato)
mofongo, fried plantains mixed with fried pork rinds and seasoned with garlic, in Puerto Rico
afungi, a pudding of cornmeal and okra
fungi (pronounced foon-gee), a tasty accompaniment that’s somewhat like cornbread dressing; in the Virgin Islands.


ducana, a pudding made from grated sweet potato and coconut, sugar, and spices, and boiled in a banana leaf
flan, a wonderful custard
tembleque, a custard made with coconut milk and sprinkled with cinnamon in Puerto Rico.



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