From jerk chicken to fried fish, you can find unique Caribbean cuisine around the world. But nothing beats the traditional dishes, nurtured for generations by true masters of their craft among the unassuming beach shacks and roadside vendors dotting the West Indian islands. Not able to fly out to the Caribbean for a meal just yet? You can check out a variety of island flavors at The Taste the Islands Experience, a Caribbean food festival set for April 26-28 in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
When you’re ready to sample the most authentic versions of these classic Caribbean flavors, check out our guide on these essential local spots to find the best the region has to offer.
Jerk: Boston Jerk Centre, Portland, Jamaica
That little spice jar in your pantry has nothing on the unadulterated jerk flavors you’ll experience at this iconic locale. First emerging in the 1940s, the Boston Jerk Center is a collective of 7 jerk pit vendors, often passed throughout the decades through generations of family members (along with their secret recipes). Classic jerk pork, chicken and seafood are cooked the traditional way by pit masters over pimento logs heated by hot coals, which are then covered with galvanized zinc to trap the flavorful smoke inside the succulent meat.
Conch: Arawak Cay, Nassau, The Bahamas
Whether fried, raw or grilled, conch is a truly versatile seafood. You can enjoy conch in all its delicious variations at Arawak Cay, a seaside stretch of over 30 seafood restaurants and al fresco stalls offering regional specialities from across The Bahamas. The area was established in the 1980s by local fishers seeking to take full advantage of their fresh catch. Favorite spots include one of the cay’s founding restaurants Goldie’s Conch House and Twin Brothers (once featured on “Top Chef All-Stars”).
Flying Fish: Oistins Fish Fry, Oistins, Barbados
When it comes to an authentic Barbadian fish fry, nothing beats weekends at Oistins, a small but vibrant fishing village on the south coast. The collection of vendors at the fish market expertly grill and fry the freshest catch of tuna, swordfish, marlin, mahi-mahi, and of course, the island’s iconic flying fish. They serve up delicious dishes every night of the week, but the area truly comes alive for the traditional fish fry on Fridays. If you’re in town in April, be sure to check out the annual Oistins Fish Festival.
Rum: Cruzan Rum Distillery, Frederiksted, St Croix
In the Caribbean, rum remains the undisputed king of cocktails. But behind the bottle is a rich heritage of dedication and craftsmanship. This spirit remains alive and well at the famed Cruzan Rum Distillery. First founded in the 1800s by the Nelthropp Family, the brand has become an iconic landmark of the U.S. Virgins Islands. Guests can explore the process firsthand through their distillery tour, from their fermentation tanks to their aging room filled with traditional oak barrels. And each tour ends with sampling a few of their delectable brews.
Remember, you can try all these flavors at “The 2019 Taste the Islands Experience”. For more information and to stay up to date on TTIX2019, please visit www.ttiexperience.com.