Saturday, January 30, 2010

How was the Caribbean Food?

St Kitts Fisherman
Sidewalk Market
Frozen Meats at Grocery
Coconut Tree
Banana Tree
Caribbean Buffet
Yams and Sweet Potatoes
Caribbean Pumpkins
Nevis Bakery
Shipwreck Cafe - Ting
Conch Fritters
Puerto Rican Appetizer
Emerald Pools
Star Fruit
Coconut Water
Sugar Cane
St Lucia Market
Bread Fruit Tree
Used to make Drink
Root Vegetables

We loved the Caribbean food we had. Our first night in St. Kitts we ate at the Marriott's Calypso Restaurant which features local fruits, vegetables and fish. We enjoyed their buffet with pumpkin, fish and chicken dishes, and seafood soups.

On Saturday morning, we found one grocery store open (all were closed for the holiday as Jan 2 is the last day of Carnival). Look at the frozen meat section pictures: ox tail, bull foot, pig foot, etc. The frozen beef and chicken didn't look like what we'd want to eat so we bought a ham to boil. We ate that ham almost every night that week.

We enjoyed a very authentic Caribbean buffet meal at the Rawlins Plantation on St. Kitts. We ate jerked chicken, fish, curry chicken, fritters, johnny-cakes, rice, salads, pumpkin, tropical fruit, and more. We ate sitting on the verrandah overlooking the plantation gardens, pool and smokestack.

Our guide told us that no one should ever have to go hungry on the island because food grows all year round. Many have breadfruit trees but these trees were pretty well picked by this time on St. Kitts (never saw one here with breadfruit). Breadfruit is a common food that they roast, boil and cook with stew (goat meat stews). Most every home has a small vegetable garden and many sell their vegetables at roadside stands. Also bananas grow well on the island. There are many coconut trees but apparently Kittitians don't use much coconut in their cooking (more so on other islands).

There are many fishing villages and the fishermen come back to the shore with their catch and sell it right on the roadsides. After seeing these "cutting" tables, I was ok not buying any fish to cook!

We tried conch fritters and Ting at the Shipwreck Cafe at So. Friar's Bay (where the monkeys were fed). The fritters were great and Ting is the island made grapefruit soft drink - it tasted good too. In Nevis we stopped at a bakery and bought a spice bun, a piece of chocolate cake (rather bread like), a cinnamon roll and something else. They were good, but not as sweet as we eat in the states. Bakeries were very small businesses with not much variety. They did sell pumpkin and sweet potato pies.

A great treat when we were hungry (well we were never hungry really) after our little rainforest hike on Dominica, was the ripe bananas, candied coconut, chopped coconut pieces, sugar cane and plantain chips! They were also selling coconuts chopped tops of with a machete and with a straw to drink the coconut liquid. (We all had tried that in Hawaii and none of us liked it then).

On our cruise port day back at St. Kitt's we went to see the Farmer's market but it was a Friday and not many were selling their fruits, vegetables or meats. I took lots of pictures on almost every island of the produce stands. The colors and sights were so intriguing. There were tiny green and red bell peppers (our driver said they were delicious), avocados the size of the small pineapples,ginger root, bananas, green onion bunches, actual yams as well as sweet potatoes, green pumpkins (insides were orange and pretty much tasted like pumpkin), onions, cauliflower, cabbages, and a green vegetable (can't remember the name).

One disappointment was that the cruise ship didn't have a special meal based on traditional Caribbean foods. We would have preferred that over the Mexican buffet served late one night. I should have added that to our comment card! However, I am anxious for Carmela to share a favorite recipe from her little cookbook from Nevis and I found a great sounding Jamaican ginger cake recipe I'll have to try!

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