The Caribbean is a group of islands stretching from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south and from the Atlantic, to the east and north. The climate is tropical with rainfall varying from island to island. Warm, moist Eastern trade winds create rainforest or arid regions on mountainous islands. The Caribbean is a holiday ‘hot-spot’ enjoying year-round sunshine.
Caribbean food is a fusion of African, American, European, East Indian, and Chinese cuisine and this blending of cultures reflects the way in which the Caribbean developed as a region. Subsequently each Island has created its own unique styles.
Traditional dishes are important to regional culture so the local version of Caribbean goat stew is the national dish of Montserrat and also one of the signature dishes of St. Kitts & Nevis. Another Caribbean dish is called "Cook-up", or Pelau Callaloo, a dish containing leafy vegetables and sometimes okra.
Seafood is also one of the most common Caribbean recipe delicacies. Each island has its own specialty. Some prepare lobster, while others prefer certain types of fish or shellfish including crab and conch.
Rice is a staple of Caribbean meals. It’s eaten with a variety of sauces and beans. Rice varies from island to island. Some rice is seasoned or has additives such as peas or coconut. Sometimes the rice is yellow, but other times it is part of a dish.
Other ingredients which are common in most islands' dishes apart from rice are plantains, beans, cassava, cilantro, bell peppers, chick peas, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, coconut, and any of various meats that are locally available such as beef, goat, poultry, pork or fish.
Jamaican food is a mix of cooking techniques, flavors, spices and influences from the indigenous islanders as well as the Spanish, British, Africans, and Chinese. Probably the most famous Jamaican dish is Jerk Chicken; Jerk is a highly seasoned form of BBQ. Other popular dishes include curry goat, fried dumplings, ackee and salt fish (cod) the national dish of Jamaica.
Barbados food the most famous dishes associated with Barbados is flying fish and cou cou, the skillfully boned flying fish is rolled and stewed in gravy. Cou cou is similar to polenta, but made with yellow corn meal but cooked with finely chopped okras, water and butter.
Trinidad & Tobago one of the most popular dishes is curry chicken and roti, adopted from Indian settlers. Other favourite dishes include: curry crab, curry shrimp, curry duck, curry aloo (potato), stewed chicken, breadfruit oil down and macaroni pie.
Grenada a number of special dishes reflects the cultural diversity of Grenada. The national dish, Oil Down (pronounced ile dung), is a combination of breadfruit, coconut milk, turmeric, dumplings, callaloo, and salted meat such as saltfish accra, smoked herring or salt beef.