Caribbean food with its impressive range of seafood dishes is an interesting blend of edibles from the African, European, Native American and Asian cuisines, apart from the indigenous Caribbean recipes. The esteemed goat-stew of the Caribbean cuisine is regarded as the national dish in Montserrat and is considered a representative of the cuisine of the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis. The other popular Caribbean foods include Pelau (Caribbeans also know it as Cook -Up. It is rice, meat and vegetables dish), Caribbean okra (a delicious hybrid of African and native Caribbean culinary contribution) and Callaloo (a dish made with greens). The "Flying fish" of the Barbados and the crab and Cascadura fish dishes of Tobago and Trinidad regions, are also counted as a part of popular Caribbean food.
Caribbean Food, with its interesting diversity of constituent dishes, can be classified as food contributed by a number of sub-cuisines as discussed below:
- Aruba Food - This is known for its seafood delicacies mainly characterized by a number of fish dishes. Snappers, mahi mahi and groupers seem to be their favorite ingredients for fish dishes.
- Dominican food -The normal meals consist of the usage of rice, vegetables, meat, coffee and milk and more importantly the usage of plantains in the fresh or cooked forms. Fried or mashed plantains and plantain dishes are a favorite of the Dominicans and are included in almost all courses of the Dominican meals.
- Bahamian Food- It is characterized by its vast range of seafood dishes made using conch (a kind of shell fishes), rock lobsters (better known as crawfish), and land crabs. A number of dishes of Bahamian cuisine are also made with Yellow tail fishes, Groupers and Red Snappers. Johnny Cake, Bahamian Stew (a fish stew), and fish and grits, are some of the typical dishes of this region.
- Haitian Food- The Caribbean recipes from this region are a blend of the contributions from the African, French and indigenous Taino cuisines. The Haitian recipes, mostly of Latin American, are chiefly made of rice, beans, vegetables like tomato and cabbage, and fruits like avocado. Banana and banana recipes serve the purpose of filler items in this Caribbean cuisine. They are used to complement meals and are also eaten as a snack. Rice and beans constitute the most favored staple meal though a dish called mais moulu ( a cornmeal preparation) is also consumed as a staple in the interior non-urban areas of the islands.
- Barbadian Food- Better known as food from the Barbados, it is one of the spiciest and most flavorful foods of the Caribbean Cuisine, on the whole. The Caribbean food of this region has its roots in the Spanish, Portugal, English and African cuisines. Seafood is obviously the most widely eaten food and it is used to complement rice dishes. Guava is a popular fruit amongst the people of this country. Flying fish, one of the well famed Barbadian dish which is eaten with onion and mustard sauce, and Peppernot, a highly spiced pork dish, are popular dishes of the region.
- Jamaican Food-It is influenced mostly by the African, British, Spanish, Chinese and Indian cuisines. Seafood, as typical of island cuisines, is one of the main ingredients of the Caribbean recipes of the regions. A dish consisting of a combination of Cod fish and Ackee (a Jamaican fruit) is regarded as the national dish of this region. Curry Goat is a spicy Indian influenced Jamaican special, served as an accompaniment to rice. Jamaican patties( a kind of a turnover with fillings of vegetables, meat( mostly ground beef), and/or cheese), plantain fry , and the usual rice and peas dish (made with kidney beans or pigeon peas) are some of the typical dishes of this Caribbean cuisine.
- Cuban Food- This Caribbean food is greatly influenced by the Spanish cuisine. After 1961, as ties between American and Cuba soured, the Cuban cuisine was compelled to adopt new types of foods owing to what was available to it locally and also to what it could import from other countries. Pasta, wheat, yogurt and chicken were some of the ingredients that became crucial elements of this Caribbean cuisine. Vegetables and fruits such as potatoes, bonitos, malanga and yucca are widely used for making Caribbean recipes. Pollo en salsa (sauced chicken), lechon asada( a roasted dish of pork made by slow paced roasting), and Moros y Christianos( a rice dish made with black beans ) are some of the typical dishes of the region. The Cuban tortilla is a modest omelet made of egg and does not bear any resemblance to the Mexican tortilla. The pizza is one of the favorites of the Cubans and it is made with a number of toppings which are commonly onion, ham or chorizo.
- Puerto Rican Food - the Caribbean food from this region resembles that from the Amerindian Tainos, the Spanish and African cuisines. Later, from the latter part of the 19th century, this Caribbean cuisine showed strong influence of the North American cuisine in terms of the ingredients used. Sofrito, a savory sautÃ©ed mixture of tomato, with onion, garlic and a variety of local peppers is one of the characteristic ingredients that are used for preparing a variety of Puerto Rican foods.