Food

Caribbean - Best Beach and Street Food

Eat Like a Local with These Six Must-Try Take-Outs

Bahamas/Caribbean
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By
Carol
Bareuther

BEACH BARS, FOOD TRUCKS and roadside stands are full of grab-and-go goodies perfect for a socially distanced picnic by the sea. These regional delicacies are made at down-to-earth eateries where you get a taste of the true Caribbean.

Choosing what to order may be daunting, because some of the most delicious specialties don't give a clue to their ingredients or what they may taste like by their names. So, trust a long-time local who has sampled them all and encourages you to give these Caribbean beach and street foods a try.

Callaloo with Fungi - Caribbean Take Out - Marinalife
Callaloo with Fungi by Dean Barnes

Callaloo

Beach shack restaurants, including places along the Prince Rupert Bay anchorage off Portsmouth, serve Dominica's national dish called callaloo. This green soupy stew, often topped with fungi, is a favorite take-out for breakfast and lunch.

On this lush island, the dish's main ingredients dasheen leaves, green bananas, pumpkins and yams grow abundantly. Coconut milk adds a creamy richness. Salt pork and land crabs are traditional proteins. However, shrimp, lobster and smoked turkey wings are often added, as are rib-sticking rectangular flour dumplings.

Cassava Bread

Take the road between St. Lucia's two major marinas, Rodney Bay in Gros Islet and Marigot Bay near Soufriere, and stop for a hearty snack of freshly baked cassava bread. The buying is as delicious as the eating, especially when you look around at the beautiful scenery. Out back and below the ramshackle wooden-built bakery, the men in this family-run operation tend to the cultivation of the cassava.

Cassava bread - caribbean takeout - marinalife
Cassava Bread from Events Company of St Lucia Inc (ECSL) and Fond Latisab Creole Park

Upstairs and inside, the women turn this root vegetable into a meal. Flavorings are added: sweet raisins, chocolate coconut and savory salt fish. No flour is used, so cassava bread is gluten-free. Hamburger bun-size disks of dough are placed on banana leaves and cooked until brown in a coal-fired copper. Eat hot or cold.

Fish and Fungi

One of the best places to purchase the U.S. Virgin Islands' national dish is from one of the food trucks parked near the sea at Coki Beach. The fish, typically red snapper, is simmered in an onion butter sauce and served whole with head and tail attached.

Locals will tell you the sweetest meat is in the head, and the eyes are a delicacy. On the side comes fungi, a creamy mound of cornmeal akin to polenta that is flecked with fresh okra. The dish dates back more than 200 years to when slaves received weekly rations of cornmeal and salt herring. Coki Beach is three miles west of the Red Hook marinas.

Longaniza - Caribbean Takeout - Marinalife
Longaniza at Restaurante la Sombra from Discover Puerto Rico[

Longaniza

Order this spicy pork sausage from one of the open-air eateries at Luquillo Beach, located six miles west of the Puerto Rican town of Fajardo and its marinas. This cross between Spanish chorizo and Portuguese linguica is soft on the inside, crispy on the outside and unmistakably red in hue due to the addition of annatto seeds.

The most common trio of sides is alcapurrias (meat-stuffed root vegetable fritters), empanadillas (small meat-filled fried turnovers) and rellenos de papa (beef-stuffed potato croquettes). Eat on the lovely palm-lined beach, where you'll usually find live Latin music on weekends.

Roti

Strictly speaking, roti is an East Indian- style flatbread made just with wheat flour or with cooked, pulverized split peas incorporated into the flour dough. The dough is rolled tortilla thin and then griddle baked.

However, what arrives when you order a roti doesn't stop there. Whether it's served in Trinidad where East Indian immigrants brought the dish in the 1800s, or elsewhere like in the British Virgin Islands and Jamaica, roti refers to the roti bread wrapped around a curried filling sandwich-style. Beef, goat, chicken and conch along with potatoes, carrots and green peas are popular fillings. Vegetarian- type roti is often available, as are condiments such as mango chutney and Scotch bonnet pepper sauce. In Trinidad, a lip-smacking roti is in easy reach of the boatyards and marinas in Chaguaramas and near the Trinidad & Tobago Yacht Club in Port of Spain.

Stuffed crab back - Caribbean takeout - marinalife
Stuffed Crab Back from l'Office de Tourisme de Saint Martin

Stuffed Crab Back

Just like it sounds, crabmeat is cooked with seasonings such as onion, Worcestershire sauce and a dash of hot pepper. Then, this mixture is stuffed back into the crab's shell where it's sprinkled with breadcrumbs and broiled until hot. What makes this different is that on St. Martin, at the Lolo's (locally owned, locally operated) or open-air food stands in Grand Case, the star of the show is the local blue land crab.

The recipe really starts days in advance when these crustaceans are hunted by flashlight at night when they skitter from their burrows across mangrove swamps and salt ponds. Once caught, the crabs are caged and fed plenty of freshwater and cornmeal for several days to purge them of potential toxins and make them safe to eat. At this point, the crabs are cooked and crab back-making begins. The Lolo's are three miles east of the marina in Marigot, the capital of French St. Martin.

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Rum, Reggae & Spies!
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The beach at Fleming Villa | Source GoldenEye

In my quest for the best Caribbean Rum, I’ve sampled a few. From Appleton to Ron Zacapa rum, my tastebuds have celebrated the luscious flavors borne from fermenting sugarcane into smooth amber elixirs.

In the pursuit of rum perfection, I’ve noticed that a well-designed label can give clues about what awaits inside the bottle. Many simply present the distiller’s name and location where a rum derives its unique flavors. But it’s hard to resist the image of a crusty old captain, pirate ship or sassy sea wench when pouring a hefty splash into a tumbler.

Curious rum aficionados like myself are always eager to hear the back story behind the libation in our hand. Like a slice of pineapple or lime wedged upon the rim of a glass, the history of a rum’s journey from the Caribbean to our lips can make a cocktail taste even sweeter.

I recently stumbled upon the extraordinary tale that intertwines Jamaican rum, world- class musicians and James Bond. To fully appreciate this unique saga, follow my lead and shake up a GoldenEye Cocktail (see recipe below) to sip while the story unfolds.

THE SPY WHO LOVED JAMAICA

James Bond Dr No Poster Credit Flickr

Our story begins in 1939, when a London journalist named Ian Fleming joined the British Navy Intelligence Service. His unit specialized in military espionage and covert plans to thwart German aggression in Europe and the Caribbean.

During World War II, Fleming was engaged in Operation GoldenEye, and in 1942 he was sent to investigate suspicions about Nazi submarines in the Caribbean. During this deployment, he became enamored with Jamaica and vowed to live there some day.

When the war was over, Fleming returned to Jamaica and bought 15 acres of plush land that was once used as a donkey racetrack. In 1945, he built a house not far from the banana port town of Oracabessa Bay, and the seaside property became Fleming’s tropical sanctuary where he could focus on writing and the discrete task of taking previously tight-held secrets into a public, fictional genre.

He named the estate GoldenEye as a tribute to his Navy service and began working on a book that evolved around the dashing spy and Special Agent 007, James Bond. This protagonist would emerge as the amalgamation of agents he’d met during his maritime service. As an avid birdwatcher, Fleming took the name for his lead character from American ornithologist James Bond, an expert on Caribbean birds, who wrote the definitive field guide, Birds of the West Indies.

Fleming’s first spy novel, Casino Royale, was published in 1952. This book and all 13 in the James Bond series were written in his bedroom at GoldenEye. Three of them — Dr. No, Live and Let Die, and The Man with the Golden Gun — take place in Jamaica.

STIR IT UP

Chris Blackwell | Credit GoldenEye

Not only did the breezy island life at GoldenEye inspire Fleming’s novels, but so did his fetching neighbor, Blanche Blackwell. She was the muse who helped spark his creative drive. The Blackwell family had lived in Jamaica since 1625, exporting bananas and coconuts and crafting a distinctive brand of rum.

Blanche’s son Chris Blackwell grew up between England and Jamaica, and in his childhood spent a good amount of time with Fleming. In 1954, after Blackwell got booted from an elite British school for rebellious behavior, he came back to the island to get involved in the family rum business. Contrary to plan, he followed his instincts and made a career choice that would dramatically alter the global music scene.

For a while, he kicked around working as the aide-de-camp to the governor and as a waterskiing instructor. But after hearing the blind pianist Lance Heywood play at the Half Moon Resort, Blackwell recorded the musician, and in 1959 he launched a music studio called Island Records. In sync with his unconventional style, it became known for discovering and nurturing innovative performers who had been shrugged off or overlooked by bigger record labels.

Island Records introduced the world outside of the Caribbean to Bob Marley and the Wailers and Jamaican reggae music, showcasing island culture and universal struggles of indigenous people. It launched British bands such as Traffic, Bad Company, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Roxy Music, King Crimson and Fairport Convention. It also cultivated artists such as Cat Stevens, Brian Eno, Grace Jones, Marianne Faithfull, Tom Waits and the Irish band, U2.

Throughout his success in the music industry, Blackwell remained in contact with Fleming and his projects. When the first Bond movie, Dr. No, was filmed in Jamaica in 1962, Blackwell was hired as a location scout and consulted on the soundtrack. Sir Sean Connery, whom Blackwell had met during the filming of Dr. No, remained a friend until his passing in 2020. Using a family recipe, Blackwell launched his boutique rum in 2008 that is distributed around the globe.

Live and Let Die was filmed in 1973 on the Blackwell Estate, which now includes The Fleming Villa. Scenes from the movie were shot near GoldenEye, Blackwell’s luxury hotel in Jamaica. The latest Bond flick, No Time to Die, returns to the exquisite Jamaican backdrop of GoldenEye, and the production team was treated to a supply of Blackwell Rum for inspiration while filming.

TO CELEBRATE 60 YEARS OF JAMES BOND, a special bottle of Blackwell Rum has been released, along with a new memoir by Chris Blackwell, The Islander: My Life in Music and Beyond. If you’re cruising around Jamaica this winter, cue up some Bob Marley tunes, open a bottle of Blackwell’s 007 Rum, and shake it (don’t stir) with pineapple juice and ice to create the GoldenEye Cocktail. And if you’re nestled in at home in a colder climate and dreaming about the Caribbean, we suggest watching a Bond flick and warming up with the Toasted Toddy.

GoldenEye | Credit GoldenEye

GOLDENEYE COCKTAIL

INGREDIENTS:

-1 part Blackwell Rum

-1 part pineapple juice

-Lime or pineapple wedge

INSTRUCTIONS:

Shake together and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime or pineapple wedge

Toasty Toddy | Credit GoldenEye

TOASTY TODDY

INGREDIENTS:

-3 parts Blackwell Rum

-2 teaspoons brown sugar

-1 1⁄2 parts fresh lemon juice

-6 parts boiling water

INSTRUCTIONS:

Add all ingredients to a mug, except for the water. Pour in the boiling water, Stir well to blend

Read More
Holiday Cocktails for Any Time of Day
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If you can’t decide which cocktails to make for your holiday party, or simply need a little cheer to get you through the mayhem of family, friends and festivities, Marinalife has got you covered! 

Check out our favorite seasonal cocktail recipes to help you reduce the stress and enjoy this holiday season all day long.

BREAKFAST

close up view of a red drink
Christmas Morning Punch | Credit Kozak-Salo, Getty Images

Christmas Morning Punch

A sweet treat to get your day started

Ingredients:
4 oz. raspberry vodka
2 cups orange juice
2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup ginger ale

Instructions:
Combine ingredients in a pitcher, stir and serve cold.

LUNCH

Christmas Margarita

A zesty fun drink for any festive occasion

red drinks and red cranberries surrounding the cup
Christmas Margarita | Credit Chernishev, Getty Images

Ingredients:
2 oz. gold tequila
½ oz. orange liqueur
3 oz. cranberry juice
1 oz. pomegranate juice
½ oz. Key Lime juice
2 tsp. simple syrup

Instructions:
For a salted rim, fill a small plate with simple syrup and swirl your glass rim in it, then dip into a plate of margarita salt and fill your glass with ice. In a separate cocktail shaker, fill with light ice and the ingredients. Shake and strain into your glass and garnish with a lime or orange. 

DINNER

blue drink in a small glass with lemons on the side
Jack Frost | Credit bhofack2, Getty Images

Jack Frost

A creamy delight to enjoy in your PJs when the kids go to bed

Ingredients:
½ cup light rum
½ cup Blue Curaçao liqueur
½ cup cream of coconut
1 cup pineapple juice

Instructions:
For a coconut rim, fill a small plate with light corn syrup or simple syrup and swirl your glass rim in it, then dip into a plate of coconut flakes. Use a blender or fill a shaker with ice and ingredients and shake well for foamy results. Strain into glass and enjoy!

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Nautical-Inspired Cocktails for Fall
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As the leaves fall and turn to brown, our palette changes from strawberry and watermelon summer flavors to more autumnal pumpkin and apple-flavored treats. Spiced rum is a perfect spirit to enjoy this season, so we chose Captain Morgan as the main ingredient for two cocktail variations. Whether you wrap up in a cozy blanket or entertain friends on your boat, you can drink like a ship captain with the following fall recipes.

A red cocktail with seasonal fruit
Fall Cocktail | Source Veselova Elena from Getty Images

The Captain Cider

Ingredients:

1.5 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
1.5 oz Cranberry juice
1.5 oz Hard apple cider

Instructions:

Fill a rocks glass with ice and combine all ingredients. Gently stir and garnish with a cranberry and apple slice.

Hot apple cider in a glass cup on a tree stump
Hot Apple Cider | Source Wendy Melgar from Getty Images

Hot Captain Cider

Ingredients:

2 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
6 oz Fresh apple cider

Instructions:

Combine the rum and apple cider in a small pot and microwave or heat over a stove. Carefully pour drink into a mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple slice.

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