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Fat Guy

Best Food in Caribbean

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Does anyone have anything to say about the food on Provo (Turks & Caicos)?

Amazing to see anyone here talk about Provo.

Just left my job in the kitchen at a resort here; one which will go unnamed.

We aimed to be a "New York style fine-dining progressive restaurant"; a laughable goal for what remains to be such a beautifully unadulterated island. Most visitors come for pristine beaches and to experience local life and food; not to eat contrived foams and dusts that have been blatantly copied from the pages of the el Bulli cookbook.

For the amazingly low price of 20-something dollars, you could treat yourself to 24 pieces of boxed rigatoni (and I do mean 24: they are counted and plated in straight rows on the dish) made with processed cheese. Or opt for an ashtray-sized dish of granita for 12 dollars.

Besides the (very obvious) sour taste this job experience has left me with, the food elsewhere on the island is decent, downhome, casual fare. There's a stand called Sweet T's that's a small legend to expats on the island. It's literally a 3 foot shack in the middle of a dusty road. Hand a woman X amount of dollars and she will provide you with whatever amount of fried chicken she feels is worth the money. Five bucks can feed you for days.

Barefoot Cafe makes conch in about every variation possible: ceviche, fritters, cracked, even tempura.

Tiki Hut is simply fun and festive. Here they have a $12 chicken and rib night, complete with fishbowl-sized cocktails.

The few food experiences that are truly unique to the island are visits to the conch farm and the local brewery.

The island has many Jamaican, Haitian and Dominican immigrants so I happily live on a steady diet of amazing jerk chicken, rice and beans or pigeon peas.

Visitors to Turks and Caicos should come prepared to experience island life, while saving the fine dining for trips to NY and Europe. And I encourage those of you who are reading this, visit quickly because it is so quickly being overdeveloped that the island will soon no longer be as beautiful as it is today.


Edited by mdhl (log)

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Where are all the beautiful people? Does anyone go to St. Barth anymore? I can give you a few names there that I went to 4-5 years ago. Our favorite is the Lafayette Club outdoors on the beach (lunch only) that serves nicely-prepared, straight-forward bistro/grilled meat and fish. For more ambitious French food, the Hotel St. Barth-Ile de France was delicious. People make a big deal over the dining room of Le Toiny, but we were quite disappointed in our dinner. There are certainly newer places since my last visit. My info. is stale. I have to think that St. Barth has the best grub down there given that produce is flown in a couple times a week from Paris. I've also eaten at several places in Anguilla, but nothing as pleasureable as what I mentioned above. I actually was looking for someone who has been to Les Saintes, two small islands off of Guadalupe. Anyone been there or Guadalupe itself?

Robert,

Sorry for the mistakes above. I've been to Guadeloupe a number of times. The food there was quite good and they may get the nod over Martinique which used to be known for its cuisine. I was only in Martinique once in the 90's and found the fare to be quite good. Guadeloupe's cuisine tends to have more spice (piment!). We have been to Les Saintes twice on day trips and ate at some fine places for lunch.

Marie Galante is supposed to be like Guadeloupe was 20 years ago. Never went but heard many good things about the pace and cuisine.

On my last trip to Guadeloupe, I stayed on Basse Terre. I ate most of my meals at the apartment that I rented. The cook was the mother of a friend of mine. These were some of the best meals that I had on the island.


Edited by djzouke (log)

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Guadeloupe/Martinique, esp blaff and 'ti ponche

Jamaica/Trinidad, brown down stew, black cake, callaloo w/crabs

Theabroma


Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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My home country, Dominican Republic.

Sancocho, cortado de leche, rabo encendido, mondongo and pipiam de chivo.

and!! Mangu con queso con salami.

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My home country, Dominican Republic.

...and pipiam de chivo.

Please, please describe this. It sounds very interesting and I'm wondering if it's a lost relative of Mexican pepianes?

Regards,

Theabroma


Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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My home country, Dominican Republic.

...and pipiam de chivo.

Please, please describe this. It sounds very interesting and I'm wondering if it's a lost relative of Mexican pepianes?

Regards,

Theabroma

Hi Theabroma,

Pipiam de chivo a rich tomato based stew made from the organs of a goat excluding the intenstines (those are better fried :wub: ). Served with yucca. It is amazing.

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Hi, back, Dominicana!. I, too, adore tripitas, or intestines fried Mexican style. The pipiam, does the sauce also contain nuts or seeds of any kind? Like pepitas or ajonjoli? Fried or toasted and ground?

Thanks, and yum

!

Theabroma


Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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Hi, back, Dominicana!.  I, too, adore tripitas, or intestines fried Mexican style.  The pipiam, does the sauce also contain nuts or seeds of any kind?  Like pepitas or ajonjoli?  Fried or toasted and ground? 

Thanks, and yum

!

Theabroma

No, amazingly, I cannot think of a single dominican typical recipe that uses seeds. BUT! Now I want to taste Mexican pepianes.

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Theabroma,

Is this the Pipian you are talking about?  Do you know this brand?

http://www.mexgrocer.com/2506.html

-A

Edit: wrong account login-this is Dominicana on Mr. Dominicana's account

Yes, that's the one. Of the bottled and jarred mole and pepian pastes available in the States, none are really good ... Bueno is ok, and some are yucky. Sad, because you can buy excellent ones in the markets in Mexico, and the ingredients as a rule are not especially difficult to come by here in the US.

Basically, there is a green one, with pumpkin seeds, sometimes sesame seeds, chile serrano and often poblano, tomatillos, plus sometimes greens like chard, cilantro, lettuce, radish tops, hoja santa, etc. I find the line between a pepian verde and a mole verde very, very faint.

The red one has dried red chiles of the region, plus the seeds, nuts, spices, etc., and sometimes red tomatoes, sometimes not.

The green pepian is my favorite, especially with chicken or pork, and absolutely poetic on seafood. It is also fabulous on salmon.

You need to toast the seeds, and you need a good blender to grind everything thoroughly and smoothly. You can dilute it with either water or the appropriate stock. Then into the hot fat in the saute pan, and cook until the raw edge is cooked off, and it is thick and satiny.

Check Rick Bayless (see the salmon in pepian verde recipe) and Diana Kennedy for info and recipes. This dish is most common in Central and Eastern and Southeastern Mexico. It takes it's name from its main ingredient: pepitas, or squash seeds.

Theabroma


Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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I lived in the Caribbean for 4 years and have to say the food is generally horrible.  The main reason is that they just can't get great product over there.  I have seen chicken and meat shipped in on boats from the US and it looked pretty damaged and was definitely not kept cold.  If you eat anything, you should eat fish and other locally available items (as you should in any place).  Overall, i think Barbados, Trinidad and Puerto Rico have the best food although i have heard great things about Cuba but have never been.  I think the key is MORE PEOPLE=BETTER FOOD.  The smaller the island population, the worse the food since there is less available.

Trinidad is really unique since it has a great combination of Indian/Chinese/African influences which meld together in great ways.  My favorite thing there is a corn chowder they serve in huge vats right on the street.

To say that Caribbean food is generally horrible is not a fair statement. I'm a Jamaican, and I fully realise that those visiting the islands often restrict their eating to all inclusive resorts, hotels or restaurants which are set up to cater to the needs of the average tourist who would rather stick with familiar fare than venture into the flavours of the Caribbean.

I do agree with your observation that when here, one should eat locally available foods. In that way you can absolutely be guaranteed of absolute freshness of flavour ...and you can even have an adventure at the same time. When in Jamaica how about trying :

-Stew Peas and rice (red kidney beans stewed down with salted pigstail or salt beef with "spinners" served over a bed of white rice)

-Salt Mackerel and Banana (or you could have it simmered in Coconut milk in which case it would be "Rundown")

-Steam Fish with Bammie

-Curried conch

-Tripe and beans

or the old favourite Mannish water, followed by a dish of Curry goat and Rice (just to name a few dishes)

Each island has its own distinct cuisine , even the small ones. Eat as the natives do and you might find yourself returning for more!

That said you can also find good restaurants serving a fine array of international fare.

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I would respectfully nominate Anguilla as a phenomenal spot for superior food.

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I haven't noticed anyone in the chain mention Grand Cayman. Is there no food worthy of mention there? Does anyone have recommendations?

I would respectfully nominate Anguilla as a phenomenal spot for superior food.

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There's a beach restaurant on Guadeloupe called Bonne Maman. it's between St Francois and St Anne, close to St anne, on... a beach whose name I can't recall but that's known for its shallows. Think I'll have to look that one up.

Great little unpretentious resto, idyllic view, good planters punch, fresh fresh fish.

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I had to revive this thread. As a native Puerto Rican, I find that food in PR has always been top notch (after traveling the states, around Europe, Mexico, Cuba I still say this) Home cooked, dining, etc. As an added plus, for some reason the immigrants seem to stay truer to their traditional dishes, perhaps because there is not the insecurity about cooking with Latin influences (I still laugh when I think of my Cuban friend who had a restaurant in Madison, WI and HAD to prepare this hot sauce that she labeled "for the americans") . We have wonderful Mexican and Cuban (Metropol is one of these) as well as Argentinian.

Also, I feel compelled to make some clarifications. Cubans do not use chiles in their cooking. The food of the Spanish speaking Caribbean happens to be very similar and still very different due to the fact that we share similar historical roots based in the Canary islands. Chile not being one of them. Oregano, cilantro, Culantro are more up our alley.

Finally, I agree that Cuban food is wonderful. Only Cuban food tasted outside of the island, however. If you go to the island you will be hard pressed to go into a good restaurant as food is very limited (not scarce). Most of the places we ate we found two options: pizza or spaghetti. It’s just easy to make, accessible and feeds many. Oddly enough when I visited Cuba (once for 10 days, other for a month to do research) the best food I tasted came from local houses---an experience that few tourists get to have unless they have specific ties to families in the island. This too is hard given the restrictions and warnings the government has placed on locals relationships to tourists. It's a shame because in the black market they do sell wonderful meats, everything fresh and mostly from sustainable agriculture, that middle class Cubans (yes they have hierarchies in Cuba too) buy. I had these wonderful manioc fritters prepared by a former revolutionary woman, I tasted the best okra stu prepared by one of my hosts. I do have to admit that there are some wonderful places to eat called “club houses/benevolent organizations” that have been in place for ages and untouched by the government. They do not really have food restrictions from the government and get to purchase very good quality food. I tried four that I really liked. The main one and most famous is Club Asturiano right by the capitol, the other were another two Asturian Clubs in the San Rafael and San Miguel area, one of them specialized in Pizza (I caution that this is not a neighborhood you want to find yourself in if you have difficulty passing as a Cuban) and another in Cuba’s Chinatown. If you venture into this area of the capitol I suggest you ask a reliable source because of the situation in the country it is very easy to get duped here. Best bet for everyone would be the Asturian Club in front of the Capitol. It’s the best food anyways. Ok I’m off to a plane for Cuba or Puerto Rico.


Edited by sus (log)

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Have any of you heard of Anguilla? I went there on my honeymoon about 6 years ago. All my wife and I did was sit on the beach and eat. There are tons of great restaurants there! We stayed at a resort called Cap Jaluca. They had their own fine dining restaurant , Pimms. I actually knew the chef and sous chef! I went to school with the sous and worked with the chef in Chicago. Cuisinart owns their own resort there equipped with its own hydroponic farm. All in all I would say there are about 15 great restaurants on this very small island. No paved roads.

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I just returned from Grand Bahama and stayed in the Port Lucaya area at the Sheraton. My trip was part of my wife's conference so we ate meals prepared by the Starwood hotel group courtesy of the organization that set up the conference. One night we ate out at Lucianos in the Port Lucaya Marketplace which was very nice but to tell you the truth one of the best things I ate was a meal of cracked conch at a little hut next to the Sheraton. Sweet succulent conch, fried with a light batter that was fantastic. This simple meal trumped everything else I had to eat on the island.

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No paved roads.

The roads are paved now, and there's a new "superhighway" named after Jeremiah Gumbs.

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Restaurant row in Grand Case in St. martin is hard to beat. Maybe not the best single restaurant, but 10-15 all good french, italian, & continental gems, all in a row.

Anybody been here recently? I have heard some good things from a friend, but as allways want to hear from the eGulleteers. My friend was saying that it is somewhat of a proving ground for european chefs in the early part of their careers.

Also, are there cocktail bars there?

Thanks,

Toby


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Can you qualify this? Other than a lot of resorts with restaurants posing as fine dining, I have found that I had enjoyed more meals off the beaten path than those I paid dearly for in most of these places.

Having visited a number of the islands in the BVI, some USVI, the Antilles, and St. Martin, I would say I had better meals at La Samana in neighboring St. Martin than on Anguilla.

Kinda of a drag that a place known for its lobster industry has barely any lobster on the island of Anguilla..

I would respectfully nominate Anguilla as a phenomenal spot for superior food.


Edited by fedelst (log)

Veni. Vidi. Voro.

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I have just returned from Guadaloupe. It was a miserable stay at Point a Pitre because my mother had had a heart attack on a cruise ship and she was put in a hospital on the island when the ship finally reached it 4 days later. I flew there to be with her and my father. Thankfully she survived 12 days in the island hospital and is now home.

The only pleasant memory I will carry with me is of the food that my sonand I treated ourselves to after long, grueling, distressing days at the hospital. We had incredible seafood, some cooked Creole, some French. It was some of the best seafood I have ever eaten ANYWHERE. Whole, grilled red snapper. Dorade. Mussels. Salt cod beignets. It was all fantastic.

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Hi all:

Seems it's been a couple of years since anyone added to this thread ... my particular interest is in the extreme south of the Caribbean ... Curacao. We'll be going there in a few weeks and there have been no mention of Curacao (or the ABC Islands) in this thread or the two other threads that specifically asked for recommendations in the ABCs.

The islands have a mixed heritage as Spanish, English, and (mostly) Dutch colonization, with the usual native/African slave history mix added. Cuisine should be wonderful, but at least on eGullet it appears unknown.

Does anyone have comments or recommendations?

Regards,

JasonZ


JasonZ

Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

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