Many people believe that Caribbean food is synonymous with Jamaican food. However, Jamaican cuisine is just one of more than seven different “sub-cuisines” of Caribbean food, each with it’s own unique flavors, dishes, and styles. At our Caribbean restaurant in Sandy Springs, we are proud to serve authentic Caribbean cuisine from several of these areas with a gourmet twist you’ll want to try again and again.
As we discussed in our previous blog, elements of traditional Caribbean food include a perfect blend of spicy, sweet, and savory, combining sweet potatoes with hot peppers and heavily seasoned meats with sweet fruits. This unique marriage of sweet and spicy allows Caribbean cuisine to taste like an island breeze in the warm sun, and each of these sub-cuisines certainly lives up to its parent’s flavor.
You’ve heard the song, “Aruba, Jamaica…,” but that seems to be the extent of popular knowledge on Aruba cuisine. However, it is a small niche with big flavor. Distinct from its Jamaican neighbor, it features a vast variety of delicacies, mainly made from seafood such as mahi mahi. While you may not know where Aruba is on a map, you will certainly have a taste for its food.
Bahamian food, like Aruba cuisine, is distinguished by its use of seafood in almost every dish. Shellfish are one of the most featured items on any Bahamian menu, particularly conch, crawfish, and land crabs, but they are known throughout the Caribbean region for their Bahamian Stew, made with local fish.
Cuisine from Barbados is known for its kick. Settled early by the Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Africans, the food of this region playfully takes elements from all of these cultures and combines them into one melting pot of uncomparable flavor, spice, and fun. One of the most well known Barbadian dishes is Peppernot, a pork dish distinguished by its intense spices.
Because Cuba was primarily settled early by the Spaniards, its traditional cuisine draws heavily from the Spanish culture. However, due to the trade embargo in the early 1960s, Cuban cuisine was forced to look more to its own natural resources for its culinary arts. With this integration, you will now see authentic Cuban cuisine featuring pasta, yogurt, and wheat, as well as yucca and bonitos, with tortillas made from egg instead of the traditional flour or corn tortillas we see in Mexican food.
The heavy use of coffee and plantains is what sets Dominican food apart from other Caribbean cuisines. On an authentic Dominican menu, you should expect to see mashed plantains, fried plantains, and dishes that feature plantains, as well as strong, bold, rich coffee.
The Haitian culture is a unique blend of French, African, and indigenous cultures, and their cuisine is no exception. Featuring rice, beans, tomatoes, avocados, and bananas, Haitian is one of the more mild Caribbean cuisines, and is a favorite among those with sensitive palates.
Puerto Rican Cuisine
Traditional Puerto Rican cuisine gathered its influences from the native Tainos, Africans, and Spaniards. However, since becoming an American territory, the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century showed cuisine featuring strong North American influences.
With so many options, it’s time to give your palate something surprising and flavorful. Try a new Caribbean cuisine or dish at Chef Rob’s Caribbean Cafe today and stay tuned to learn more about Jamaican cuisine.