A Brief History of Caribbean Cuisine

Caribbean cuisine is a veritable melting pot of tastes influenced by cultures all over the world.


For years, the Caribbean has attracted travelers from all over the world, the majority of whom have stayed and established vast lineages. Food has been one of the most significant cultural influences of this movement. Various European nations, namely the British, French, and Spanish, have fought for and possessed Caribbean islands in the past. All of these civilizations, as well as their own culinary traditions, have contributed to the development of the Caribbean’s multi-national cuisine.

These worldwide influences, in combination with local Caribbean ingredients and methods, have shaped the modern Caribbean food that we know and enjoy today.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the history of Caribbean cuisine. Let’s start! 

History of Caribbean Cuisine 

Caribbean cuisine is essentially a mash-up of all the world’s cuisines. That’s a rather hazy way of putting things. It is the product of the fusion of European, African, Native American, Indian, and other cuisines.

The islands were inhabited by Native Americans prior to civilization. They had their own way of life, as well as their own culinary methods and ingredients. African dishes were carried over and cultivated on the islands when Africans were transported here. Not only were new dishes introduced, but so were new cooking ways. Many new foods emerged, such as jerk chicken, which was invented by Africans.

As a result, the Native Americans had to adjust to new spices and flavors because they were removed from their native regions and ingredients. They continued to try to keep things as near to their homeland as possible, but it was not the same. Instead of recreating old favorites, they invented new meals that we now enjoy and know as Caribbean cuisine. 

Caribbean Islands’ first dwellers 

The original inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands were the Arawak, Carib, and Taino Indians. Papaya, yams, guavas, and cassava are among the vegetables and fruits they consumed. In enormous clay pots, the Taino began the process of cooking meat and fish. Spices and lemon juice were added to Carib Indian meat and fish cuisines.

International cuisine that influenced the Caribbean

  • Rice and mustard were introduced by the Chinese, while the famed codfish was introduced by early Portuguese mariners.
  • Fruit trees such as oranges, ginger, plantains, figs, date palms, sugar cane, grapes, tamarinds, and coconuts were brought in by Spain, while beans, corn, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, and chili peppers were brought in by the Americas.
  • Chicken, goat, and curry are popular cuisines in English-influenced portions of the Caribbean, but French cuisine is popular in French-influenced parts of the Caribbean. Additionally, people in the Spanish-influenced Caribbean eat a lot of spicy and flavorful meals.

Caribbean cuisine has progressed; it is now tasty and far from barbarous. There are so many meals to try, and we hope we can assist you in doing so. 

Caribbean Food You Should Try 

  1. Jerk Patties

This Caribbean cuisine has a flavor profile that is pleasing to the taste. Patties are available in a variety of places, but they are even tastier when cooked from scratch, and they may be tailored to your preferences. The fillings and flavors differ for each burger, but the vegetarian and pork and potato versions are both delicious.

  1. Ackee & Saltfish 

A savory yellow-fleshed fruit that is soft in texture and slightly sweet when cooked, ackee pairs well with salty fish to provide a flavorful plate of cuisine that is popular in Jamaica. This breakfast or brunch meal is healthful and hearty because of the various flavors and textures expertly mixed with herbs, spices, onions, and pepper.

  1. Jerk Chicken

The chicken is spice-rubbed before being roasted or grilled and served with rice and peas. There are many variations on the subject, and each plate is unique. Jerk chicken is a popular meal that you must try – and once you do, you’ll have a constant need for it.

  1. Plantains 

Plantain is a staple component in Caribbean cuisine. Plantains are the perfect addition to any Caribbean recipe, like a giant banana with a starchy yet soft texture when cooked and a sweet flavor. The sweetness of the meal balances out the saltiness and makes for a tasty side dish.

  1. Rice & Peas 

Rice and peas are a comfort dish for many people who grew up in the Caribbean. Rice and peas, a major feature of the Caribbean cuisine and a source of pride in many houses, are fluffy rice cooked with creamy coconut milk and kidney beans. The flavor of the meal varies depending on personal preference, but the main flavors include thyme, scallion, and garlic, as well as chili, and it goes well with chicken, pig, or shellfish.

Debunked Myths About Caribbean Cuisine 

  • Caribbean cuisine isn’t all hot and spicy. They enjoy their seasonings, and the Jerk is highly popular, but there are also lots of sweet and savory meals. 
  • Because Caribbean cuisine is rarely fried and utilizes little to no oil or butter, it is really rather nutritious. Most people choose to barbecue, roast, or grill their food. As in the case of Jerk cuisine, meat is dry-rubbed or wet-marinated with Mojo or fiery spices. Jerk refers to an extremely spicy dry or wet rub used to chicken or other meats. It is Jamaica’s hallmark flavor and one of the Caribbean’s most recognized cuisines. The meat is smoked and/or grilled to perfection after absorbing the flavors.
  • Because papaya is so widely available, it appears in a variety of recipes.
  • Despite the warm environment, Caribbean food is known for its abundance of soups and stews.

Book Your Seat Today 

Get your Caribbean cuisine cravings fixed at Tropical Oasis! We served various Caribbean, Jamaican, and Chinese cuisine from fresh and genuine ingredients, cooked to perfection by our in-house chefs. View our menu here or contact us at +1 (305) 654-8320 to book a reservation.

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