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Deriving from a mixture of both Creole and British influences, Dominica's history, culture, and cuisine are created from an eclectic blend of unspoiled Caribbean tradition.
The island's moist tropical climate and rich volcanic soil ensure abundant agriculture, and locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, including bananas, avocados, and breadfruit, are plentiful. West Indian foods are the traditional dishes of Dominica, and travelers may be in for a big surprise when ordering local specialties.
While visiting Dominica, you will get the chance to sample tasty tropical food and drinks, unlike anything you've tasted before. Authentic Dominican cuisine is a true culinary treat. Travelers should be aware that many local dishes are prepared with a sauce made from curry and Scotch bonnet peppers. This sauce, which is served with almost everything, adds an enticing, spicy kick to the flavor and aroma of the meal.
Most local restaurants serve traditional dishes such as smoked or stewed opossum, which is called manicou on the menu, or agouti, which is a large rodent, like a squirrel or raccoon. These island delicacies are especially popular in October and November when Dominica celebrates its cultural heritage. At one time, a dish known as "mountain chicken" was such a popular meal that it was considered to be the unofficial national dish. Though the name is unassuming, mountain chicken is actually a large land frog sometimes shown as crapaud on the menu. Thanks to a rapid decline in population due to disease and overhuntings, crapaud was outlawed in 2002, so if you see it on the menu, avoid it. With mountain chicken out of the way, the National Emblems Committee decided the time had come for locals to vote on and choose an official national dish. As of September 2013 the voting was not yet completed, but in all polls callaloo was coming out ahead. Callaloo, which met all voting criteria for being a local dish that was available all year round, easy to prepare, and relatively healthy, is a soup made with dasheen or spinach, provisions, meat, and coconut milk.
Traditional fishing villages still exist on the island, so seafood dishes constitute a lot of Dominica's local cuisine. Shellfish are bountiful in both the sea and mountain streams, and crabs are caught in season and served in their shells stuffed with seasoned red or black crab meat and listed as crab backs on restaurant menus. Vacationers can order savory meals of flying fish, dorado, king fish, and snapper, as well as spiny lobsters and octopus throughout the year. Delectable aquatic feasts also come from fresh water mountain streams, which provide delicacies such as river crayfish and land crabs. Saltfish is perhaps the most popularly featured seafood dish on local menus. Saltfish is actually codfish, and typically served up with sautéed peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
A few other local favorites include bakes, which are cod, tuna, and cheese stuffed fritters; roti, an Indian dish of curried meats and vegetables in a wrap; and pumpkin soup. European and American classics are also widely available. In fact, British influence in Dominica's cuisine is apparent by the number of dishes that contain cucumbers, from salads to sandwiches. Starchy foods are also frequently served on the island, and travelers will find items such as rice and potatoes along with the island's starchy root vegetables such as dasheen, which is similar to a sweet potato. As a substitute for rice, vacationers can order "provisions" to go along with their meal, which are starches that include yucca or pumpkin and are similar to American squash or British marrow.
...authentic island cuisine prepared by loving hands.
Most of the eateries and restaurants on Dominica are owned and run by local families and provide authentic island cuisine prepared by loving hands. Wash all of the delicious homemade food down with yummy island fruit juices, or for something with a little more kick, coconut rum punch. Meals and beverages on the island are relatively inexpensive, and vacationers will surely delight in the scrumptious local dishes on the island of Dominica.
Such fresh offerings as those offered in Dominican cannot be overlooked. Whether you're looking to sample a particular dish, or if there is a style of food you simply must try, visit our Restaurant Directory and search for restaurants by the type of cuisine they serve. You can also search for restaurants by name when you click here.
Vacationers who aren't picky about what they eat often make their dining choices based upon locale. You can look up any of the island's hotels via our extensive list (At to Z: Hotels in Detail), and learn about which restaurants are nearby and even on property, as you also read about all the amenities the hotel has to offer. For a quick overview of the hotels on the island that have restaurants right on property, read our article on the Best Hotels for Dining Options.
Sampling Dominica's fare is a great way to experience local culture and try something new. Don't let this great opportunity pass you by; avoid your favorite comfort foods, and sample some island delicacies. You never know, you may walk away from Dominica with a new favorite meal.
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