Caribbean: Cuisine and Recipes

Region | Caribbean House

In the sun-soaked Caribbean, Old and New World collided to form a vibrant cuisine out of a variety of influences, from the original Arawak and Taíno inhabitants, to European colonizers, African slaves and East Asian immigrants.

Image © cenz07 -

Rice, cornmeal porridge and starchy root vegetables form the foundation of many of the Caribbean region's meals, while fresh vegetables and tropical fruits add flavor and nutrients to dishes. Chicken, pork, goat and seafood are the favored proteins in most of island nations around Caribbean.

Cuisines of the Caribbean

Caribbean Island Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Caribbean Islands Image

The word creole, taken in its meaning of "mixture," fits most Caribbean cooking. Pre-Columbian Arawak and Taino people subsisted on the fruits of the sea and starchy cassava root. Imperial designs, slavery and merchant immigration brought succeeding influence from the British, Spanish, French, Dutch, African, Indian and Chinese. Read more »

Cuba: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Cuba Image

Cuban cuisine is built around rice, beans, vegetables, chicken, pork and tropical fruits. While cooking on the island has become austere under Castro, the expatriate community in southern Florida has kept Cuban cuisine alive and vibrant. La cocina cubana, like most Caribbean cooking, has been influenced by a wide variety of sources — Spanish, African, Taino, even Chinese. Sofrito and alcaparrado season many dishes. Ropa vieja, moros y cristianos, paella, Cuban sandwiches and roast pork are popular dishes. Read more »

Haiti: Cuisine and Recipes

Country | Haiti Image

Haitian cuisine is kréyol cuisine, a mixture of French, African, Spanish and indigenous cooking methods, ingredients and dishes. Rice and beans (dire ak pwa) are a staple. Vegetable and meat stews are popular too. Goat, beef, chicken and fish are complemented with plantains, cabbage, tomatoes and peppers. Fiery Scotch bonnet peppers lend their punch to many dishes, and to pikliz, a popular pickled vegetable condiment. Read more »

Jamaica: Cuisine and Recipes

Country | Jamaica Legs Image

Ackee, pawpaw, jerk, stamp-and-go...the cuisine of Jamaica is as fun to say as it is to eat! Cooking on this Caribbean island has been influenced by immigration from several areas of the world — Africa, Asia, Europe — as well as by the Arawaks, Jamaica's original inhabitants. The result is spicy, nourishing food with a powerful punch of flavor. Read more »

Puerto Rico: Cuisine and Recipes

Country | Puerto Rico Ponce Image

Puerto Rico is a lush, tropical jewel set in the middle of the sun-drenched Caribbean. This island nation, actually a self-governing territory of the United States, is home to a rich culinary tradition known to natives as cocina criolla. The popularity of Puerto Rican cooking reaches beyond the island's shores to a large Boricua immigrant population in New York and other American cities. Read more »