Anyone headed to Grenada probably intends to enjoy some seafood here and there. Food aficionados like you, on the other hand, have high hopes of devouring delicacies you can only get there.
While dining around, you’ll notice some common themes: simple food and fiery flavors. “As Caribbean people — as Grenadians — we have spicy foods,” says Colin Dowe, Associate Dean of Enrolment Planning at St. George’s University in Grenada.
Now for the specifics. We determined the dishes you should add to your shortlist. Whether you visit the island regularly, are visiting for the first time, or are becoming a temporary resident while going to school, you will want to dig into these Grenadian foods
1. Start your day with bakes
Wake up the Grenadian way with this hearty breakfast. Preparations vary, but the bakes are a type of bread that can either be baked in the oven or fried in hot oil. They’re typically made from flour, water, baking soda, and salt, but Dowe says some people like to add a bit of sugar or coconut milk for flavor.
As for what to pair with this breakfast bread, seafood is common. One popular preparation is souse-made salt fish. “You boil [the salt fish] a couple of times and then you strip it and add tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and some people will boil an egg and cut it up in there as well,” Dowe says.
2. Warm up with a cup of cocoa tea
You will want to sip a cup of cocoa tea along with your bakes if you enjoy hot chocolate. This warm breakfast beverage is packed with flavor. “It will be stronger and you can expect bay leaves and cinnamon added to it,” Dowe explains.
3. Get your greens with callaloo soup
Callaloo, also known as dasheen leaf, is an ingredient you probably won’t find outside the Caribbean, so it’s wise to take advantage while you can. The taste is somewhat similar to spinach, making it ideal for soup. The creamy concoction often includes coconut milk and is a restaurant staple.
“If you’re looking for a must-have starter at a restaurant, I would say you don’t come to Grenada and start a meal without a bowl of callaloo soup,” Dowe says.
4. Grab a roti for the road
If you love street food, be sure to dig into some rotis while you’re in Grenada. These Indian-influenced wraps are filled with a curried meat or vegetable filling. You can find them all over — Fodor’s Travel says they’re even more popular than sandwiches, which means you can always grab one when you need a meal on the go.
Dowe provides a word of caution for first-timers: The meat preparations typically have bones, so be careful.
5. Try oildown for a taste of history
No dish is more closely associated with Grenadian culture than oildown, a savory one-pot meal. The most essential ingredients are meat, coconut milk, turmeric, breadfruit, and callaloo. “And then after that, it’s a matter of style,” Dowe says.
If you think oildown sounds like a little bit of this and a little bit of that, you would be right. “The history of it, and this is very common for national dishes as you move through the islands, is you can track it back to slaves on plantations whose meals were leftovers from the slave owners,” Dowe explains.
"It brings together friends. It brings together family."
Oildown is a staple dish at any type of celebration. If you attend any festivals or parties, you’re sure to find this iconic food. “It brings together friends. It brings together family. It keeps communities together,” Dowe adds.
6. Go adventurous with lambi
Known to some people as conch, lambi is usually served in a stew or curry in Grenada. It’s a local favorite best for adventurous eaters. “This one is an acquired taste, of course, because of the texture,” Dowe says, referring to the somewhat toothsome quality.
7. Order crab back for a fun and flavorful dish
The land crabs in Grenada taste similar to their sea-bound cousins. Crab back is one particularly popular preparation. For this dish, the crab is mixed with spices, stuffed back into the cleaned shell, topped with breadcrumbs, and then baked. The dramatic presentation makes crab back a perfect dish for a fun night out.
8. Try pelau for a new spin on chicken and rice
Many cuisines have some sort of chicken and rice dish and pelau is Grenada’s version. Though it can be as simple as seasoned chicken and rice; pigeon peas, corn, and carrots are also common ingredients. “You might add some coconut milk to the water as well — for flavor,” Dowe explains.
9. Celebrate with sorrel drink
This vivid red beverage is a must during the holiday season, when sorrel flowers are in bloom. Recipes typically include a handful of spices and some type of sweetener to offset the tartness. Dowe notes most versions contain alcohol as well. “If you’re going to someone’s home, nine out of ten times there will be white rum in it,” he says.
10. Try out your baking skills with sweet potato pudding
This dessert probably sounds appealing if you enjoy sweet potato pie. In fact, the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in this dish give it a similar flavor. Those who aren’t afraid to take on the kitchen will feel pretty comfortable making this one themselves.
11. Taste local chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth
Cocoa tea is just the beginning for dessert lovers visiting Grenada. The island has a number of companies that make delicious dark chocolate. You can opt for plain bars, but Dowe suggests trying the nutmeg-spiced version from Jouvay.
12. Grab nutmeg ice cream to cool down
Grenada is one of the largest nutmeg exporters in the world, so it only makes sense that the spice frequently appears in popular dishes. Nutmeg ice cream is a local favorite, and you can find it at numerous restaurants. You can also make it yourself if you have an ice cream machine.
A taste of something different
While working your way through these delicious Grenadian foods, you might find yourself wondering what else you should learn about the location. The island might be known for its spices and beaches, but it’s also home to some groundbreaking work in veterinary education and research.
To learn more about Grenada and how it’s contributing to a healthier world, be sure to stop by The SGU Pulse again.
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