The culture of Grenada has been influenced by the African heritage of most of its residents combined with its long period of colonial British rule. French influences are also found in Grenada, particularly in its food and cooking styles, which are similar to those found in New Orleans. Indian and Carib influences have also impacted the nation’s cuisine. Traditional foods include the national dish known as “oildown,” a name referring to a dish in which cooking in coconut milk continues until it is all absorbed and all that is left is some coconut oil at the bottom of the pot.
No visit to Grenada is complete without trying the national dish. This one-pot stew includes plantain, breadfruit, salted meat, chicken, or fish, spices and coconut milk. The ingredients are layered, and the cooking can take all day. The ingredients are combined in a pot that is set over a heat source to simmer throughout “beach time,” a Grenadian beach party. The oildown stew often includes dumplings in its smoking broth.
2. Saltfish Souse
This traditional Grenadian breakfast dish features salt cod. The popularity of the fish dates from when it was preserved in order to survive long ocean voyages across the Atlantic during colonial times. In this dish, the dried cod is rehydrated in fresh water, then flaked and combined with chopped tomatoes, onion, pepper, and parsley. It is typically served warm inside of a bake, a bun similar to a pita pocket.
3. Pigeon Pea Soup
Local restaurants feature this soup on Saturdays. It is made with various meats, often pig’s tails, plantain, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, breadfruit, and cassava. The soup also includes Grenadian dumplings, which are firm, long, strips of dough that are very filling.
4. Doubles and Roti
These are favorites among the varieties of street food available in Grenada. While doubles originated in Trinidad and Tobago, the Grenadian version is unique. It is made of two pieces of a flat fried bread known as bara, which is made from flout, baking powder, and turmeric, which is then stuffed with spicy curried chickpeas. This is then topped with sweet mango and hot pepper to taste. The roti as slightly larger and feature dough wrapped around a stewed meat like goat, conch, chicken, or shrimp. This can be found throughout the island from food trucks and vendors.
5. Macaroni Pie, Coleslaw and Other Side Dishes
Although labeled as side dishes, these foods can form an entire meal. Among the wonderful and filling side dishes of Grenada are callaloo, scalloped potatoes, lentils, and more along with the macaroni pie and coleslaw. These are especially favored choices for lunch.
6. Grenadian Chicken Pelau
This dish features chicken and rice and is similar to the Spanish paella. It is made with chicken cooked in caramelized brown sugar and then combined with white rice, thyme, peas, vegetables and coconut milk. The mixture simmers until the rice is cooked. It is a traditional dish of the island and is served during the week.
7. Goat Dairy Artisanal Cheese
Visitors should not miss the chance to partake of the goat cheese at the Grenada Goat Dairy, a nonprofit launched after the devastation Hurricane Ivan and located at the former plantation at the Belmont Estate. Proceeds from the sale of cheese help to support education and training in husbandry, marketing and production within the local community.
8. Grenada Crab Back
A popular traditional dish is known as Crab Back, which is made with fresh crabmeat combined with herbs and a chees sauce baked inside of a crab shell. The dish makes excellent use of the abundant local crab.
9. Grenada Spiny Lobster
The spiny lobster makes its home among the reefs and mangroves of the Grenadine Islands. The season for the lobster runs from September to the end of April, but the lobster is now always plentiful regardless of the season. When it can be found, it is well worth trying.
10. Callaloo Soup
Callaloo, a leafy green that has great health benefits due to its high iron content. The soup made from this vegetable is delicious. The recipe originated in West Africa and was brought to the region during the 17th century. It is a staple of cuisine in the Caribbean, where it grows plentifully.
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