Destination Foodie: St. Kitts
St. Kitts, with its rich tapestry of cultures threaded together by waves of settlers from around the globe has evolved a cuisine the likes of which are truly not seen anywhere else in the world. Western, Creole, Indian and African dishes abound on local menus due to St.Kitts’ kaleidoscopic history, and are supplemented by Mediterranean, Chinese and other cuisines that are universally popular.
St. Kitts is a relatively small island, a fact that makes sustainable agriculture a challenge. However, abundant fresh produce from the nearby islands in the Caribbean, together with the cornucopia of fresh seafood from the countless square miles of untouched ocean waters that surround St. Kitts combine with exotic herbs and spices to create memorably delectable delights for the palate.
Meat dishes typically have a goat base as is common in African preparations, or pork, which is more common in West Indian cuisine. Goat water stew might almost be called the island’s signature dish. This tomato-based stew has chunks of goat meat and dumplings accented by local green papaya and breadfruit. ‘Pelau’ is rice served with pigeon peas and leafy vegetables complimenting pig’s tail, chicken and dried cod; it is a great taste of everything St. Kitts.
Soul-satisfying meat dishes have pride of place on the St. Kitts dining table. Roast pig is a culinary creation with a very long history throughout the Caribbean islands. On St. Kitts, the basic idea has evolved almost into a challenge for local chefs to use innovative preparation methods and exotic herbs and spices to reinvent an already delicious dish.
Another dish to introduce to the local palate is ‘roti’. Roti is a thin pastry into which a rich filling of curried potatoes, chickpeas, vegetables and chicken, goat, pork or shrimp is inserted. Each bite is a mouth-watering medley of flavors that will have you savoring every last morsel.
When it comes to beverages to accompany your meal, you are presented with a wide variety of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic choices. As is the case throughout the Caribbean, ample sugar cane crops make rum the most popular alcoholic beverage. Brinley Gold Rum, manufactured on the island, offers some interesting and exotic flavors of rum like mango, coffee and vanilla. So many kinds of fresh fruit are grown on the island that fruit juices are always a well-priced, delicious option whether you are dining in a good restaurant or simply lounging by the beach. You have to try Fairling, a local fruit punch, while in St. Kitts.
Fisherman’s Wharf is an icon of St. Kitts and sitting out on a pier dining on the freshest seafood while enjoying an awe-inspiring view of the capital, Basseterre is worth doing at least once. Circus Grill on Bay Road is another open air favorite and the verandah is the best place to enjoy great food and fresh air.
The Strip, stretched along Frigate bay South, is lined with excellent watering holes and dining options in terms of both variety, cuisine and price. Another interesting dining area is South Friars where dining is particularly affordable but just as delicious.
Dining out in St. Kitts typically costs between $10 and $35 per person per meal. Besides the local fare, American fast food options are easily available and can be competitively priced. Of course, if you opt for that, there is every possibility of missing out on the joy of discovering the wonderful richness and flavor of the real taste of St. Kitts cuisine.