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Captains Table Restaurant Dining
Courtesy of Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

Savory Flavors of the Cayman Islands Cuisine

Written by Julie Greiner

When one thinks of the Cayman Islands and food - visions of conch fritters, pepper pot soup with greens and potatoes, savory turtle stew, fish "rundown", heavy cake made from raw cassava (tapioca) and fresh fruit including papaya, mango, apple banana, sweet banana, custard apple, sugar apple, sea grapes, cocoplum and naseberry (a brown sapodilla). Some fruits and vegetables that are not available in the super-markets of today, can be found in backyards and on beaches. Restaurants that serve island cuisine usually start with fritters and soups and marinated conch. Fritters are usually made of conch, soup is often
Westin Resort Buffet
Courtesy of Cayman Islands Department of Tourism
conch chowder. Conch is just about the basic ingredient in Caymanian cuisine. Marinated conch is very popular and often it is served fresh on the water by the boat Captain of the excursion boats for lunch. The conch is taken directly from the sea, sliced and sprinkled with lime juice and onions and served for lunch by the Captain. Cayman Style often means with peppers, onions and tomato and with a white cream base. Coconut shrimp Turtle steak is the national dish and it is featured in many restaurants. Chicken, pork, beef steak and lamb are served in the home and at restaurants serving New World cuisine. Red snapper, dolphin fish (mahi mahi), swordfish, yellowfin tuna and grouper are most commonly available. Caymanian stew called "rundown" is usually prepared with grouper or snapper. Mackerel and green bananas and conch stew are also popular favorites.

Meat Kind Dishes

Green Sea Turtle is the national dish. Turtle meat is very lean and mild
The Heritage Cafe Offering Local Cuisine
Courtesy of Cayman Islands Department of Tourism
in flavor. It is usually prepared as a soup or stew, braised as a steak, breaded and/or pan-fried. Chicken and pork prepared island style or most often roasted, grilled or jerked. Jerked meat is rubbed with spices and slow-smoked. Popular meat dishes found at restaurants include braised-liver, curried goat, oxtail and salt beef and beans.

Bread Kinds and Breadfruit of the Cayman Islands

The most frequent entree side dishes are rice and peas. Rice and red beans cooked in coconut milk as in Jamaica. These are usually accompanied with ripe plantains that have been fried or baked with brown sugar, cassava (yam) and/or white potato boiled, baked, roasted and/or fried... along with soups and stews. Breadfruit was the cause of the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty and Captain Bligh's troubles. Bligh who was sent by the English King to Tahiti to bring seedlings to the Caribbean for cultivation, took his mission so seriously he diverted water meant for the crew to the trees. The seedlings did in time reach the Caribbean and breadfruit now grows throughout the Caribbean. This green-skinned fruit is the size of a small bowling ball and is used as a vegetable.

Desserts and Fruits of the Cayman Islands

Heavy Cake is the traditional Caymanian dessert. This is actually a pudding - and indeed is very heavy. Made from raw grated cassava, yam or breadfruit and cornmeal. This all evolved from flour being a hard to come by product. You combine the ingredients with molasses or brown sugar and you get a sweet confection that is chewy and caramelized. Cream fruit pies are usually featured in restaurants. And one must not forget the infamous Rum cakes. Tortuga Rum Company's cakes are world known and Blackbeard's rum cakes are sold island wide at select retail and grocery stores.


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