The Origins of Caribbean Food

The Rich History of Delicious Caribbean Cuisine

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Caribbean cuisine is a strong cornerstone of the culture that flows within the islands in the Caribbean Sea. This culture of creating great food has left its mark on the world in the form of delicious recipes such as jerk chicken. But when did the recipes we know today start gracing the tables of Caribbean inhabitants? Wat’s On Your Plate is here to give you a brief overview of the history of delicious Caribbean cuisine.

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The Original Island Dwellers

There were three tribes of Natives that lived in the Caribbean islands before the arrival of settlers. These tribes were the Arawak, the Carib, and the Taino. These tribes enjoyed daily diets of primarily fruits and vegetables, including yams, guavas, papaya, and cassava. When they ate meat, it was traditionally prepared in a large clay pot. Eventually, the Carib tribe would start adding spice blends and lemon juice to their meat and fish, which gave rise to the classic jerk taste that is unique to the Caribbean.

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Outside Influences

Once the Native Caribbean Islanders came into contact with explorers and settlers from other countries, their food began to change. From Asian countries, such as China, rice and mustard were introduced. These now serve as common sides and condiments, respectively, in Caribbean cuisine. From Spain, they discovered oranges, ginger, plantains, dates, sugar, and more. The Portuguese introduced codfish, while the Americas brought potatoes, squash, corn, beans, tomatoes, and chili peppers. These food items, especially rice and beans, are now incredibly prevalent throughout the Caribbean islands as staples of Caribbean diets.

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The Current Style of Caribbean Food

If you are new to Caribbean food, prepare to be wowed by the bold and complex flavors that this cuisine has to offer. The Caribbean region is a melting pot of different cultures that have all contributed in some way to the area's culinary identity. As a result, Caribbean cuisine features a wide mix of ingredients and techniques that produces a unique experience.

First-time tasters can expect to encounter a wide variety of spices and seasoning blends that are used to add depth and complexity to dishes. The flavors are often hot, sweet, and tangy, which are a staple of Caribbean cuisines. Some of the main ingredients in Caribbean food include tropical fruits like mango, coconut, and pineapple; seafood like shrimp and lobster; and various types of meat like pork and goat.

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What to Expect from Wat's On Your Plate

First-time visitors to our Authentic Caribbean restaurant in New York City can expect a vibrant and colorful presentation of each dish. Many traditional meals are served with a colorful array of side dishes and condiments that are traditionally used to complement the flavor of the main dish. Some examples of side dishes and condiments include plantains, rice and peas, and hot pepper sauces.

Our diners can also expect an explosion of flavors and spices with each of our dishes. Caribbean cuisine is a blend of cultural and historical influences that draw from a variety of culinary traditions. This style of food, and Wat's On Your Plate, are well known for seafood dishes and meat dishes spiced up with the famous jerk seasoning. When eating Caribbean food, expect to experience a variety of textures and unique flavor combinations that are sure to excite and satisfy your taste buds.



The way that Caribbean food has changed and evolved throughout history is fascinating. All of its influences, both from the original Natives and from outside sources, have made Caribbean cuisine what it is today. Now, all over the world, people enjoy jerked meats and other Caribbean delicacies. To learn more about the origins of Caribbean food, or to order some to enjoy yourself, contact Wat’s On Your Plate of New York City today!

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