Dominica Food & Dining
Like many other Caribbean islands Dominica has a rich cultural heritage. Due to the intermingling of the European nations on the island, Dominica has a French-Creole culture with the overtones of a British heritage. With colonization, slavery, emancipation and the later globalization there was great movement of people throughout the Caribbean (Dominica) and as such the culture, the music, the tasty Dominica food, the dress, the language, and the architecture are all influenced by such historic passages. The rich cultural heritage of Dominica, and Dominica’s culinary inheritance is integrally linked to its past. Dominica food is based on root vegetables like yams or turnip, spinach, watercress, locally available meats and fish such chicken, goat and seafood (fish, crabs, crayfish and octopus). Meat is one of the main elements of most Dominica foods and cured, pickled and smoked meats are often used Dominica food.
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Dominica food is best known for its Creole dishes. The word Creole is derived from the Spanish word crillo (meaning native to an area). By Creole standards in Dominica, food is very fresh, simple and healthy and is cooked in a Creole style featuring a spicy sauce with a base sauce of tomatoes, peppers, onion, celery, and fresh seasoning. Dominica food clearly has an African and French influence.
The preparation of Dominica food imitates many African and French techniques; this is one of the reasons for the particular flavor of Creole fried cuisine. Africans cooked by steaming, baking, stewing, roasting, or frying and meats were roasted, stewed or fried. To this day most of Dominica foods are prepared using traditional ways of cooking which were handing down from generation to generation. Coincidentally, the consumption of fresh fruit drink with meals is standard. In Dominica, drinks and food go hand in hand.
Dominica foods such as curry goat and callaloo soup (a creamed spinach type soup) are local favorites. These types of Dominica foods are prepared using local ingredients only, and often flavored with the earthy aroma of locally made curries and fresh coconut milk. Coconut milk is the extracted (milk colored) liquid squeezed from the hardened fruit of the coconut, it is not popular Dominica drink, coconut water; which is the water found inside the coconut. Coconut water is a refreshing Dominica drink sold along streets and along country roads. It is also a popular mixer for alcoholic drinks.
When slavery was abolished, there were no available workers to tend to existing plantations, so the indentured laborers were introduced. Mostly of Chinese and Asian ethnicity, these indentured laborers brought with them their own cooking styles and tastes. Today the use of rice as a primary staple food on all tables and the use of heavy curry sauces is a direct inheritance from these dwellers on the islands. Dominica foods and techniques for preparing Dominica foods is a fusion of all these culinary influences passed on.
Whilst most of the Dominica food is classified Creole cuisine, Dominica foods are also influenced by modern day European and North American cuisines as well. The availability of greater variety of imported foods such as beans, corn, squash, pastas and other processed foods, and other wise unavailable meats and condiments has simply expanded the creativity of Dominica food.
Dominica’s rich tropical climate yields an abundance of succulent fruit year round. Traditional Dominica drinks are tropical fruity refreshment used alone or mixed in thirst quenching combinations. Guava, mango, pineapple, lime, grapefruit, passion fruit, cherry, avocado, plaintain, tamarind, papaya, bananas, gooseberry, barbadine, orange , tangerine, apricot, mangosteen and soursop are just some of the many Dominica fruits that go into fresh Dominica drinks.
Sometimes, the drinks of Dominica are combined with one of the local rums on island to give it a little ummph. Of Dominica drinks the tropical fruit punches are simply to die for and the most popular Dominica drink for tourist. Local rums are widely available, and cask rum dominates the local market consumption in Dominica drinks.
An authentic Dominica drinks is spiced rum — it is Dominica cask rum that is combined with herbs and spices to produce some unique and tasty and very potent mixtures. The popular local additions to this Dominica drink are cinnamon, mint, anise or rosemary. Then there is the legendary ’bois bandé’, a local aphrodisiac, proven by locals and foreigners alike.
The local beer on island Kubuli Beer is the proud recipient of a Gold award in the reputable ‘Monde Selectione Quality Awards’. Kubuli Beer is brewed with 100% Natural Spring water and the local Brewery’s very own formula. This refreshing German oriented beer has gained favor from beer drinkers from Europe to North America and all over the Caribbean.
Fried and barbeque foods are commonly sold by street vendors. Vendors sell an array of steamed and barbecue meats: chicken, fish, ribs and pork. A side order is often included: potato salad, French fries, fried plantain, bakes, rice, vegetable salad or roast corn or breadfruit. On a Friday and Saturday late night, these Dominica dishes are readily available till the wee hours of the morning.
Dominican food and drink is a medley of brilliant colors, bold flavors, and lush presentations. The cooking techniques of Dominica foods combine European, African, Indian, and Chinese influences, result in a cuisine with a big, assertive personality.