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What's Your Favorite Caribbean Food?

What's Your Favorite Caribbean Food?

by Hope Heldmar

Finicky eaters, self-professed foodies and those who just want a good meal are in for a treat when they visit the Caribbean. Whether you yearn for something sweet or savory, our food fanatics know the best eats. Here's a few of our favorite Caribbean dishes and restaurants that make our mouths water and our tummies do a happy dance!

Let's start with dishes. Caribbean cuisine is complex and flavorful, thanks to its African, French, Spanish and Amerindian roots. It's no surprise that Caribbean dishes reflect their individual home island.

If you're in Jamaica, ackee and saltfish with dumplings, curried goat and Pickapeppa sauce just have to be sampled. Did you know that ackee is the national dish, according to Jamaica's government? You'll find the sauce throughout the island (and the world), and ackee and saltfish are on the menu at Mom's in Ocho Rios, an unpretentious local spot.

If you're looking for epicurean delights, there are a growing number of gourmet Caribbean restaurants winning rave reviews for the food and the view. The Cliff in Barbados routinely tops everyone's list because Chef Paul Owen's food is as divine as the ocean view is dramatic. Make your reservations well in advance if you hope to score a table on the terrace. But don't worry; all the tables offer a sea view.

Not all Caribbean food is fancy, so if you're looking for a great place to eat with the kids on Grand Bahama Island, head to Bahama John's Seafood-n-Rib Shack. The kids can play on the sandy beach in front of the open-air eatery while you grab a cold one before diving into the lip-smacking ribs or a yummy grouper sandwich.

And if you're planning a getaway for just the two of you to a spa, we've got one of the best all-inclusive choices in the Caribbean: Couples Tower Isle. Don't worry about starving on carrots and celery; this resort serves up the finest Caribbean cuisine from a million-dollar kitchen. Of course, there's a veggie bar with healthy offerings, but gourmet dining at Eight Rivers and a romantic candlelight meal for two on the beach are two good reasons not to count calories on vacation.

No matter where you go, step out of your comfort zone and sample the local Caribbean dishes. From the ribs at the beach shacks to the succulent fare of the high-end restaurants, Caribbean food offers your taste buds a vacation every bit as much fun as the beach itself!