Five Dishes to Try When Visiting St. Martin
Arguably the culinary capital of the Caribbean, St. Martin offers the most exquisite of dishes to attract foodies and locals alike. Visitors coming to St. Martin wishing to experience the most delicious of cuisine should know what they are in for. The island offers more than spectacular beaches and wild nightlife, it has meals for all pallets with dishes like pork ribs, codfish fritters, and conch with dumplings. Whether staying in St. Martin (French side) or St. Maarten (Dutch side) there is a wide variety of foods to delve into and enjoy.
Johnny Cakes are classic Caribbean dishes served in islands near and far, however, the St. Martin way is commonly known as one of the best. It is a dough made from wheat flour (though originally it was made from cornmeal) that is slowly deep-fried and served as a side dish or a full meal. This versatile dish can be eaten on its own, as a sandwich style with ham and cheese, or eaten as a breakfast dish with jam and butter among other things. Johnny Cakes are delicious both hot or cold, fresh or a couple of days after fry making it ideal to consume at any time. This dish is simple to make and perfect to accompany an entrée. The taste is similar to savory bread with an undertone of sugary sweetness. Overall this dish is appreciated by locals and tourists wishing to participate in the wonderful St. Martin Caribbean flair.
Caribbean Chicken and Ribs
Perhaps the most perfect comfort food on the island, BBQ-style chicken and ribs is a true Caribbean specialty. Typically enjoyed at the Lolos in Grand Case, St. Martin (French side), these delicious and tender chicken and ribs fall off of the bone and cause a salivating effect before the plate meets the table. Usually cooked on a grill, they are cooked with a marinade consisting of BBQ sauce, garlic, onions, and limes. Others are cooked in a “secret sauce” filled with meat juices and rub of some smokey caliber. Regardless of how it is made, the infamous combo of chicken, ribs, potato salad, and johnny cakes with rice and beans, can not be missed. The sheer aroma of the combo followed by the umami taste that lingers in the air, makes this one of the best dishes the island has on display.
Local Fish: Red Snapper, and Mahi Mahi
As St. Martin is a tropical island in the Caribbean, there is a variety of fish and shellfish that roam the waters. The most commonly known fish that is caught is the local Red Snapper and Mahi Mahi. Red Snapper in its raw state is pink with yellow streaks running throughout it though once cooked it transforms into a recognizable white color. It can be cooked with a variety of methods such as grilled, baked, pan-seared, skewered, steamed, or fried in batter. A delicious way of consuming this fish is in a Blaff (marinade with lime juice and poached in a liquid stock) or by simply searing a filet on the grill. In terms of flavor, it has a sweetness and nuttiness to it that is often accompanied by hot chilies or mild herbs. Red Snapper is a delight to the taste buds.
The other notable fish of the Caribbean is Mahi Mahi which consists of a pale pink flesh that turns an opaque white when cooked. This multifaceted dish can be grilled due to its firmness, while also tender enough to be steamed to perfection. For an impeccable meal, St. Martin Sotheby’s Realty suggests opting for the grilled mahi mahi (as that is the most delicious) with a side of potato salad and greens. The white fish is the showstopper and requires minimal seasoning to impress individuals with its flavorful, delicate, and juicy taste.
The Caribbean knows the essentials of frying food with fish to create the perfect harmonious blend. Codfish are found across many islands of the Caribbean but the St. Martin's approach certainly stands out. Each island varies its cooking methods for this fried dish however St. Maarten (Dutch side) has perfected it. The vegetables that accompany the codfish are a key component of the meal in which it is sautéed with onions, tomato, celery, green pepper, thyme, and hot sauce to create an emulsion together. Once completed, the sautéed vegetables and fish are blended along with the classic batter ingredients of flour, milk, and egg yolk to fully bind everything together. To top it off, it is deep-fried to perfection in hot corn oil giving it that delightful fried taste. Enjoy this on its own or with a side of french fries to elevate the meal.
Conch and Dumplings
Before departing St. Maarten (Dutch Side), tourists are heavily encouraged to try the characteristic dish of Conch and Dumplings. This meal consists of a delicious spicy soup accompanied by a conch, which is a large sea snail, and the exquisite dumplings that enfold the dish together. The local conch is precisely seasoned with various types of herbs and spices before cooking. It is then placed into a pressure cooker to become soft and delicate for anyone to digest. The fluffy dumplings can be made with or without cornmeal, depending on where it is served, though either way it is still delicious. Rice, Johnny Cakes, and vegetables are typically enjoyed with this classic combo. This flavourful meal is topped off with a gravy of sorts to create a culinary experience that melts in the mouth. Conch and Dumplings are essential to capturing the authentic St. Maarten aroma on a simple plate.
St. Martin stands tall as the Caribbean's culinary capital, enchanting both food aficionados and locals with a delectable array of dishes. Beyond its captivating beaches and lively nightlife, the island unveils a culinary adventure that tantalizes the taste buds. From the versatile and delectable Johnny Cakes to the finger-licking BBQ-style Caribbean Chicken and Ribs, each dish embodies the rich tapestry of flavors and traditions that define this tropical haven. The locally caught Red Snapper and Mahi Mahi showcase the island's bounty from the sea, prepared with finesse to please any palate. Meanwhile, the mastery of frying shines through the renowned Codfish Fritters, a crispy delight accented with savory sautéed vegetables. Finally, the must-try Conch and Dumplings, a symphony of spices and textures, capture the authentic essence of St. Maarten. Whether a seasoned foodie or an adventurous traveler, indulging in St. Martin's culinary delights promises an unforgettable gastronomic experience.
Providing dining recommendations and reservations is just one of the many concierge services offered by St. Martin Sotheby's International Realty to its guests. Contact us today to learn more and plan your next Saint Martin vacation.