Variety is the spice of life, and there is no place that incorporates this analogy better into its cuisine than the Caribbean island of Grenada. As its marketing tagline suggests, Grenada is pure, authentic, and enchanting, and fortunately for food lovers desirous of a holiday in this destination, all of these translate into some of the more popular menu items on the island.
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Fresh seafood, organic vegetables, well-cooked meats, amazing desserts, and daring food creations are what you need to expect where food is concerned in Grenada. The locals aren’t afraid to blend unlikely ingredients, or revamp traditional dishes, which means that upon arrival to this island, just know that you’re already signed up for an exciting culinary adventure. With influences from France, Africa and India, we’ve compiled a list of 19 popular food and drink items you should try during your Grenada
In this article on the Sandals Blog:
Once you get to Grenada and you’re out and about, don’t take another step until you try Oil Down. It is the national dish of Grenada, and a common item offered by local restaurants. Oil Down is a one-pot stew which typically includes meat or fish, dumplings, vegetables, coconut milk, turmeric, and breadfruit. Everything is cooked in coconut milk, and the result is filling and scrumptious.
Caribbean fried bakes are easy to make, but better to eat! People love them because they can go with just about anything. This fried, bread like menu item can be stuffed with just about anything, including cheese, jam, fish or meat. Bake and saltfish is a great combination, but keep in mind that some places add ingredients to make their bakes a bit spicier. Try a few during your vacation in Grenada to see which kind you like best (spicy or slightly sweeter).
Conch is a popular dish in the islands, and it goes by different names from shore to shore. In Grenada, it is referred to as lambi or souse. The process of cooking conch meat includes tenderizing it to soften the meat, seasoning it with onions, garlic, peppers and other seasonings, and then “cooking” it with lime juice, and stewing it. Depending on the result desired, the conch meat might either be chopped before or after cooking. It can be served hot or cold, and some people choose to eat it with bakes.
This is one dish you’ll have fun trying because there are so many different variations. With rice as a base, Grenadians cook pelau dishes with meat or fish, and other ingredients like beans, sweet peppers, carrots, celery, coconut milk, and brown sugar added in. In the chicken version, the meat is coated with sugar which tends to give it a hint of sweetness. The simmering in coconut milk is what really gives this dish its unique flavor, and guarantees you’re going to want to try it more than once.
One taste of Grenadian crab back will likely have you scouring the island for more, if you’re a crab lover. This local favorite is usually served up in the cleaned-out shell of a land crab, and the meat is seasoned with spring onions, sweet peppers, garlic, and often white wine and a spicy cream sauce. Baked breadcrumbs are often added over top, and by the time you take one bite, all that will be on your mind is why you didn’t try it sooner!
You can’t go wrong with goat curry, especially when in the islands. In Grenada, the goat meat is usually seasoned with fresh local herbs and spices and a little sugar. Onions, garlic, pepper, and curry powder are tossed in. There are varying levels of spice to this dish, but you will find many places offering lime pickle to bring down the heat factor. Some restaurants serve mild versions that don’t need toning down, but you’ll have to ask before you order. ‘Curry goat’ as the locals say it, is usually served with rice and peas, fried plantain, or cooked yams.
Callaloo originated from west Africa and is believed to have been brought to the Caribbean in the 17th century. Since then it has grown leaps and bounds in popularity, becoming one of the most popular soups for islanders and visitors to the islands. In Grenada this is a common menu item at some local restaurants. The taste of callaloo can be compared to spinach, and the soup is often made with coconut milk. It is the perfect choice for an appetizer, and a healthy treat for the kids.
This dish is an acquired taste, which really does grow on you. Some people love it straight off the bat – cou cou is made with cornmeal and vegetables that are slow-cooked into a smooth and firm mixture, and it is often served with callaloo, okra and fish. Cou cou pois is popular in Grenada, as well as islands of the Grenadines like Carricao, and Petite Martinique. Other ingredients include coconut milk, garlic, onion, butter, and salt. You can eat it hot or cold.
The fact that this dish is made using the roe of the white sea urchin means that it really isn’t your typical caviar. Don’t let unfamiliarity scare you away though, this can be an awesome tasting experience. The cooking process involves frying up the caviar with onions and carrots. Though this is considered seafood, it has a slightly nutty flavor. Grenadian caviar is featured on most local restaurant menus, your only challenge may be figuring out if to eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
When roti is made right, it is downright delicious. Roti is essentially curried meat, fish or vegetables cooked with potatoes stuffed inside a roti shell made with flour, baking powder, salt, water, oil, and shortening (for cooking). The roti shell looks like a wrap but has a distinct taste which pairs perfectly with the curry inside. Usually lunch time is the best time to have a roti, as it can be very filling!
Insider tip: Don’t ask to make the roti spicy, unless you really want your meal to be flaming hot.
Cocoa bean flesh tastes fresh and fruity, with a tangy and tart undertone. Some people who live in regions where cocoa is grown enjoy eating this as a snack. It can be difficult to pull the flesh off the bean manually, and you probably won’t end up with much to munch on, but it is one of those things worth tasting in Grenada, particularly as the cocoa bean flesh is highly nutritious.
With roots in Trinidad, Doubles are also a well-loved breakfast addition in Grenada. At the core of this local favorite is a chickpea curry that is wrapped in a perfectly textured fried bara bread. The bread gets its color from turmeric, and the key to the perfect doubles is perfecting the thickness of the bara bread and ensuring the chickpea curry is tender and flavorful. Bara bread is made of flour, salt, baking powder, and turmeric. Be warned that doubles are very addictive, so eat as much as you can while on island!
Who can say no to ice cream? Especially when it’s a unique and yummy flavor you’ve probably never tried before. Grenada is known as the spice isle, and as such nutmeg and other spices are used in several food items, including ice cream. This dessert is super refreshing on a hot day.
You’ll find that sweet potato pudding in Grenada has a similar taste to sweet potato pie, which almost already guarantees you’re going to love it.
Dessert anyone? Fudge comes in many varieties in Grenada including ginger, coconut, or nutmeg. Ingredients often include condensed milk, coconut cream, butter, coconut extract, ginger, vanilla extract and angostura bitters. Making it involves a simmering process, after which it is left to cool for a few minutes. It is then placed into a baking dish and refrigerated so the mixture can set. Once that happens, it is removed from the fridge, cut into cubes, and served! This is a great item to take home as a souvenir, and it is packaged and sold by many local shops.
The richness of the soil on this volcanic island adds to the richness of the cocoa grown in Grenada, and you can experience this for yourself during your holiday. Go crazy with cocoa desserts on the tiny Caribbean island that showcases the various ways to eat cocoa, aside from in chocolate form. Cocoa balls are made by first drying, roasting, and grinding the cocoa beans into a fine paste. The cocoa is then mixed with spices like cinnamon, bay leaf, and thyme. The result is simply delicious (and not overly sweet), made even better by the fact that it is rich in antioxidants and other nutrients!
Grated coconut, flour, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, coconut essence, vanilla essence, eggs, baking powder, and sometimes raisons, bring this tropical delight together in the most interesting way. The ingredients are combined, and then the mixture is spooned onto a baking tray and baked until golden brown. Coconut drops are great to munch on during the day. Take some home to keep Grenada memories close.
There is no going wrong with a hot cup of cocoa tea first thing in the morning, or evening, especially if you’re travelling during a time when the mornings are a bit cooler. It can be compared to hot chocolate, albeit spicier and more flavorful. Locals love eating hot bakes with cocoa tea, and this is a popular way to enjoy cocoa tea in the islands.
Grenadians love their Carib beer and you will too once you’re sprawled out with a cooler of it on ice on a beautiful beach. Carib has been brewed since 1960 at Grenada Breweries, and is a staple at most local bars. Ask for it on tap.
Insider tip: Do you want to drink unlimited cocktails, champagne and other drinks from a swim-up bar in Grenada? Guests of all-inclusive luxury resort Sandals Grenada can enjoy unlimited free drinks and food at any of its 10 restaurants and 6 bars.
Oil Down is Grenada’s national dish. This one-pot stew is the combination of many things, which means it caters to just about anybody. As far as popularity goes though, fried bakes and saltfish are a worthy rival.
Grenada is a melting pot of cultures, which means the food is quite varied. From curried meats, to seafood and one-of-a-kind desserts, there’s a little something for everyone in Grenada.
Spices! They don’t call it the spice isle for nothing. Nutmeg is grown in abundance in Grenada, and you can also find things like cinnamon, ginger, bay leaf, mace, turmeric, cloves, and allspice. Grenada is also well known for the cocoa the island produces. See what else Grenada is known for.
Insider tip: Try a spice tour while in Grenada, during which you’ll get a chance to explore local gardens where spices are grown and visit factories where they are produced. Culinary tasting tours are also popular. See more things to do in Grenada.
Culturally diverse, it is not surprising that this isle of spice knows how to keep food interesting. If food is at the heart of your holiday, then you’re unlikely to be disappointed in Grenada!