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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Explore Signature Caribbean Cuisine aboard Crystal Serenity

Collectively, the islands that dot the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea are a tropical haven for sun-seeking outdoor enthusiasts. And there is, indeed, a consistently breathtaking beauty that links each of the destinations like a multi-hued thread. But look deeper, wander the avenues and villages and natural trails of each and you’ll find distinct character in every island locale. The contrasting French and Dutch flair of St. Martin/St. Maarten, the enduring Spanish heritage of Puerto Rico, architectural and commercial evidence of English rule in St. Kitts, and the rhythm of Jamaica – very different cultures set against a uniformly spectacular setting. One of the areas these destinations set themselves apart from the others – and one of our favorite ways to explore – is through Caribbean cuisine.

Fresh, tropical fruit and seafood are on virtually every menu, everywhere, but there are certain dishes unique to each place and culture. As you check off some of the world’s most beautiful beaches from your travel list aboard Crystal Serenity this fall and winter, make sure to add the signature dishes of each destination to your travel diary while you’re at it. We’re sharing just a few of the can’t-miss specialties, but we encourage you to taste as many of the local flavors as possible on your island outings. After all, while the world adjusts to exploring at healthy distances, the shared love of food will always connect us.

When in…

Ocho Rios, Jamaica, don’t miss the jerk chicken. So beloved is this famous dish that it’s served far beyond the island, but nowhere is it more delicious than in its home country. Spicy, sweet heat fire-grilled to perfection, the dish was originally served as a pork-based street food, but has now evolved to reach every level of eatery on the island.

Bridgetown, Barbados, don’t miss the flying fish. The flying fish is a native species to the waters surrounding Barbados, so common that the island’s nickname is the “Land of the Flying Fish.” Luckily, the unofficial mascot is also delicious, making it the national dish, as well. Bajan chefs prepare the dish steamed or fried, flying fish is served over a bed of polenta-like grain called coucou with a side of mustard and onion sauce.

Antigua and Barbuda, don’t miss pepperpot and fungie. The national dish here, fungie is Antigua and Barbuda’s take on polenta-like soft grain, made of cornmeal and cooked with water and peppers until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes. It’s usually eaten for breakfast, but paired with pepperpot, a vegetable stew with salted meat, it’s a wonderful option for lunch and dinner.

San Juan, Puerto Rico, don’t miss mofongo. Fried plantains are the star of this dish, which blends the local delicacy with salt, garlic and broth into a tightly formed ball to be served with chichcarrón or bacon bits on the side, or stuffed with shrimp.

Castries, St. Lucia, don’t miss Creole bread. Carbs on the go for your day’s beach adventures are found in abundance in St. Lucia, where most bakeries specialize in this soft-crust loaf shaped like an odd baguette that is wood-fired for a smoky flavor. Locals like it with thick slices of cheddar, but it’s also delicious all on its own, hot from the oven.

St. Kitts and Nevis, don’t miss stewed salt fish with all the fixins’. Stewed salt fish is a staple here in several forms, but the most comprehensive way to enjoy all the islands’ flavors includes the signature seafood served with fried plantains, coconut dumplings and breadfruit (part of the jack fruit family with a potato-like texture). Together, the varied elements of this dish beautifully – and colorfully – showcase the rich fruits of the local fauna and the sea.

Throughout the region, local Caribbean cuisine almost always pairs perfectly with coconut rice, a signature rum cocktail (more on that this Thirsty Thursday) or an ice-cold local beer. Find your favorite flavors aboard Crystal Serenity this fall and winter.

The new Simply the Best 2020 Caribbean collection offers the acclaimed, all-inclusive luxury of the Crystal Experience with compelling savings and value. Enjoy fares from just $1,399 per guest; best available stateroom or suite available at the time of booking; up to $250 “As You Wish” shipboard credit per stateroom; reduced deposit of $100 per guest; relaxed final payment schedule; Solo Fares from only 125 percent; 10 percent combo savings for the 14-night voyage; and fares from just $199 for children under 18.

Crystal invites travelers to book now and save with added peace of mind and flexibility as we look ahead to sailing together again.

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