1. Conch Stew
A type of sea snail, conch is delicious in a stew, soup, fritters or in a salad. Typically known as the national dish in the Bahamas, Cayman conch is equally as appetizing. During conch season (November- April) you’ll find conch on most menus. Take a drive out to North Side, dine by the sea and tuck into some of the best conch stew at ‘Over the Edge’ restaurant.
2. Johnny Cake
Small, deep-fried dumplings, Johnny Cakes make great starters or sides. These Caribbean delicacies are great on their own, with butter, jam or with sautéed fish. Get a taste of these little treats at the ‘George Town Yacht Club’ by the airport.
3. Jerk Chicken
Native to Jamaica, this spicy dish, made with scotch bonnet peppers and allspice, is probably the most famous of the Caribbean foods. With smoking, delicious-smelling jerk stands scattered across the island, if you’re craving some juicy meat with a kick, you won’t be disappointed.
4. Cayman-style lobster
Lobster in the Caribbean is a delicacy and quite frankly, the best of its kind. You’ll find succulent, irresistible lobster dishes in risottos, pastas and even patties all over the island, but one thing you simply must try is Cayman-style lobster tails from ‘Deckers’ on Seven Mile Beach. Cooked with hot sauce and scotch bonnet peppers, this spicy, tender dish is nothing short of exquisite.
5. Cayman-Style Beef
The most tender meat you’ll taste in your life. Cayman-style beef, or stewed beef, is slow-cooked shreds of meat, tossed with hot spices and left to soak up the juices. Yum.
6. Fish + Fritters
A true taste of Cayman, fried fish, usually whole mahi mahi, grouper or snapper, originates from Cayman’s seafaring past. Fillets are marinated in lime, salt and pepper and fried with onions, peppers, butter and spices for a delicious, crispy, old-fashioned Caribbean dish.
7. Coconut Shrimp
Succulent seafood dishes are aplenty in Cayman and an island favourite is coconut shrimp. Deep-fried and coated in coconut shavings, this isn’t a meal to miss out on.
8. Old Fashioned Fish Fry
Whole fish fried to perfection served up on a bed of rice and beans and a side of plantains, mash and fritters- a true taste of the Caribbean.
9.Cassava Cake ( Heavy Cake)
A root vegetable, cassava is actually native to Central and South America but very popular all over the tropics. Made with coconut milk, sugar and other spices for a dense, sweet taste, cassava cake (or heavy cake) is considered a traditional Caymanian dish. This tasty desert came about centuries ago when the lack of resources forced Caymanians to get creative in the kitchen. Get a mouthful of it at ‘Grand Old House’ in South Sound.
10. Ackee + Saltfish
A traditional Caribbean breakfast, this is Jamaica’s national dish and popular in the whole of the Caribbean. It may look like some kind of scrambled egg, but ackee is actually a fruit. It’s boiled and mixed together with salt cod, onions, scotch bonnet peppers, tomatoes and spices for a tasty (and salty) meal. Get a serving of the good stuff at ‘Paradise Restaurant’ in Cayman Brac.
11. Conch Soup
Perfect for a cool day or when you’re in search of comfort food, conch soup is a great take-away lunch option, snack or paired with some bread for an evening meal. ‘Heritage Kitchen’ in West Bay is a popular choice.
12. Turtle Stew
A true delicacy and perhaps the most traditional meal in the Cayman Islands, ‘turtling’- or farming for turtles, dates back to the 17th Century, and even now turtle stew is a favourite among locals. All turtle meat on island comes from the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm where they also serve up turtle soup at the on-site restaurant.