Antigua and Barbuda is a country located in the West Indies, situated at the juncture of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean in the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles. The country is comprised of two major islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and many smaller islands, such as Great Bird, Green, Guiana, Long, Maiden, Prickly Pear, York Islands and Redonda.
The country is best known for its stunning white sand beaches, sailing, the 18th century Nelson’s Dockyard, its cuisine, the largest nesting colony of frigate birds in the Caribbean and much more.
The population of Antigua and Barbuda is made up of different ethnicities, including people of West African, British and Madeiran descent. The ethnic distribution comprises 91% black, 4.4% mixed race, 1.7% white and 2.9% other (mainly East Indian).
Most Popular Antigua and Barbuda Dishes
The local dishes of the country are influenced by the cuisines of several other regions including West Africa, China, India, Syria, Lebanon, Jamaica, Spain and Great Britain.
Local Antiguan dishes include ducana, seasoned rice, saltfish and lobster (from Barbuda). Confectionaries prepared in the country include sugar cake, fudge, raspberry and tamarind stew and peanut brittle.
Local drinks include mauby, seamoss, tamarind juice, raspberry juice, mango juice, lemonade, coconut milk, hibiscus juice, ginger beer, passion fruit juice, guava juice, soursop juice and ginger beer.
So without further ado, here are the absolute must-try traditional dishes of Antigua and Barbuda along with recipes for you to try for yourself.
Fungee and Pepperpot
Fungee is a bread ball prepared using cornmeal and okra. It is believed to have a similar texture and taste to polenta.
Pepperpot is a one-pot stew prepared using cassareep with pork, beef, or fish. It is generally consumed for breakfast or dinner. Pepperpot is originally from Guyana, but it has been modified according to the taste of the people of the Caribbean islands.
Fungee and pepperpot combined make the national dish of Antigua and Barbuda and one can find this dish eaten throughout the island nation.
Ducana is a type of banana leaf dumpling prepared using grated sweet potatoes and coconut, coconut milk, flour, sugar, ginger, nutmeg, raisins, and several extra seasonings. Occasionally, pumpkin is also added. It is a popular Caribbean dish, similar to tamales.
These ingredients are then transferred to a banana leaf and boiled in water. It consists of sweet and savory flavors and is often consumed as a side dish.
As a side dish, it is usually accompanied by stewed or salted fish. One can also eat it cold or as a snack.
Goat water, also known as mannish water, is a soup prepared using goat meat, onions, tomatoes, flour, breadfruit, pepper, garlic and herbs such as cinnamon, thyme and clove. Several other ingredients, including potatoes and yams, are also occasionally added for additional taste.
This soup is generally thin yet filling and is commonly served for breakfast. Goat water is usually accompanied by local Antiguan wood oven bread or fried dumplings.
Also considered an aphrodisiac, it is a widely consumed dish not only in Antigua and Barbuda but in the whole Caribbean.
Conch is Antigua and Barbuda’s famous seafood that is known to be sweet and has a texture that is somewhere between squids and clams. They are found in the country’s own warm waters.
Due to its versatility, one can find many variations of conches. Some of them include conch fritters, conch chowder, conch curries, conch salad and conch ceviche.
Conch fritters are known to be a local favourite as they are generally relished as snacks and side dishes. One can easily find this seafood at roadside rest areas and restaurants all across the country.
Pork Chops With Bananas and Bacon
Pork chops with bananas and bacon is considered to be a favorite of all meat lovers in the country. As the name of the dish suggests, this Antiguan delicacy comprises grilled or barbecued pork chops accompanied by bacon-wrapped grilled banana chunks.
The pork chops are first seasoned with ingredients like butter, salt, pepper and cumin. The banana chunks are sprinkled with lemon juice for extra flavour and skewered so they cook effortlessly.
Both are then grilled or barbecued, as preferred.
Antigua Black Pineapple
The Antigua black pineapple, also known as the Antiguan Black, is recognised as the sweetest pineapple in the world. This fruit is low in acidity and is known to have a crunchy texture, golden-yellow flesh and a tender core.
It is usually suggested to slice and chill the fruit before consuming it as it helps to achieve an even better taste.
Shawarma is a type of pita wrap dish prepared using meat that is roasted on a slowly-turning vertical rotisserie or spit. There are ample meat choices to prepare the shawarma in Antigua including lamb or mutton, chicken, turkey, beef or veal.
It is generally accompanied by salad. Although not traditionally associated with Antigua and Barbuda, shawarma is still widely consumed in the country. It is believed that it was immigrants from Syria and Lebanon who introduced the delicacy to the locals of Antigua.
Stinking Toe Fruit
Stinking Toe Fruit, also known as locust fruit or jatobá, is the fruit of the West Indian Locust, the largest tree in the Caribbean. It is known as Stinking Toe Fruit as its shape is similar to a big toe and its pungent smell is like a sweaty foot.
The fruit’s texture is mainly dry and dense, and it is sweet in taste. The fruit is said to remind people of powdered sugar and dried milk, with a touch of herbs and some parmesan cheese.
Sorrel is a drink prepared by boiling or steeping the petals of the sorrel or roselle plant – a species of Hibiscus. The red-coloured liquid is then flavoured with ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon, clove and lime. One can also add rum in order to make it alcoholic.
Although sorrel is normally available throughout the year, this drink is typically relished at Christmas and New Year’s.