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Cuisine of the Virgin Islands

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The restaurants in the islands are a combination of American and traditional Caribbean forms of serving food. For example, you might see a Subway or McDonalds next door to more local restaurants serving pates and boiled fish. Large grocery stores are westernized, selling items from Campbell’s Soup to Sara Lee pound cakes. Then, just down the street from such a grocery store, it is entirely possible to see a fisherman selling his fresh catch of fish from the back of his truck.

European settlers brought recipes that include items such as beef, onions, garlic, and wheat, but they also developed recipes for local produce such as limes, mango, and sugar cane. When the African slaves were imported, they brought with them okra and new ways to cook traditional foods. The Americans brought beans, corn, potatoes and various types of peppers. With the Indian migration to the islands, curry spice became a new favorite seasoning. Curry dishes are still popular in the islands.

Callaloo soup is a popular dish made of leaves from the daheen plant mixed with okra, various herbs and meats or seafood. Beef, goat, chicken and stewed oxtail are popular meats to be served with other dishes. Side dishes include rice, peas, yams, fried plantains, dasheen, sweet potatoes, cassava, beans and lentils. On some islands, fish soup is so popular that it is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Every island in the Caribbean has its variety of rum and the Virgin Islands are no different. Rum is made from sugar cane or molasses and traditionally was distilled right alongside the manufacturing of sugar on sugar plantations. In the Virgin Islands, Cruzan rum, which is manufactured on St. Croix, is the most popular.

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