By Sarah Phillips Vacation calories totally don’t count. Well, that’s not quite true (sadly). But, vacation is a chance to try new things and splurge a little bit. As we’ve sailed throughout the Caribbean, we’ve done a lot of taste testing and sampling. Though we’ve found many, many delicious items and new favorites, we’ve narrowed the list down to 6 of our favorite uniquely Caribbean eats.

Jerk

JERK

Jerk Chicken photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Rather than a specific treat, jerk is a way of cooking that’s native to Jamaica: a very spicy dry or wet rub is applied mostly to chicken and pork. The two main ingredients in this spicy delight: allspice (called “pimento” in Jamaica) and Scotch bonnet peppers. Another fun fact: jerk is both the marinade and method of cooking the meat. Here are some can’t miss spots to try jerk in Jamaican: Boston Bay, the birthplace of jerk food, hosts an annual Portland Jerk Festival with hundreds of jerk food stalls. You don’t have to wait for the festival though, you’ll find jerk stands year round. In Montego Bay, check out The Pork Pit. No matter where you are in Jamaica though, you’ll easily find a side-street stand offering its spicy wares.

Conch

Conch Fritters photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Conch Fritters
photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons

You might be more familiar with a conch shell than the tasty meat inside. On one cruise, we took a snorkeling excursion and our guides found several conchs. As they brought them back up to the boat, they started enjoying them raw, right out of the shell. I’m not one for raw conch, but they make delicious fritters and excellent additions to soups, salads and stews. Conch is especially popular in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands.

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Key Lime Pie
photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons

You knew there’d be at least one desert on here, right? This Key West Classic is a don’t miss item. The name actually comes from key limes, native to the Florida Keys.  It’s also the official pie of the state of Florida. Key Lime is a pretty simple recipe: Key lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk in a pie crust. Originally, the pie wasn’t baked as the ingredients reacted to thicken on their own – but these days it’s typically baked t

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