St. Martin has no shortage of amazing things to offer, like sparkling turquoise beaches and beautiful weather year-round. But the best thing that St. Martin has to offer (yes, better than the beaches!) is its food! Famously known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, St. Martin really knows its stuff when it comes to delicious, fun, and unique foods. It’s not hard to see why, thanks to the French and Dutch influences on both sides of the island. These European flavors combined with the typical tropical flavors of the Caribbean make for great eating, no matter where you are on the island. Keep reading to learn about some of our favorite foods and drinks!
No list about St. Martin’s food would be complete without Johnny cake! Also sometimes called Journey cake, this slightly sweet and deliciously fried treat can be a side dish that perfectly pairs with almost anything or enjoyed alone as a quick snack. Johnny cakes are about as loved in St. Martin as French fries are in the United States.
Soup is one of the most underrated foods and yet one of the most traditional things you can eat in Sint Maarten and St. Martin. But these aren’t your canned grocery store soups – soups like Whelk Soup, Pig Tail Soup, Bull Foot Soup, and Callaloo Soup are time-honored dishes on the island.
Where else in the world can you combine fresh, authentic French pastries with stunning views of the Caribbean Sea? Since half of the island is French, finding delicious French pastries, like croissants, quiche, and sweet baked goods, is as easy as finding the beach. Our favorite place to go is Sarafina’s, which happens to also be one of the stops on our Culinary Road Trip food tour!
Everyone likes to claim that they have the best barbecue, but in St. Maritn we know we’re the real champs. In fact, we love our barbecue so much that you can even find it on the sides of the roads in open-air food stands we call Lolos. You can find spare ribs, chicken, and everything in between at one of these Lolos or even in most restaurants (paired with a delicious Johnny cake of course). The best part is that everyone has their own top-secret recipe!
Most foodies know that some of the best dishes are the simplest. Locri is a rice and chicken dish that packs a flavorful punch and is made in one pot (hellooo easy cleanup!) Making this dish in one giant pot is what allows all the flavor to mix and combine and gives you the best experience.
Rice and Peas
Pea-haters stay with us – this dish doesn’t actually have any of those mushy green peas from your childhood! Rice and peas is a classic comfort food made of white rice and red kidney beans. Ridiculously easy to make, this is the perfect side dish for any meal or even great all on its own!
Mostly enjoyed on Good Friday, Salt Fish is a beloved dish tied with a lot of tradition. You can bread and fry it and enjoy it as a fritter or make with a lemon butter sauce. Whichever way you prefer to eat it, you won’t be disappointed.
Conch and Dumplings
Did someone say Carnival?! Conch and dumplings are practically synonymous with the massive, Dutch side celebrations of Carnival. Pressured cook conch and savory dumplings come together in a delicious and spicy medley of seasoning and flavor. Make sure you soak up the conch sauce with your dumplings, to get the authentic experience!
Guavaberry Liqueur is the National Liqueur of both the Dutch and French side of the island, and it’s not hard to find out why. Guavaberries are small and hard to grow fruit that grow in the Caribbean. Both locals and travelers love Guavaberry Liqueur equally and almost every restaurant has their own special cocktail using this liquor, like this Guavaberry Colada!
Flavor Infused Rum
In the Caribbean, rum is king. It’s the perfect post-beach day liquor to base any cocktail and can come in an endless amount of flavors. In Sint Maarten, you can find just about any kind of flavor infused rum, all housed in beautifully hand painted bottles. If there’s a flavor you want, you can probably find it. Our favorites include Vanilla-Banana and Orange-Cinamon from our partner restaurant Ma Dou Dou. You can also try a few different flavored rums on our food tour at our other partner restaurant L’Escapade!