The beautiful island of Antigua is endowed with many traditional culinary specialties. Even the region's local fruits and vegetables have tastes and textures uniquely their own.
The national dish of Antigua is fungee (sometimes spelled fungi), which is a cornmeal and okra pudding, served with pepperpot stew. This dish can be served as breakfast, or a main entrée for dinner. Other local favorites include the black pineapple (an extra-sweet pineapple), green figs (bananas), breadfruit, christophene, goat water, barbecue chicken, roast suckling pig, and cockles. Familiar fresh fruit is always abundant and includes mangoes, papayas, melons, oranges, grapefruits, bananas, soursop, and coconuts.
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Salted codfish, usually served with tomato sauce, is a mainstay of Antiguan dining. While saltfish and sauce is popular, many fresh catches from the sea are available to sample. Most fish dishes are served blackened. Other popular seafood includes shrimp, spiny lobster, red snapper, mahi mahi (locally known as dolphin), shark, conch, and octopus. The catch of the day is always worth trying.
Despite the widespread popularity of European and American cuisines on Antigua, travelers will find most chefs prefer to add West Indian flair to continental dishes whenever possible. Meanwhile, adventurous diners may want to try traditional Caribbean fare at roadside stands. These dishes often include items like roti: pancakes filled with curried beef, chicken, or potatoes.
When dining as the locals do, be sure not to miss out on:
Ducana - grated sweet potato mixed with coconut, sugar, and spices steamed in a banana leaf
Pepperpot stew - a mix of salted beef and pork with squash, okra, aubergine, spinach, pumpkin, and cornmeal dumplings
Fungi (sometimes Fungee) - a cornmeal-and-okra pudding often served with pepperpot stew
Souse - pork marinated in lime juice, onions, hot and sweet peppers, and spices
Callaloo - a spinach soup flavored with cloves or crab
Cuisine in Antigua tends to be spicy. Although heavy spices may not always mean that a dish is hot, many island favorites are served with a little something to heat things up. Those who enjoy the heat may want to try the widely popular Susie's Hot Sauce, a red habanero and scotch bonnet sauce that is a mainstay in most restaurants in Antigua. Curry is another popular addition to meals.
Travelers can wash down a meal with fruit juices and coconut water, however, those looking for something that packs a bit more of a punch will find Antigua has its own specialties here as well.
Wadadli is the local beer, and travelers will also find plenty of imports from around the Caribbean. However, Antigua's preferred beverage is rum, which is often added to punches and daiquiris. Cavalier and English Harbour are top names in rum on Antigua, where the brewing tradition stretches back 200 years.
To ensure that you don't miss the opportunity to sample any of the dishes listed here that intrigue you, check out our Restaurant Directory. Not only can you search for restaurants by name, but you also have the capability to search for them by type of cuisine. Additionally, read up on hotels that interest you by selecting them from our list of island accommodations (A to Z: Hotels in Detail). Here you can learn about their restaurants, as well as other nearby dining options and a detailed discussion of each property. Finally, if you want to find out which hotels have restaurants on property, check out Best Hotels for Dining Options.
No matter what your style, you're sure to find something to spice up your stay in Antigua when you try some of the local favorites.
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