The Cayman Islands were first colonized by Jamaica and later by Britain, so it’s no surprise that local food found in the Caymans is also influenced by these two. Expect dishes for all palates in Grand Cayman, from deep fried dumplings and fresh cracked conch to creamy mudslides (claimed to have originated in Grand Cayman) and even stewed turtle. Here are seven dishes you need to order when you’re in Grand Cayman.
Don’t let the name fool you, as you won’t find the typical cake ingredients like flour and eggs in this delicious dessert. Using a recipe created well over 200 years ago, heavy cake is historically made with shredded cassava, coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon and cornstarch. The cake is dark, dense, sweet and moist, with a gooey chew to it. If you’re visiting the Caymans during the Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival (usually end of January-beginning of February) you can decide who has the best heavy cake at the “Heavy Cake Competition.”
Loved by locals and visitors alike, cracked conch is a Grand Cayman staple. Similar to conch fritters, this fresh island dish consists of fried conch and is usually served with fennel and tartar sauce. The best place to get it is its namesake, the Cracked Conch. About nine miles northwest of Seven Mile Beach, this seaside restaurant serves up a Caribbean Fusion cuisine with an enviable Oceanside location.
This traditional Cayman dish is a slow-cooked stew that contains fresh fish or salt beef cooked in coconut milk with various root vegetables such as cassava, sweet potatoes, as well as green bananas, plantains, breadfruit, pumpkin and dumplings–depending on what is available. It’s extremely simple to make and the flavors are nothing less than delicious. Heritage Kitchen on Boggy Sand Road has a casual environment and makes a tasty fish rundown.
Traditionally served during Christmas and weddings, the dark Cayman fruit cake is made with five kinds of fruits that are soaked in cake wine, rum or cream sherry and butter.
These little delicious small, deep-fried dumplings are perfect for a starter or just on the side. The best part is you can have them sweet or savory depending on what you have with them, from butter and jam to sautéed fish and jerk chicken. And one of the best places to get these delicious treats is Heritage Kitchen.
This is considered the national dish of Grand Cayman and is truly delicious. Made in a similar way to an American beef stew with meat, cassava, potato, onion and pepper. The most traditional meal in the Caymans, it dates back to the 17th century when “turtuling” or farming for turtles was popular. To this day, it remains a favorite dish of the locals. All of the meat on the island comes from the Turtle Farm, which is also a great place to sample this dish.
When you think of Grand Cayman, you probably don’t think of the home of the mud slide, but you should. Wreck Bar & Grill, located on the north side of the island, claims to have invented the Mud Slide back in the 1970s. Being the first bar to combine Absolut vodka, Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Cream and crushed ice into a tasty thick drink perfect for a warm day. But the lines at the bar start early (they serve about 400 a day) so be sure to make that your first stop before ordering food.
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