A TASTE OF 'VINCY'
For many people, the breadfruit is seen as a symbol of St. Vincent, tied to the nation's culture and heritage. Its uniquely shaped leaf can be seen engraved into flower pots along the bayfront of Kingstown. The breadfruit itself forms part of the country’s national dish of roasted breadfruit and fried jack fish.
History of the Breadfruit
On January 23, 1793 Captain William Bligh anchored the HMS Providence off Kingstown and completed his ambition of bringing breadfruit plants here from Tahiti. His first attempt resulted in the infamous mutiny on the Bounty. After being adrift for 47 days in the Pacific, Captain Bligh returned and, it is said, one of the trees now growing in Kingstown’s Botanical Gardens is a descendant of one of his original breadfruit plants. Breadfruits were used as an economical source of food during slavery. Read about our Breadfruit Festival held annually in August.
Arrowroot is a traditional Amerindian crop. It is a starchy tuber that, when harvested, is washed, pulped, drained and dried to produce a powder that is used as a replacement for flour in bread making, as well as an ingredient in puddings, biscuits, cakes and sauces. Interstingly, it was said that arrowroot was also used to draw toxins from flesh wounds made by the poison arrows used by indigenous people.
St. Vincent is one of the few places in the world where this ancient and traditional crop is still cultivated for both domestic and overseas consumption. Visitors to the Owia area of St. Vincent's north east may see arrowroot crops growing on the lush green hillsides.
Vincy Cuisine & Specialties
The breadfruit is just one of a veritable cornucopia of ground provisions, vegetables, fruits and spices that are farmed and harvested here in St Vincent. Kingstown’s Friday and Saturday market is a great place to investigate and sample all the wonderful produce that we grow here.
Look out for yams, dasheen, eddoes, bananas, plantains, christophenes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbages, carrots, sweet peppers, seasoning peppers, hot peppers and so much more. If you enjoy cooking, you will really love it!
And if your preference is simply for eating, then don’t worry, all nine of our islands have talented chefs, cooks and an assortment of eateries from roadside snackettes to fine dining restaurants.
Traditional chicken or meat dishes are usually accompanied by fresh local vegetables, ground provisions, rice and peas. Whilst chicken is very common and we prepare it in a variety of ways, you should also look out for specialties such as curried goat or lambi (queen conch).
Our fresh fish dishes include mahi mahi, tuna, bonito, kingfish, snapper, flying fish and occasionally marlin – it all depends on what is in season. In St. Vincent’s west coast village of Barrouallie, ‘black fish’ (pilot whale) is a local delicacy. Fresh lobster, squid and octopus are other very popular seafood dishes.
As for drinks, well don’t leave St. Vincent & the Grenadines without having sampled at least one bottle (maybe more) of Hairoun beer, or a glass (or two) of Sunset rum. Both are produced here in St. Vincent and both taste great!
Did you know?
Hairoun, the name of our local beer, is the original Amerindian name for St. Vincent. It means Land of the Blessed.
Vncy Flavours is a culinary arts and mixology competition, hosted by the the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Hotel & Tourism Association (SVGHTA). Local food and beverages are showcased at this annual event.
Ingredients: 2 bundles callaloo (approximately 12 ozs.) 12 ozs. Beef (seasoned) salted meat 12 cups water 1 lb. tannia 1 tsp. garlic (minced) ½ cup chopped onion 1 tbsp. salt ½ cup chive ½ tsp. all purpose seasoning ¼ tsp. pepper 2 potatoes (white or sweet) 2 cups coconut milk (see below) 1 tbsp. butter (optional)dumplings other vegetables may be used.
Ingredients: 1 lg. Breadfruit 1/4 cup water 1 lb saltfish 1 onion 1 tomato 1/4 cup oil 1 small cucumber 1 tsp. butter