Antigua conjures images of a Caribbean paradise with its endless blue skies, white sandy beaches, and coral reefs teeming with life. While this is a perfect summary of what awaits you in Antigua, the island nation has so much more to offer. When traveling to this destination, you have to eat the top must-try foods in Antigua.
Must-try Foods in Antigua
Like most Caribbean islands, Antigua excels in seafood and conch is one of the most popular meats. Conch is the meat found inside the spiral shells that wash up on the West Indies’ sandy beaches. Slightly chewy and reminiscent of clams, conch can be prepared in curries, fritters, chowders, and raw in ceviches.
One of the best places to try conch is at the Copper and Lumber Hotel’s Friday Night Seafood Buffet. Named one of the best fish fries in the Caribbean, the Friday Night Seafood Buffet is located at the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site Nelson’s Dockyard. Locals, ex-pats, and tourists alike attend this seafood extravaganza where crispy conch fritters and conch dishes are always on the menu. If conch isn’t your speed, try the massive surf and turf which includes steak, half a lobster, and sides.
2. Saltfish and fungi
Saltfish and fungi are the Antiguan national dish. Fungi is an Antiguan version of polenta or grits, made by forming a cornmeal and okra paste into balls. A staple in the Antiguan diet, fungi is frequently served with stews and meats. Saltfish, a salt-cured and flaked white fish, is one of the favored pairings for fungi.
This is stick-to-your-ribs, homestyle Antiguan cuisine and, if you want to try it, head to Millers By the Sea in St. John’s. Featuring superb beachside facilities, amazing local cuisine, and a thriving nightlife scene all year long, Millers By the Sea is a little off the beaten path directly on the shores of Fort Bay. Here, locals enjoy the meals they grew up eating, like black-eyed pea rice, chop-up (chopped and stewed spinach, okra, and eggplant), conch water (salty broth with conch meat), and the all-important saltfish and fungi.
If you’re trying to decide what to eat in Antigua and are looking for a dish that highlights the wide variety of ingredients native to the island, look no further than ducana. Similar to tamales in both preparation and texture, ducana is a mixture of grated sweet potatoes and coconuts seasoned with a variety of spices, wrapped in a banana leaf, and steamed until well-cooked and savory.
Usually served as a side dish, ducana’s subtle combination of sweet and tangy that will entice your taste buds and fits perfectly alongside one of the many seafood mainstays served throughout Antigua. Make sure you’re sitting down when the banana leaf is unwrapped and the heavenly smell fills the air, you might just get lightheaded from the excitement.
This is one of the must-try foods in Antigua you need to try.
So your packing everything you can into your cruise, experiencing the many things to do in Antigua, and need a light, refreshing meal for a warm and busy day. Thankfully, souse is ideal for such a busy schedule and readily available to put a much-needed bounce back in your step.
A chilled, light dish that shares characteristics of soup and ceviche, souse is typically made with pickled pork but can also be found with chicken in some restaurants. With a light, clear broth as its base, souse is flavored with different peppers, onions, lime, and a handful of spices to give it a bit of a kick as it cools you down on a hot day. While shopping in Antigua and needing a quick pick-me-up, souse might be just what you need.
5. Jerk chicken
Jerk chicken almost immediately brings about thoughts of Jamaica, and this is one of many things that first gained popularity in Jamaica and spread across the other islands. Jerk chicken involves an intricate preparation process; sometimes dry rubs are done for flavoring, and spicy homemade sauces are added in.
Jerk chicken is something you can find just about anywhere in Antigua, and your chances of satisfaction are high as most people follow the slow cooking process resulting in a tender and delicious meal.
6. Goat water (Mannish water)
This is likely one of the strangest names for a food item you’ve ever heard, but goat water is a real thing and it is tremendously popular in the Caribbean.
The first thing you should know is that this dish is considered an aphrodisiac. It’s a light soup cooked up with just about any piece of goat meat that you can imagine, including bones. Herbs and spices like cinnamon and clove are added in, and sometimes dumplings, yams, potatoes, and more. Goat water is usually eaten around breakfast time, and it is offered by some local restaurants. Keep in mind, this dish is very filling!