British Virgin Islands – Exotic Cuisine in a Tropical Paradise

shutterstock_248906968In his greatly documented Caribbean journeys that started in 1492, Christopher Columbus is given the credit of discovering many of the islands there. These include the Virgin Islands which he named in memory of the 11000 virgins who followed St. Ursula, and were beheaded in the 4th century. In 1692, they were colonised by the British and became fondly known as the British Virgin Islands, even though their official name remains the same.

The BVI is made up of 36 islands, with in excess of 20 still being unpopulated. Tortola is the largest one and has the most people living on it. The people of the islands speak a mix of English and creole (broken English). The population of the British Virgin Islands (like much of the Caribbean) is very diverse and they have their own unique culture and mannerisms.

The Unique Foods of the British Virgin Islands

A very important part of any country’s traditions is their food, and the way that it is different from other cultures. Even though the islands have started to import a lot of the things they eat, there are still local farmers who sell produce in open-air markets, including fruits, vegetables and animals that they have reared themselves. Some of the other traditional foods that are still a part of mealtimes are:

Fungi (Foon-gee) – This is the main staple in the islands and is made from cornmeal which has been boiled thick and mixed with okra. A popular, and highly recommended, meal is fungi and fried fish.

shutterstock_319778354Pate (Pah-teh) – A fried dough that has been made with a meat filling, this is a dish that can be eaten as either a snack or a meal. The fillings are normally mutton (goat), chicken or saltfish.

Johnny/Journey Cake – Pastry made using a mix of sugar, cornmeal and fried dough.

Soups – In the British Virgin Islands there is an endless variety of soups, some of these include fish, bullfoot, goat head and pea soup. Always served with dumplings, they are well-seasoned with various spices.

shutterstock_256283467Callaloo – Another soup which is made from the green, leafy vegetable grown on the island with the same name. It is boiled down with meat and okra, until a thick stew is formed.

Dukuna – Normally reserved for special events, this is a dessert made from a combination of spiced sweet potatoes and coconut pudding which has been wrapped in plantain leaf and steamed.

Being located in the tropics the variety of fruits that are grown locally are endless. The most well-known are mangoes, sugar apples, soursop, gooseberries, sea grapes and papaya. These are all stewed with sugar and when cooled make a tasty sweet treat.

The British Virgin Islands is not only full of friendly inhabitants, they are the source of a unique variety of food that always leave visitors craving more.

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