Cayman style conch chowder. Unlike the white cream base of tradi-
tional conch chowder, Caymanian style conch chowder is tomato based
with onions, peppers, and plenty of flavor.
Coconut. The coconut is a ubiquitous part of Caribbean diet, and every
part is used, from its milk to its meat; even its brown shell has uses.
Fish tea. This spicy soup looks and tastes much better than it sounds. It's
similar to bouillabaisse. Watch out for fish bones when you eat this popu-
Heavy cake. This traditional Caymanian dessert is, well, heavy. Created
from raw grated cassava, yam or breadfruit, some cooks add cornmeal to
the mixture. This is combined with molasses or brown sugar to create a
sweet, caramelized cake that recalls the days when flour was difficult to
obtain on these islands.
Mango. The mango is always present on buffets. Long and oval, the
mango is used in many desserts or, in its green stage, in chutneys and
Guineps. These small green fruits look somewhat like a small lime. To eat
one, pop the flesh out from the skin and suck on it (don't eat the seed).
Patties. The patty is to Jamaicans what the hamburger is to Americans
although this dish has made its way to neighboring Cayman as well. The
patty is actually a fried pie, dough filled with either spicy meat or occasion-
Pimento. Pimento, called allspice in other parts of the world, is a star
among spices. Without the pimento, Jamaica would not have jerk, that de-
lightful side-of-the-road dish that has moved from fast-food status to a
gourmet dish served in many Caymanian restaurants, even the finest.
Plantains. Don't get plantains mixed up with bananas. They may look
similar, but the plantain is not an overgrown banana and tastes nothing
like its sweet cousin. Plantains are used in recipes more like a potato and
are often served sliced and fried.
Pumpkin soup. Caribbean pumpkins are not large and sweet like their
American counterparts, but small and a favorite soup ingredient.
Rundown. This entrée is pickled fish cooked in a seasoned coconut milk
until the fish just falls apart or literally “runs down.”
The Cayman Islands have some of the strictest marine conserva-
tion laws in the Caribbean. They were first put into place in 1978