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Food culture tells the intimate story of diversity through cuisines, richness of flavors and offers a space for cultural interaction. Each Caribbean Island has a unique flavor and culinary technique. Historically, Caribbean food has been influenced by several cultures of the world. The Arawak, Carib, and Taino “Indians” were the first dwellers in the Caribbean Islands. Their daily diet consists of vegetable and fruits such as papaya, yams, guavas, and cassava. The Taino were the first to prepare meat and fish in large clay pots. The Carib Indians introduced spices and lemon juice to their meat and fish recipes.

Through colonization, most Caribbean islands were filled with large sugar plantations, producing most of the sugar consumed in Europe. Slaves from Africa were the main source of labor working on these plantations. Caribbean cuisine is a melting pot of culinary influences from Africa, France, Spain, India, Dutch, America, Britain, and Asia. West Africans brought callaloo, okra, and ackee to complement the tomatoes, potatoes, corn, and beans cultivated by indigenous civilizations across the Americas. Colonial powers brought meats like beef, pork and chicken plus oranges, garlic, and onions. Salt fish and tamarind are indigenous to Arica’s tropical belt and were introduced by Spaniards and Portuguese in 16th century.

In my lifetime, I have witnessed local cultural restaurants close as Americanized restaurants move in. The true taste of the Caribbean lies in the rotis, pates, salt fish, fungi, johnny cakes, cow heel soup, oxtail soup, callaloo, conch fritters and much more. Below are local eateries, sharing the Caribbean cuisine of St. John.  Check out the local eateries below to support the food culture of the people of St. John.  


Coral Bay

  • Ekaete Pink Corner- at the Coral Bay intersection on route 107
  • Love City Café- storage container next to old Pickles in Paradise, adjacent to local art gallery
    • Offer specialty coffee, homemade baked goods, and provisioning
    • Cappuccino, lattes, espressos, smoothies, frozen coffees, and much more
    • Homemade baked goods, to-go-salads, and snacks for beach day
    • Hours 6am-2pm
    • 340.473.6228
  • Miss Lucy’s – on your way to Salt Pond

Cruz Bay


Bonner, Hillary. Eat Local Food- A Guide to St. John’s Caribbean Inspired Eateries. January 4, 2022. News of St. John: An Online Blog About the Daily Happenings of St. John, USVI.