Dining rules in St. Kitts & Nevis are relaxed,
very relaxed so there's little need to worry about making a wrong move. However,
it is still nice to understand how the local people dine and how to behave in a
restaurant or the home of a local. The first rule is that dining with friends or
family is meant as a social occasion so take your time and get to know your fellow
diners; meals can take hours and you should not make plans that force you to leave
early. This is especially true if you find your way to a beach cookout in Nevis;
also at these cookouts most formality is lost to socialization so stop reading here
St. Kitts & Nevis is in the Caribbean and
that means there is no hurry; arriving a few minutes late is never an issue, but
dressing too casually can be. Try to dress in a relaxed, but slightly more formal
manner than you otherwise would in St. Kitts & Nevis, although a tie or dress
is a bit overboard on almost all occasions.
If eating in a local's home you will most likely be shown a seat, but don't
sit until invited to do so. Meals may begin with drinks or just the food and as
the guest you may be invited to take your food first. Try to eat in the continental
style (knife in the right hand, fork in the left) and keep your hands within sight
by resting your wrists on the edge of the table. Again, your host will likely not
be offended if you eat in the incorrect manner, but do your best to follow their
As you finish eating, place your fork and knife together on your plate to indicate
you have finished. If eating in a restaurant, call the server over by making eye
contact; don't wave or call his/her name. Most restaurants will include a service
charge in the bill, but if not, add 10-15% for good service.
Celebrations & Events
The most widely celebrated holiday in St. Kitts &
Nevis is Carnival, which takes place beginning at the end of November. Like
Carnival in many other locations, this festival is focused on music, dancing, and
partying, but is also a great time to try local foods. Everyone seems to be out
celebrating during this time and if you want to try any of the local alcohols, there
will be no shortage of opportunities.
St. Kitts & Nevis is fairly standard in the
non-alcoholic beverage market with most international favorites available. Tea,
coffee, milk, soft drinks, and juices are also accessible with local juices generally
If you're seeking out an alcoholic drink the options are wide, but rum is the
local favorite with the domestic brands of "Belmont Estate" and "Brinley
Gold" leading the way. However, the national drink is "Cane Spirits Rothschild,"
(or CSR) which is an alcohol distilled from sugarcane.
The tap water is generally safe to drink in St. Kitts
& Nevis, however confirm this with your hotel or guesthouse, particularly
during hurricane season as the water can be contaminated. If you do drink the water,
many people may have trouble adjusting to the local tap water, as it will most certainly
be different from what your system is used to if you are not from the region.