Plantains: often a side dish or an ingredient in the main course
Rice: a common base to meals or simply a side dish
Regional Variations, Specialties, & Unique Dishes
Bouyon: fish or chicken with plantains, bananas, yams,
Green Fig & Salt Fish: the national dish of green bananas with
salt fish boiled and usually served for breakfast
Dining rules in St. Lucia 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.
St. Lucia 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. Lucia, 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. Some restaurants will include a service
charge in the bill, but if not, add up to 10-12% for good service.
Celebrations & Events
The greatest festival to try some local foods and drinks in St.
Lucia is during Carnival, which takes place in July. This formerly pre-Lenten
festival encourages the over-consumption of meats and alcohol as the country takes
to the streets to listen to music, dance, drink, and eat. This is a great time to
meet some locals and try local foods and drinks.
St. Lucia will offer the visitor any non-alcoholic drinks
they are used to from home, including teas, coffees, soft drinks, milk, and juices.
Sadly, there is little variation from these standard drinks with the exception of
"Golden Apples," which is a soft drink made from apples and sugar.
On the alcoholic side St. Lucia, like most of the Caribbean
prefers rum and beer over other alcohols (although others are available). Rum is
usually served as a mixed drink as hundreds of options exist. The favorite beers
are numerous international brands along with the locally brewed Piton.
The tap water is generally safe to drink in St. Lucia,
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.