Regional Variations, Specialties, & Unique Dishes
Roast Breadfruit & Jackfish: just as it implies, the national
dish is breadfruit with jackfish
Souse: animal feet (pig, chicken, or beef) cooked with
onions, garlic, and spices
Dining rules in St. Vincent & the Grenadines
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. Vincent & the Grenadines 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. Vincent & the Grenadines,
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 up to 10-15% for good service.
Celebrations & Events
The most widely celebrated holiday in St.
Vincent & the Grenadines is Carnival, which takes place from the end
of June into July. 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 plenty of opportunities.
St. Vincent & the Grenadines 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, although the local juice selection is quite large and impressive.
The national drink is also worth a try and available at most beach-side locations:
sea moss drink, which is a mixture of sea moss, limes, water, milk, and spices.
On the alcoholic side St. Vincent & the
Grenadines, 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. Most of the beers you'll find are popular international brands.
The tap water is generally safe to drink in
St. Vincent & the Grenadines, 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.