If hunger strikes while you’re out and about exploring the Caribbean, my advice is to bypass the international fast-food chains—after all, you can have Burger King at home! Instead head to the nearest street vendor, gas station or food truck, where you’ll find savory and sweet snacks that are loved by locals, filling, inexpensive and—most important—delicious.
Bajan bread-and-two The “bread” is salt bread (a soft bake which tastes, curiously, slightly sweet). The “two” is two deep-fried balls of flying fish, a popular island catch. Sandwich both ingredients together, top with a slice of cheese and a drizzle of hot sauce and/or ketchup and get ready to enjoy this Bajan breakfast favorite, sold at food trucks and gas stations from north to south
Guadeloupe’s Bokit On my first trip to this French-Caribbean archipelago, I was introduced not only to three of its five islands but also to the deliciousness that is bokit. You can find the deep-fried pita sandwich at food trucks all over the archipelago, but I’m partial to the versions I sampled in the Grande-Terre village of Sainte Anne. Each pita pocket is stuffed with fish, chicken or lobster and then supplemented with scrambled egg and shredded cheese. My verdict: C’est magnifique!
Jamaican patty The patty is to Jamaicans what the burger is to Americans—an almost universally loved inexpensive meal on the go. Start with the traditional beef patty and then “graduate” to the varieties, which include everything from callaloo (spinach-like local greens) and cheese to curried shrimp and lobster. All are available island-wide at Tastee, Juici and Mother’s bakeries. Locals are fiercely brand loyal (I’m staunchly #TeamTastee) but honestly, you can’t go wrong, whichever you choose.
St. Lucian Cassava Cakes If you’re driving from one end of Saint Lucia to the other make a stop at Plas Kassav, a tiny lean-to hillside bakery in the village of Canaries. They’re rightfully famous for their organic cassava bread rounds, baked on-site and available in a variety of savory flavors (try the saltfish) and sweet (the chocolate is yummy!)
Trinidad: Doubles Two (hence the name) rounds of fried dough called barra are the foundation of this meatless Trini snack, which is a spicy roti/wrap/sandwich hybrid, filled with curried chickpeas or channa. Cucumber slaw, mango chutney and the distinctively Trini coolantro-based sauce shado beni are non-negotiable topping, and every doubles vendor offers their own particular variation.
The United States Virgin Islands’ Pates Similar to the Jamaican patty (and pronounced the same way), these pastry pockets are usually stuffed with meat, fish or veggies, and deep-fried rather than baked. I’ll never forget my first—devoured at a waterfront counter in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas—but you can find them in any of the three U.S. Virgin Islands.