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St Lucia / Special Interests / Food and Cooking

By James Henderson

With its complex history and racial heritage, St Lucia has an interesting tradition of local food - with some strong French Creole influences of course - which is worth investigating. If you are staying in one of the large hotels then you are quite likely to be served up a fairly international menu, but there may be a local food night during the week. Outside the hotels there are plenty of restaurants, particularly in the Rodney Bay area.

Like much West Indian food, St Lucian food is quite hearty, with stews accompanied by rice ‘n’ peas or hefty vegetables such as plantain or sweet potato. The Creole aspect introduces quite a few spices into the dishes, including féroce, a spicy fish filling that is often served in avocados. Other St Lucian specialities are pouile dudon, a chicken stew flavoured with treacle and coconut. There are of course plenty of fish dishes.

Two other specialities worth noting are accras, made with saltfish and once looked down on as a slave staple, but now fondly retained. They are a favourite and make a good starter – battered balls of salted cod, full of herbs and pepper. They are served with hot pepper sauce, Boudin, or black pudding, a local delicacy and a treat made on holidays. The black pudding is a blood sausage with sweet potato and herbs.

Local fare like this is most often found at street festivals, rum shops, and on occasions even at fresh food counters at supermarkets. For a fun evening out you can try Seafood Friday, a fish fry with the best in local fish and seafood set out on the streets of Gros Islet in the north and Anse la Raye on the west coast. There is also a weekly Fish Fiesta at Dennery on the Atlantic coast on Saturdays. For hearty local food at lunchtime, or even a cocoa tea at breakfast, you can try the stalls around the market in Castries. Also, there is always someone cooking up in Gros Islet.

Some restaurants that offer great local food include:

Kimlan’s, Castries - Local restaurant with a nice balcony overlooking Derek Walcott Square in town. Hearty local and Creole fare and excellent fruit juices, a nice spot to get out of the heat and bustle of town.

Laurel’s, Bois D’Orange - A very rustic and local setting off the beaten track (on the road to La Brelotte Bay/Windjammer Landing). Excellent local food. Laurel cooks it herself and she is famous for local/Creole dishes for lunch – souse, green fig and saltfish – and for dinner – crayfish and lambi (conch).

Dasheene, Ladera Resort, Soufrière - A creative take on local ingredients and cuisine, all in a fantastic setting of course, with one of the Caribbean’s most spectacular views. Chef Orlando Satchell creates delightful dishes, made accessible to the visitor, but which are still good hearty West Indian fare.

The buffets at the Lime and at The Triangle (opposite one another) in Rodney Bay Village are also a very good place to get hearty local fare at a good low price.

It is also worth noting that most of the villas in St Lucia have their own cooks, who would be delighted to introduce you to local food. You can accompany them to the market and cook under their instruction.

Markets

The main market is in Castries, close to the terminus of the minibuses. Set in a traditional Caribbean market building, it is mercantile mayhem, with vendors chatting and laughing as they tout their wares. You can get fresh fruit and vegetables and some limited household goods. You will find smaller markets in the main towns to the south of Castries, but in the north of the island you will be dependent on the supermarkets.

Supermarkets

All of the big supermarkets in St Lucia stay open until quite late in the evenings and open on Sunday mornings.  Most are well stocked with a range of imported, regional and local products.

The main supermarket chain in St Lucia is Super J Supermarket with stores in Gablewoods Mall just north of Castries, JQ Charles Mall at the entrance to Rodney Bay, in the centre of Castries and in the Dahar Mall in Vieux Fort.

GL FoodMarket,  Baywalk Shopping Mall, Rodney Bay – A new supermarket with in-store butcher, bakery, delicatessen, specialty foods, imported food and wine.    Open 7am-10pm Monday to Saturday and 7am-6pm on Sunday.

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  1. Visit the world's only drive through volcano
  2. Play a round of golf at the Cap Estate
  3. Try dramatic wall diving off the base of the Petit Piton
  4. Eat local food and dance all night at Fish Friday, Anse La Raye
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