What to Order at a Caribbean Restaurant If You're a Vegetarian
Caribbean food is known for incorporating a lot of seafood, goat meat, and chicken. However, there are plenty of vegetarian dishes to be enjoyed, too. If you're a vegetarian who plans to visit a Caribbean restaurant soon, here are a few dishes you can order that will fit your dietary needs while also allowing you to experience the cuisine.
Rice and Peas
Rice and peas is a dish that's common in Jamaica. As such, you will see it listed on some Caribbean restaurant menus as "Jamaican rice and peas." This is a really filling, protein-rich dish, making it a good choice for vegetarians. The key thing to keep in mind about Jamaican rice and peas is that the so-called "peas" are not really peas. They're kidney beans; Jamaicans simply call them peas. The dish is typically seasoned with Scotch bonnet peppers, so it has some spice. Other seasonings used include garlic, red onion, coconut milk, and pimentos.
Some restaurants offer rice and peas as an entree, and others offer it as a side dish. If it's only on the sides menu, you could always order two portions and enjoy them both as a whole meal.
Tomato choka is a dish that's popular in Trinidad. It is traditionally served for breakfast, but some Caribbean restaurants offer it either all day, or as a lunch or dinner item. Tomato choka is made with garlic, onions, peppers, and various spices. It's served in a bowl like a soup, sometimes with white rice on the side that you can stir into it or eat alongside it. Occasionally, you'll find a restaurant that serves it with roti, an unleavened flatbread similar to Indian naan. In either case, it's a tasty vegetarian option that allows you to enjoy many of the traditional spices used in Caribbean cooking.
Spiced Corn Soup
Spiced corn soup is made throughout the Caribbean. The spices and seasonings may be a little different from island to island, but the base is the same. The soup is made from split yellow peas, corn, coconut milk, and vegetable stock. Sometimes, it is thickened with some butternut squash, too. This creamy soup can make a meal in and of itself, but it's sometimes served with fritters or a side of rice.
Eating vegetarian at a Caribbean restaurant is not overly difficult. If you keep your eyes out for the dishes above, you should have plenty of options.