Historically, Antigua has imported most of its food so it is unsurprising that the specialties tend to be Creole-influenced or specialties from the cultures that originally lived here. Many dishes combine a mixture of green peppers, tomatoes, onion, and garlic and are heavily spiced—sometimes meaning spicy (hot), sometimes just meaning full of spices. Locals like to add heat to their dishes if they aren't spicy enough, like the popular red habanera and scotch bonnet hot sauce called Susie's Hot Sauce.
Fungi is the popular national dish of Antigua. This dish often comes as a side, accompanying mashed vegetables, salted cod, or garlic and onions. It is a mixture of cornmeal and okra with a consistency similar to grits. The cooked cornmeal paste is stirred with a special cooking utensil called a fungi stick, which the Antiguans say is essential for making the firm texture of the fungi.
Souse is a type of soup eaten as an appetiser or as a side dish for lunch or dinner. Meat is culled from the head, feet, and tail of a pig. The meat is washed with lime, then boiled in salted water to make a flavourful broth. Then the ubiquitous mixture of onions, sweet peppers, and spices are added.
While this popular Caribbean dish may have originated in Jamaica, Antiguans love it also. Jerk chicken combines a unique set of spices to make a well-rounded sweet, spicy, herbal chicken dish that is mouth-wateringly juicy and tender. Grill it, bake it, whatever way you eat it, this dish is authentic and delicious.
This traditional Antiguan dish is like a sweet dumpling and is fairly simple to make. It consists of grated sweet potato mixed with coconut milk, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisings, and a dollop of butter. The mixture is formed into little dumplings and steamed in a banana leaf. Douse it with pineapple vinegar or hot sauce to get that perfect combination of sweet and savoury that Antiguans love so well.
Pepperpot stew is a classic Antiguan dish that is often served with fungi. This type of pepperpot differs from others in the Caribbean in that it is green. The green colour is thanks to the inclusion of fresh spinach. The stew also adds a variety of rich ingredients such as yams (or pumpkin), smoked ham, corned (or salt) beef, pigeon peas, tomatoes, and spices.
Roti is basically a type of bread that is similar to a large flour tortilla, but slightly lighter. In Antigua the roti is filled with goat, chicken, conch, shrimp, fish, or lobster and chunks of potatoes. Usually the filling is curried, but jerk and Creole sauces offer a yummy alternative. Smother it with Antigua’s popular hot sauce, Susie’s, for that spicy, mouth-watering kick.
Antiguan street food captures the essence of the Caribbean. Vibrant, spicy, colourful, flavourful, you definitely don't want to miss out. In Antigua, street vendors have to be licensed, so you are generally safe buying food from them. However, do be careful to only order street food from vendor’s whose food is clean and fresh, as well as cooked in front of you.
Saltfish cakes made their way to Antigua from the West Indies. Popular in local restaurants and served by street vendors, they can be bought by the dozen or just a few at a time. Saltfish, dried and salted cod, is mixed with onion, sweet pepper, mashed potatoes, and scotch bonnet or habenero peppers, as well as milk and flour to form a batter. The batter is dropped into heated oil and deep fried until crispy and delicious.
The Antigua Black Pineapple gets its name because it is ripe and ready to eat while the skin is still dark green. This unique pineapple is not just sweet, it is super-sweet. Slice it and serve it on a plate, then take it to a tropical beach and pair with a piña colada for a taste of the good life.
Breadfruit was originally introduced to the region from the East Indies. This green fruit has a pale yellow or white flesh that is so bready it can be made into flour. In Antigua, street vendors boil the breadfruit in salted water for a few minutes, then smother it with butter, garlic, and parmesan, and bake it until it is bubbling and golden brown.
Just like in the UK, pasties are a popular type of street food in Antigua. These savoury pastries are stuffed with meat, potatoes, and onion and baked in the oven until the pastry is golden and delicious.
Johnnycakes were introduced to Antigua by its earliest settlers. These delicious little cakes are a type of bread, made with butter, flour, milk, sugar, salt, and baking powder, mixed, then patted down and fried in a pan. These easy-to-eat bits of bread are especially popular at beach parties and festivals.