November 29, 2023

Last week we added my mom’s recipe for Saltfish Fritters to the site. While I was in St Maarten I got to sample their version … Conch Fritters. Actually it wasn’t my first time having these little balls of deep-fried yum. I used to go to a Bahamian restaurant that served delicious conch fritters and ordering them whenever I went

there was a ritual. As a result, I always associate conch fritters or conch soup with the Bahamas. But I got to have both in St. Maarten! I’m not sure if they’re also traditional St. Maarten recipes or if they were introduced to the island  long ago by Bahamians, many of whom live and work on the island. Either way they tasted great!

This conch soup was hot and tasty

Conch is basically the large sea snail found inside a conch seashell. It’s often used as an ingredient in Caribbean recipes, though not much in traditional Jamaican recipes. Conch fritters are very similar to Jamaican Saltfish Fritters, but I’d say somewhat less fishy. They’re also usually served with a dipping sauce. The conch soup I had was particularly delicious. A hot vegetable broth with carrots, yams, dumplings and small pieces of conch was a great start to my meal one night.

St. Maarten is a great place for fish lovers … and luckily I am one. Every type of fresh fish and seafood is available on the island. I had Creole grouper, grilled shrimp and even sampled some uber-fresh and delicious sushi while I was there. 

The main highlight of the St. Maarten Carnival is the two-day parade that wraps up the Carnival events. I went to the parade on the first day. We had spectacular weather and I loved everything about it. The music was hot and pumping, the drinks were cold and the costumes were sincerely some of the best I’ve ever seen. The parade was was a sea of sexy bright costumes adorned with a multitude of glamorous feathers. For me, the size and length of the parade was just right! Best of all, I could enjoy the pulse of the music  with the revelers without being crushed by a huge crowd.

Red snapper with rice, salad and fried plantains … yum!

After an afternoon in the sun watching the parade (and winding my hips), I worked up an appetite. We headed to the Festival Village to enjoy some food at Johnny B’s booth. When I heard that red snapper was on the menu I knew exactly what I was going to have.

I wanted to see how it compared to Escovitch Snapper, which I just love. Johnny B’s red snapper was really good, too. It appeared to be steamed and was very flavourful and tender.  So fresh it was probably caught that morning! Served with a salad, fried plantain, and familiar rice and peas, I wouldn’t be surprise to hear that there’s a Jamaican in Johnny’s kitchen.

Growing up my mother taught me and my sisters how to cook and bake, but the Jamaican dishes were always her territory. So now, years later, Iike you I'm learning how to cook like a Jamaican! From time to time I also share my own recipes that feature modern twists on traditional Jamaican dishes and ingredients.


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