As seen in many cultures, food is the epicentre of any gathering, especially during the holidays.  If you are looking to take part in a Caymanian Christmas these are the dishes that you must have.

Stew Conch 

If you read my previous blog, you’ll know that this is one of our most traditional dishes. Local conch simmers in coconut milk, ‘sea pie’ (flat dumplings), scotch bonnet and seasoning peppers until it’s thick and creamy.

Stew Turtle

Another dish that represents our seafaring heritage is cooking locally farmed turtle meat and offal with onions, scotch bonnet and seasoning  peppers for hours until tender.  It’s pricier nowadays so it’s considered a luxury dish primarily reserved for special events.

Cayman Style Beef

Locals also call this dish ‘Christmas Beef’ because back in the day it was only served during the holidays.  Locally acquired beef is cooked down for half a day with onions, scotch bonnet and seasoning  peppers and is finished once it has a juicy and shredded appearance.

Local Sides

Christmas is all about indulgence, so Caymanians have a lot of starchy sides and minimal veggies.  To represent our cuisine, you should always have rice & beans, fried plantains, breadkind and baked macaroni & cheese. 

Heavy Cake

A favourite dessert among locals that is made with simple ingredients: coconut milk, brown sugar, butter and an easily accessible root vegetable, like cassava or yam.  It has a unique gummy texture and there’s always a battle for who will get the caramelised corner piece.

Want to celebrate Christmas with Caymanian cuisine but don’t know how to make these dishes?   You can order most of these dishes from Island Taste, Tomfoodery Kitchen, Foster’s Supermarket and Hurley’s Supermarket.  

Follow Island Epicurean on Instagram and Facebook for more food inspired insights.

By Chelsea Tennant

Chelsea Tennant is the blogger behind the popular Cayman Islands blog, Island Epicurean where readers can find a detailed guide to the Cayman Islands’ culinary culture.