While cruising the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), you’ll be treated to blissful days and nights that begin with breathtaking sunsets. One of your cruise destinations will be the popular port of St. Thomas, known for relaxing beaches and great snorkeling spots.
For things to do in St. Thomas, you’ll find a full roster of shore excursions designed for sun, sand and plenty of adventure. From exploring to hiking to water sports, there’s something for everyone. When it’s time to eat, you might want to try some of the area’s local specialties. Besides the many excellent options onboard your cruise ship, St. Thomas cuisine is full of interesting and exciting things to try.
To make the most of your Caribbean cruise vacation, be sure to take advantage of the many excellent St. Thomas dining options that you’ll find everywhere from food stalls to fine restaurants. If it’s your first cruise to the area and you’re wondering what St. Thomas food is like, here is our can’t-miss list of traditional foods to taste.
Don’t let the name throw you off – this dish has nothing to do with mushrooms. In fact, fungi is like a Caribbean-style polenta made from ground cornmeal. Whether it’s soft and creamy like mashed potatoes or cooked longer and shaped into balls, this dish is commonly served with fish and may be garnished with onions, okra, and tomatoes. Fungi is a staple comfort food throughout most of the Caribbean and when it comes to what to eat in St. Thomas, it’s a must-try!
- Johnny Cakes
No matter where you are in the world, you can be sure that the locals have found a way to turn flour, butter and sugar into something wonderful. In St. Thomas, that something comes in the form of Johnny Cakes. Served fried or baked and always delicious, you can have a sample of this simple, slightly sweet delicacy for breakfast, lunch or as a snack.
- Bull Foot Soup
Also called cow heel or cow foot soup, this dish is made with a variety of vegetables including yellow split peas, plenty of spices, and yes – cow’s heel. After simmering for hours, all the flavors meld together, the cow foot becomes tender, and the stew is ready for a taste. Hearty, filling and made with love, this soup is one of the most popular traditional dishes in St. Thomas and other Caribbean islands.
- Kallaloo Soup
Besides being a really fun word to say, kallaloo (or callaloo) soup is a delectable Caribbean dish that’s full of flavor. Get your daily dose of vitamins with this healthy, yummy soup made from a combination of leafy greens, okra, onions, fish and various meats. Sometimes, a dollop of fungi is added to make the soup more filling. If you’re a fan of gumbo, don’t miss this opportunity to dine on kallaloo soup. Spice lovers can also ask for it with a healthy dose of hot peppers.
If you like empanadas, you’ll love pate. This popular snack starts with spiced chicken, fish, or beef stuffed into a pocket of pastry dough and then deep-fried to golden perfection. Pates are delicious, ubiquitous, and portable, so you can enjoy one while relaxing on the beach or take one to go while you’re shopping in St. Thomas.
Yes, that roti. You may be surprised to learn that you can find a number of Indian-influenced roti varieties in the USVI. These flatbread wraps are filled with everything your heart desires, from sweet to savory and meat-filled or vegetarian. The dough is flaky but soft and some of the fillings can be a bit spicy. No matter what style of this inexpensive local fare you choose to indulge in, your taste buds are in for a treat.
What would a tropical island cruise be without fresh, local seafood? In St. Thomas and much of the Caribbean, conch is a favorite on lunch and dinner tables. Conch is a bit like clams in taste and texture, and you’ll find it prepared in many ways including fried and served with a delectable dip, boiled into a chowder, and blended into varying sauces. If you’re a seafood lover, don’t miss out on a plate of conch fritters!
For a bit of luxury, treat yourself to some Caribbean lobster in a beachfront setting. Did you know that the Caribbean lobster doesn’t have claws? Unlike North American lobster, most of its meat is found in the tail. Lobster in the Virgin Islands is often grilled and served with melted garlic butter, or mixed in with rice or soup. Travelers also rave about the lobster with coconut. Dining on succulent lobster as you gaze out onto the ocean waves is not a moment you’ll soon forget.
As you can see, St. Thomas cuisine is a melting pot of influences from Africa, Europe, East India, and Asia. Tasting and enjoying different foods from the area is an easy way to make your cruise vacation even more enjoyable. You and your family can make great memories together while taking in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Caribbean.