Our local food is what keeps many Saint Lucians on the go. But the Caribbean islands are interconnected and have borrowed from each other certain foods and ways of cooking.
Also spelled dhal, daal and dal, this is a curried split pea stew from East India. Over here, we have modified the presentation and added carbs (and calories) by wrapping the peas in dough and deep-frying it. But this has also added to the flavour!
These come from Trinidad. They are a tasty combination of curried chickpeas and flaky dough which serves as a “skin”. Although not widely found at roadside stalls, doubles are available from a few shops that tend to be owned by Trinidadians, so you know you are getting an authentic taste and texture.
The islands are also subject to influences from beyond the region, and no-one would deny that a burger is a great “fast food”. Rather than the American-style beef burgers they’re named after, those here are mostly chicken and fish because that’s what’s more readily available. They are usually made with local hot sauce and fresh seasoning and vegetables.
This originates from Jamaica but has made its mark here and is now a staple at roadside stalls and in some restaurants. The chicken is marinated in jerk seasoning beforehand and then grilled or baked. Beware if you can’t handle spicy foods!
FISH AND CHIPS
It’s not easy to emulate battered English fish so, in the main, as street food, we haven’t bothered! Grilled fish is the choice of your average Saint Lucian who might think it a sacrilege to wrap a piece of good, fresh fish, caught that day, in a coat of batter. But we don’t like our fish plain so it’s considered incomplete without a garlic or pepper sauce. Grilled fish is a Saint Lucian specialty, especially on a Friday and Saturday night when at a “jump-up”.
On the other hand, Saint Lucians have embraced the idea and taste of fries. Sold with fried fish, chicken or simply on their own, with ketchup and homemade tartar sauce, fries are easily found all day and every day and are sold in snack size or full-meal portions.