The British Virgin Island restaurants offer a range of cuisines, and it's not hard to find a good place to eat in this laid-back island chain. As you might expect in an island territory, seafood is on the menu at many of the restaurants. When it comes to BVI seafood, red snapper, grouper, mahimahi, and yellowtail are just some of the fish that are easy to come by, and visitors can also indulge in fresh lobster at many a restaurant. The island of Anegada is rumored to be the best place to dine on fresh lobster. When you're not in the mood for some super fresh BVI seafood, dining on barbecue ribs or chicken is possible in most of the top destinations. Some of the beach hotels offer barbecue parties on certain nights, and you can try a variety of grilled meats if you attend one. Dining in the BVI can involve a range of experiences, and many a beach bar serves up cold drinks. Rum is the spirit of choice.
Seafood is on the menu at a lot of British Virgin Islands restaurants. In addition to a variety of fish, visitors can also try some of the local lobster, which is quite sweet. BVI seafood can be served any number of ways, and fresh fish is often boiled in a lime-flavored brew. Fish can also be used to flavor other dishes, such as callaloo. Many of the local restaurants start their guests off with callaloo, which is the most famous soup in the Virgin Islands. Though callaloo can be prepared any number of ways, it always revolves around a leafy vegetable that isn't much different than spinach. To flavor the soup, things like fresh fish, pig tail, onions, and a variety of spices are often used. Okra and salt beef are also common callaloo flavorings, and they are often featured on their own as well.
Okra, which is also popular in southern U.S. states like Louisiana and Alabama, is a sort of slimy, green vegetable that African slaves introduced to the Americas. More often than not, this mainstay BVI vegetable is fried and flavored with garlic, tomatoes, hot peppers, and bacon fat. Butter is sometimes used in place of bacon fat, and if you order accra, your okra will be mixed with black-eyed peas, salt, and pepper. If you want to get even more adventurous when it comes to okra, you can also try fungi. Fungi is essentially a cornmeal dumpling, and often times, okra and other ingredients are added to the mix. Okra is not used when making sweet fungi, however. This dessert version features raisins, sugar, cinnamon, and milk.
Dining in the BVI can be quite the culinary experience, and visitors might order some roti or pate when hunger hits. These are two of the most popular dishes in the land, and they have made a comeback at many of the British Virgin Island restaurants. Roti is an East Indian inspired dish that consists of flat bread that is filled with meat and/or vegetables. As for pate, it is typically made with spiced meat, though spiced seafood and vegetables can also be used. After the meats, seafood, or vegetables are either baked or grilled, they are stuffed into a pita bread pocket. Pate can make for a good meal on the go, and it is usually very affordable. Another main dish that is cost effective is salt fish and rice. Onions, tomatoes, garlic, green peppers, and shortening are often used to flavor the salt fish. Rice is typically flavored with spices.
Rice is a staple in the British Virgin Islands, and many families eat it on a daily basis. One of the most popular rice dishes is peas and rice. This dish features pigeon peas that are mixed with rice and flavored with any number of things, including pumpkin slices on occasion. Other dishes that you might expect to see on the menu at the local British Virgin Island restaurants are herring gundy and conch creole. The former is a traditional favorite on the islands, and it features salt herring, potatoes, and onions. A salad essentially, herring gundy also often features diced beets, olives, peppers, carrots, and a mix of herbs. As for conch creole, it is a savory stew that revolves around salt pork. Garlic, onions, peppers, and spices are used to flavor conch creole. Both herring gundy and conch creole can hit the spot when you're hungry. After a full day of scuba diving, boating, or anything else for that matter, hunger is sure to hit. You can always pull up a chair at one of the beach restaurants in destinations such as White Bay and feast on some hearty fare when you need to recharge your batteries.
In addition to trying traditional dishes when dining in the BVI, visitors can also enjoy a range of other cuisines. Many of the luxury hotels and resorts in the islands feature excellent restaurants that specialize in Italian, French, or a variety of other cuisines. Some of the hotels offer large buffets on a daily basis, and these buffets offer a mix of cuisines. Meals are often included in hotel rates, especially at the resorts, and visitors can prepare their own dishes if they rent a room or vacation rental with a kitchen.
Whether you are dining in Tortola or are exploring the culinary scene on one of the other islands, there's bound to be something that tempts you. If you're in the mood for something quick before you head off to the beach to do some snorkeling, some johnnycakes might hit the spot. Found throughout the Caribbean, johnnycakes are essentially doughballs that are either baked or fried. They tend to accompany fish and meat dishes, though they can also be served on their own.
Image: British Virgin Islands Tourist Board