Dominican cooking starts with the advantage of great natural ingredients; a tropical climate and rich volcanic soil enable just about anything (and everything) to grow here. And chefs and restaurateurs certainly make use of that abundance. Case in point: Leonard “Steve” Lewis. For his two restaurants in the capital Roseau’s French Quarter—the Great Old House and Old Stone Bar and Grill—Lewis sources locally caught fish along with island herbs and spices that make it into his crab cakes, smoked jerk pork, and fresh juices.
A mash-up of Creole, Caribbean, and European influences, Dominican cuisine tends to be light and bright with an optional dose of heat; a popular preparation for seafood is a curry sauce with Scotch bonnet peppers, which can be off-the-charts hot. Dominica’s cuisine also tends to be colorful and veggie-forward. Callaloo, the country’s national dish, is a vibrant green soup that gets its color from hearty dasheen leaves from the taro plant. They’re blended with herbs and coconut milk and served with assorted “provisions,” the Dominican catchall phrase for root vegetables like yucca, taro, and sweet potatoes. (continue reading)