In order to make the very best of a vacation, you have to do a little research. You research to find the prettiest beaches, the best hotels, and even the best things to do. Of course, some research is more fun than others. Namely, researching the food of an area! The fun and yummy cuisine in St. Thomas makes that research a little less grueling. We’ve compiled this list of our very favorite foods and drinks of St. Thomas and the best restaurants to find them to make that search a little smoother. Keep reading to make your next vacation to St. Thomas as delicious as possible!
This classic side dish (pronounced fun-jee) is actually completely unrelated to mushrooms. Made with salted cornmeal, water, and okra, this is one of the most common side dishes you can find in St. Thomas. It’s similar to polenta, but a bit more tropical and with a much more fun name!
Best place to try it: Cuzzins. If you’re going to have something as typical as fungi then you have to try it in one of St. Thomas’ most authentic and historic restaurants. Learn about the histories of Cuzzins and fungi on our Flavors of St. Thomas food tour!
Fungi (center) with coleslaw and chicken in BBQ sauce
In the Caribbean, Johnny Cake is as common as french fries are in the United States. Slightly sweet and deliciously fried, you only need three words to describe these well-loved cakes: Simple, classic, and yummy. Enjoy them on their own as a snack or pair them with your meal.
Best place to try it: Island Flavor. This restaurant certainly earns their name with their perfectly baked Johnny cakes.
Besides being really fun to say, kallaloo (or callaloo) is a soup made from leafy greens, and okra, meats, or fish (or a combination of those things!) This hearty stew is versatile and packs a lot of flavor. If you’re a fan of gumbo, then this dish is for you.
Best place to try it: T-Restaurant and Chicken Fry. You truly cannot find a better callaloo on the island.
Move over empanadas – pate is king in St. Thomas. Pates are chicken, meat, fish, or spiced vegetables that have been stuffed into a pastry dough and then deep fried. Pate is a local favorite because of how easy they are to make and eat.
Best place to try it: Bumpas. You can find pate just about anywhere, but to have the best experience you have to try it at Bumpas, all while taking in the beautiful view from their terrace. Bonus – Bumpas is also a stop on our food tour of St. Thomas!
If you can’t get enough of pate then meet its cousin, roti. Thanks to its Indian background, roti is a bit spicier and lighter than pate. Roti is the perfect embodiment of West Caribbean cuisine and is sure to please your tastebuds.
Best place to try it: Ideal Restaurant. This place serves one thing and one thing only: roti. Honestly, we would be doing you a disservice if we didn’t recommend this restaurant.
Remember when you were a kid and you used to put a conch shell up to your ear so that you could hear the ocean? Well, now you can taste the ocean with this delicious dish! Conch is prepared in many different ways on the island, including fritters, chowders, and in different sauces. This is definitely for seafood lovers, as it has a fishy taste to it.
Best place to try it: Jen’s Cafe. Jen’s Cafe and Deli is famous on the island for having some of the best conch fritters on the island! If fried food isn’t your thing, you can also try it with a yummy butter garlic sauce. Jen’s Cafe is also another restaurant you’ll find on our St. Thomas food tour.
Yes, you read that right. Bullfoot soup is a favorite comfort food among locals made from – you guessed it – a bull’s feet, stock, and veggies. Don’t let the name throw you off, this is basically the yummy Caribbean equivalent to chicken noodle soup.
Best place to try it: Gladys’ Cafe is also a great place to try this delicacy!
Sweet and full of coconut, dumb bread can be enjoyed as a snack or dessert. Dumb bread may be simple to make (that’s actually how it got its name!) but it’s a smart idea to try some while you’re on the island.
Best place to try it: Cup-N-Kettle Tea House. Enjoy a nice sip of tea while you snack on their dumb bread (called coconut scone on the menu.) Be sure to get there early, since this pastry often sells out!
There is nothing quite as classic in the Virgin Islands than a Painkiller cocktail. Made with rum, pineapple juice, coconut, and orange juice, a painkiller is as refreshing as it gets.
Best place to try it: Flavors of St. Thomas Food and Culture Tour. On our food tour, you don’t just get to taste this island staple, but you actually get to make it yourself at Side Street Cafe. You even get to take the recipe home with you!
Although this drink is often attributed to Pensacola, Florida, its roots can be traced back to St. Thomas in the mid-1970s. This drink is often described as a milkshake with alcohol or a chocolate version of a piña colada. Whatever you call it, sipping on this cocktail is a nod to the history of St. Thomas cuisine.
Best place to try it: Paradise Point. Combine outstanding views with a classic drink, and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect vacation. With over 1 million bushwhackers served at Paradise Point, it’s safe to say you’re in good hands.
Bushwacker (left) and Piña Colada (right) at Paradise Point
We’ve armed you with plenty of information to have the most delicious vacation ever, but if you want the deliciousness with less research and more fun than join us on our St. Thomas Food and Culture Tour! You get to try many of these items above, plus some other goodies – with no wait at any of the restaurants and 2 rum cocktails! Find out more information here.