Grand Cayman is located just below Cuba in the Caribbean Sea with a population descended from the first British, Irish, Scottish and African settlers. You’ll find an interesting culinary mix with added influences from Cuba, Trinidad and Jamaica. The local fruits and vegetables are used in curries, stews, fritters, ceviche and braises.

Here is a list of the produce / vegetables that chefs recommend trying and their picks for restaurants to discover them.

Breadfruit (Photo Credit: notsogoodphotography / flickr) | Curried Goat, Beef Stew, Breadfruit and Pumpkin at Vivine’s Kitchen (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.)

Breadfruit (Photo Credit: notsogoodphotography / flickr) | Curried Goat, Beef Stew, Breadfruit and Pumpkin at Vivine’s Kitchen (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.)

Breadfruit

WHAT IS IT?

Breadfruit is a workhorse in the Caribbean. The consistency is a like an uncooked potato so chefs use it to make everything from chips to lasagna.

“This is a standard on the island. It is very versatile, can be fried, steamed, roasted, or pureed. My favorite is roasted and served with a salad, some local greens (mustards, kale, leaf lettuces, arugula, mizuna) and the Cayman tomato, which are some of the best I've ever had.”
- Chef Joe Mizzoni of The Brasserie

“We use to make gratins, or fry to make crispy chips to go with ceviche and tartars.”
- Chef Dean Max of The Brasserie

WHERE CHEFS GO TO EAT IT

GRAPE TREE CAFE
Bodden Town Road, Bodden Town, Grand Cayman

HERITAGE KITCHEN
Boggy Sand Road, West Bay, Grand Cayman

VIVINE'S KITCHEN
524 Austin Conolly Drive, Gun Bay, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.947.7435


Ackee at the Market at the Grounds (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.) | Codfish and Ackee at Over The Edge (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.)

Ackee at the Market at the Grounds (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.) | Codfish and Ackee at Over The Edge (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.)

Ackee

WHAT IS IT?

It is originally native to West Africa and was brought to the Caribbean in 1778. It looks like a bean, but when cooked it becomes more like a scrambled egg. You’ll see it on many menus served with saltfish cod, which is a traditional Jamaican dish.

"It's a local fruit and can be poisonous to eat until it blooms and opens up on the tree. Inside you will find this yellow fleshed fruit that is cooked ever so gently. It has a neutral flavor with a bit of nuttiness to it. My favorite dish I have made with this was with potato gnocchi, fava bean, crispy garlic seasoning and pepper butter sauce. It was simple and the textures were smooth and creamy. I really enjoyed it.”
- Chef Joe Mizzoni formerly of The Brasserie

WHERE CHEFS GO TO EAT IT

If you stop by the farmers market at The Grounds on Saturday mornings, you’ll find a stand selling codfish and ackee for breakfast. You can also find it served at Over The Edge with fresh Caymanian fried bread.

THE BRASSERIE
Elgin Avenue, George Town, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.945.1815 | brasseriecayman.com

OVER THE EDGE
312 N Side Road, Old Man Bay, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.947.9568 | www.over-theedge.com

MARKET AT THE GROUNDS (Saturdays)
Lottery Road, Savannah, Grand Cayman


Cassava Root (Photo Credit: David Monniaux) | Cassava Cake at Vivine’s Kitchen (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.)

Cassava Root (Photo Credit: David Monniaux) | Cassava Cake at Vivine’s Kitchen (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.)

Cassava

WHAT IS IT?

You’ll see cassava used to make crispy savory chips and sweet pastries like pies and cakes. Cassava cake is sweet, sticky, and heavy -- just what you need after a rib sticking plate of oxtail stew with rice and beans.

“It's is a root which grows like potatoes. It is high in starch and is typically served fried or steamed. We use them as chips, fries and tots -- mostly crispy applications. The chips are great with roasted garlic or a style of chimmichurri (herbs and oil, peppers).”
- Chef Joe Mizzoni formerly of The Brasserie

WHERE CHEFS GO TO EAT IT

Restaurants like The Brasserie, Morgan’s Harbour, and Calypso Grill serve crispy cassava chips with conch ceviche and tartare. Get cassava cake for dessert at  Heritage Kitchen and Vivine’s Kitchen. Go early to the  farmers market at The Grounds on Saturday mornings to buy homemade cassava pie sold by the slice.

HERITAGE KITCHEN
Boggy Sand Road, West Bay, Grand Cayman

VIVINE'S KITCHEN
524 Austin Conolly Drive, Gun Bay, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.947.7435

MARKET AT THE GROUNDS (Saturdays)
Lottery Road, Savannah, Grand Cayman


Winged Beans (Photo Credit: STRONGlk7 / Wikimedia Commons) | Chef Rick Bayless Prepping Dinner at Ortanique for the Cayman Cookout Photo Credit: Rick Bayless [Instagram]

Winged Beans (Photo Credit: STRONGlk7 / Wikimedia Commons) | Chef Rick Bayless Prepping Dinner at Ortanique for the Cayman Cookout Photo Credit: Rick Bayless [Instagram]

Winged Beans

WHAT ARE THEY?

“Wing Beans, Lotos tetragonolobus, are also known as Goa Beans, Asparagus Peas and Four Angled Beans. They are a short lived perennial in Cayman offering 2 harvest seasons. Although they grow vigorously year around they do not bloom from May through September. Referred to as a ‘bean’ they are actually a pea and like snow peas the whole pod can be eaten raw or cooked when young. They have a short shelf because of their delicate ‘wings’ that bruise easily upon handling or high winds and should be consumed same or next day after harvesting.”
- Local Grower Patrick Panton

EATING THEM

“Wing beans can be eaten raw, thinly sliced to top a salad or cut into larger bite size pieces and added close to serving to finish a stir fry, sauté or soup. They offer a mild bean flavor and are rich in protein, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, Magnesium, Manganese, Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc and Fiber. I believe this qualifies the wing bean as a ‘Super Food’ and they're darn fun to look at.”
- Local Grower Patrick Panton

“They look like they come from outer space. They are square and hallow in the middle and have all these feathery protrusions on the outside. If you slice them across they look like little stars, almost the same as cutting a starfruit.”
- Chef Rick Bayless

WHERE CHEFS BUY & EAT THEM

Farmer Patrick Panton is one of the more popular vendors with chefs at both the Camana Bay farmers market and the Market at the Grounds. You’ll also find winged beans on the menu at Ortanique and Michael’s Genuine in Camana Bay.

“My favorite wing bean dish was prepared by chef Thomas Tennant of Michael’s Genuine a few seasons ago. He served four tastes, one of which was a bean salad using our Asian long bean and wing beans blanched. The fresh flavors of the produce and wonderful seasons has been very memorable.”
- Local Grower Patrick Panton

ORTANIQUE
47 Forum Lane, Camana Bay, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.640.7710 (book a table) | ortaniquerestaurants.com/cayman

MICHAEL'S GENUINE FOOD & DRINK
47 Forum Lane, Camana Bay, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.640.6433 (book a table) | michaelsgenuine.com/grand-cayman


Scotch Bonnet Peppers at the Camana Bay Farmers Market (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.) | Steamed Fish with Peppers and Okra at Da Fish Shack (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.)

Scotch Bonnet Peppers at the Camana Bay Farmers Market (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.) | Steamed Fish with Peppers and Okra at Da Fish Shack (Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.)

Peppers

Seasoning Peppers

“Known as the heatless scotch bonnet. They are packed with flavor and are a staple on the island. They are very abundant and work with almost any dish prepared on the island. We cook with them as aromatics, using them in ceviches, crudos, aiolis. They have a very bright, fresh taste to them and the texture is great when used uncooked. There is no spice to them and a flavor that you will only find in this pepper in the islands. I've tried to grow them in the states, but it’s just not the same.”
- Chef Joe Mizzoni formerly of The Brasserie

Scotch Bonnet Peppers

“We use them for both heat and pepper flavor in all kinds of savory dishes.”
- Chef Dean Max of The Brasserie

Where Chefs Buy & Eat Them

You can find both seasoning peppers and scotch bonnet peppers at the farmers markets and in numerous dishes around the island. In her Pepper Patch Jelly, Carol Hay uses a combination of seasoning and scotch bonnet peppers grown in her garden. Buy her jelly at the Bay Market in Camana Bay.

Fish Tea

You can find fish tea (a traditional fish-based soup) at many restaurants on the island, but The Brasserie and Heritage Kitchen are worth trying for their elevated and the true local versions.

Escovitch & Steamed Fish

Ervin Horvath of Agave Grille loves the Jamaican food at Welly’s Cool Spot and brewer Garfield Griffiths recommends the steamed whole fish with vegetables and okra at Da Fish Shack. Chef Thomas Tennant enjoys the fresh fish at Calypso Grill, where you can find a tangy Wahoo Escovitch.

WELLY'S COOL SPOT
110 North Sound Road, George Town, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.949.2541

DA FISH SHACK
127 North Church Street, George Town, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.947.8136 | www.dafishshack.com

CALYPSO GRILL
#10 Morgan's Lane, West Bay, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.949.3948 | www.calypsogrillcayman.com

BAY MARKET
38 Market Street, Camana Bay, Grand Cayman
T: 1.345.815.1080 | www.camanabay.com/bay-market



Take Home a Taste of the Cayman Islands

TORTUGA RUM CAKE  (WEBSITE)

Though not artisanal and definitely ubiquitous, they make great gifts. You can find them in liquor stores, grocery stores and at the airport. They are moist and sweet. Follow the advice of chef José Andrés and dip ithe rum cake into a rum sour before eating. Chef Dean Max uses it to make a rum cake bread pudding.

A SMALL BACKYARD MARMALADES  (WEBSITE)

A variety of citrus marmalades (and fresh-baked bread) sold at the Camana Bay farmers market each Wednesday. The fruits for the marmalades are sourced from trees in the maker’s backyard (hence the name) or from her neighbors’ trees. She makes a Seville Orange Marmalade, a Wild Tangerine Marmalade, a Lime Marmalade, as well as a Pumpkin, Tomato and Pepper Chutney. The Seville Orange Marmalade is a strong marmalade with large chunks of peel and a rich, bright flavor.

CAYMAN SEA SALT & SEA SALT BBQ RUB  (WEBSITE)

Take home a taste of the pristine, clear sea waters to season your food. They let nature do all the work and are using recycled glass from sliding doors discarded after Hurricane Ivan. Their salt is used by chef Eric Ripert’s team at Blue at the Ritz-Carlton and at other restaurants on the island. They also make a Sea Salt BBQ Rub using a blend of sea salt, cane sugar, onion, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder, allspice and cumin. The result is a salty, sweet, smokey, hot rub that’s ideal on pork, chicken, roasted vegetables, and even popcorn.

CAYMAN GOURMET PEPPER JELLY  (WEBSITE)

This pepper jelly is truly artisanal. Carol Hay started making the pepper jelly as a hobby, using scotch bonnet peppers and seasoning peppers from her back yard. She adds freshly ground Jamaican pimento, nutmeg, cloves, garlic, onions, and other locally grown species of West Indian peppers and sweet peppers to round out the flavors.

CAYMAN SMOKE ISLAND FRUITWOOD BBQ CHIPS  (WEBSITE)

These BBQ chips are made by Elizabeth and Mark McCoy on Little Cayman and are created from local fruitwood. Elizabeth discovered the wood in the mid 80s when building their house on the north shore of Little Cayman. When they started winning amateur cooking competitions, they knew they were onto something. Bring some home and add some island fruit and smoke to you food.


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