Best of the Caribbean: Perfect Food

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The flavors of the Caribbean are outstanding, whether you're looking for the iconic jerk chicken available roadside in Jamaica's Boston Bay or the fine cuisine at restaurants across the Caribbean. As part of the "Perfect Caribbean" guide that appears in the November 2009 issue of ISLANDS magazine, readers and editors point to these Caribbean flavors as their favorites. Click on one below to find out more.

Bahamas: Guava Duff Conch fritters, conch salad, conch chowder, conch this and conch that popped up often in readers' picks for favorite Caribbean food. What to order after your conch? "I had finished off my conch fritters and conch salad at the Big Ten restaurant in Nassau's Fish Fry village and I didn't see 'dessert' on the menu," says reader Jonathan Harris. "The owner goes in back and brings out a plastic-foam bowl covered in foil. Inside was guava duff, like a sweet dough mixed with guava. Great! A year later, at a fancy Bahamian restaurant, I asked if they served guava duff. The waitress smiled big: 'Baby, how ya know about guava duff?'"

St. Kitts: Fresh Lobster Of course, St. Kitts isn't the only place to enjoy fresh Caribbean lobster -- the food that, after conch, readers cited as loving most. Like the Caribbean itself, lobster is dressed up or stripped down. Have it grilled by a chef on private Royal Plantation Island in the Exumas or grilled near your picnic table at St. Kitts' Sprat Net, "an outdoor, informal place that serves the best lobster," says Cheryl Verde of Missouri. But it may be best enjoyed during a barbecue on the beach, as reader Janie James-High of Arizona recently enjoyed on a secluded cove in the Grenadines' Tobago Cays. "It's the fragrance and taste of the sea," she says. "As always, the Caribbean is a feast for all the senses, filling me up to only want it more."

St. Martin/Maarten: Gourmet Cuisine Flavors can explode in complexity in gourmet restaurants, like the ones on St. Martin/Maarten. There, a recipe can be as involved as searing foie gras, melting peanut butter and concocting a port-and-fig jelly and nestling it in a puff pastry, which is what chef Dino Jagtiani does for his popular "PB and J" appetizer at Temptation restaurant.

Turks and Caicos: Conch The only hard part to eating conch is when you see a live conch squirming & stretching like an alien snail at Da Conch Shack in the Turks and Caicos. If you picture those critters, you can't eat your fritters. And yet, somehow, we do.

More Favorite Foods Also on the must-taste list: curried goat on Bonaire, breadfruit pie on Grenada, the black pineapple on Antigua and, as reader Heather Alexander recommends, jerk chicken wings on Jamaica "that will light you up."

Contest: Win a Caribbean Trip! Don't see your favorite Caribbean spot listed here? Let us know what we missed -- and you could win a free resort stay. Enter our new "Caribbean Favorites" contest.