A Legendary Journey: 7 Dishes to Try

Bahamas: Start with an island dessert. Guava Duff is a steamed cake stuffed with guava and served with a warm custard sauce. Try it at Seafood Haven. Arawak Cay, Nassau; 242-322-5344

Jamaica: Get the best jerk at Scotchie's in Coral Gardens between the Montego Bay airport and the Holiday Inn. Order by the pound, and use caution with the eponymous Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce. 876-953-3340

Dominican Republic: Get sancocho, an everything stew chock-full of root vegetables, pork, beef, chicken and spices at the festive El Conuco. Casimiro de Moya No. 152, Gazcue, Santo Domingo; www.elconuco.com.do

Puerto Rico: Pasteles are tamales made with plantain dough and filled with spiced meat. They are a must-try, along with other traditional dishes at Ajili Mójili, a favorite with San Juan locals. 1052 Avenue Ashford, Condado Lagoon Hotel, Condado; www.hdmdesigns.com/ajili

Guadeloupe: In the "crab capital of the Caribbean," diners must have crabes de terre in fragranced coconut sauce. Best bet is the Iguane Café. Route de la Pointe des Châteaux, Saint-François; 011-590-590-886-137

Barbados: Sweet, succulent and crispy cou cou and flying fish is the national dish. Eat it at any of the many rum shops (bars) around the island or at the Friday and Saturday night fish fries in Oistins, a fishing village on the island's south coast. www.barbados.org

Trinidad & Tobago: Roti, fluffy griddle bread filled with curried goat, chicken, beef, shrimp, duck or vegetables, is the dish to have at Shiann's. 13 Cipriani Boulevard, Port-of-Spain; 868-625-1735