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A taste of St. Lucia

- Elaine

Perhaps one of the best parts of being St. Lucian for twelve days was the food. I know it’s typically Hye Sung’s job to talk about food, but I was so inspired by the culture and cuisine of St. Lucia that I’ve taken it upon myself to bless you with descriptions of the incredible things we ate.

Star Fruit. By far my favorite fruit of all time, this wonderful fruit is also called “five-fingers,” and can be eaten with the skin on. It has a similar texture to that of the kiwi, but is firmer and tastes like citrusy sunshine.

Sugar Apple. I’ve never seen this before, and although it’s messy to eat it is definitely worth trying. It has a somewhat sloppy, gooey center, and it breaks apart in your hand as you eat it, so you are left with little outside pieces with chunks of stringy fruit and big seeds attached. I feel like this would be more of an acquired taste/ texture.

Guava.  When I came back to the U.S. I raved about guava for weeks, because it truly is wonderful. We picked these small green globes fresh off of the trees and ate the inside, which is a soft pink with annoying little seeds that you just swallow. Also, I bought this amazing guava jam from st. lucia that tastes exactly like the real thing.

 

Coconut. I’ve never had coconuts before, although they are much more common than some of these other fruits. These are great! The liquid inside is sour, tart and milky, and although slightly gross, it is definitely cool to drink it straight from the coconut after it has just been cut down.

Bananas. St. Lucia is covered in banana trees, as it is one of its main exports. These bananas are sweeter, straighter, and more banana-y than the kind we get here. Go figure.

Along the same line as bananas is St. Lucia’s national dish, Salty fish and green fig. It sounds gross, and kind of tastes gross, but is definitely worth trying. Apparently, the green, unripened form of a banana is called a green fig, and these are cut, boiled and eaten with a mixture of dried, salted fish and other spices. The dish itself is very spicy, very salty, and very… interesting.

Mango. I’ve never liked mangoes before I went to St. Lucia, and I’m a changed girl since. Mangoes are wonderfully flavorful, and are actually really great frozen. Cut some mango, put it on a skewer and freeze for a few hours and Presto-change-o! Mango Ice pops!

the real way to enjoy a mango

Sugar Cane. I don’t think this technically counts as a food, because you don’t really eat it, but this is great! Some of the participants went out and found sugar cane, brought it back and shared it with us. You have to take the cane, peel it, and if you’re truly “Lucian,” you chomp a chunk off of the end and chew it until the sweet, sugary juice is all swallowed and the stringy cane part is drying, then you spit it out andstart again. We actually enjoyed our sugarcane along the banks of a river that supplied power to a now-abandoned sugarmill, which made it much more exciting.

         they had to cut sticks of sugar cane for me to eat, because I couldn’t just bite it off the cane

 

the sugar mill

Cornados. Remember bugles? These “corn tornadoes” are just like bugles, but taste cornier and stranger, although they’re really not that bad when you’re hungry.

Fruta. Walking around and drinking out of juice boxes is more acceptable in St. Lucia than it is here (can you imagine seeing people with ssips in their hands all the time?) and these juices come in all kinds of wild flavors.

FISH. Anse-la Raye, the village we stayed in, is a classic fishing village and has these big festivals every Friday night, celebrated with music, drinking and tons of fried fish and seafood. I don’t particularly like seafood that much, but overall experience was lively and exciting.

There are, of course, many more things to come about St. Lucia, so stay tuned!

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