How hot is Caribbean Food?

Caribbean cuisine is hot, hot, hot — not only in spice but also in appeal. It’s a fusion of flavours and cultures, reflecting the diverse heritage of the islands. At its core, Caribbean food is a celebration of bold spices, succulent meats, and an abundance of fresh produce.

Jerk chicken is a well-known Caribbean dish that exemplifies the marriage of heat and flavour. The chicken is marinated in a blend of herbs and spices, then slow-cooked until tender and juicy. The result is a dish that packs a punch with every bite, yet still manages to tantalize the taste buds with its rich, smoky flavour.

This island cuisine is also about the heartiness of its dishes. Caribbean food is known for its generous portions and rich flavours, from fall-apart tender oxtail stew to savory curried goat. These dishes are often cooked low and slow, allowing the flavours to meld together and the meats to become melt-in-your-mouth tender. It’s the epitome of comfort food. 

And let’s not forget the bread. In the Caribbean, bread is more than just a side dish. Whether it’s johnnycakes, hardo bread, or roti, this staple is as diverse as the islands. Each bread brings a unique texture and taste to the table, perfectly complementing the dish it accompanies.

Kori’s Roti has become a go-to spot in Oakville for Trini food. Owners Chris and Leilani say, “Caribbean food is about finding the perfect balance between heat, spice, and flavour. Every ingredient has its place, and when you get it just right, it’s everything. Quality and authentic ingredients are key. We source locally whenever possible and import directly from Trinidad to make sure we are bringing you the best ingredients.” (Is it just me, or is your mouth watering too? I’ll be taking an early lunch today…)

At Kori’s they also caution, “Our pepper scale ranges from mild to suicide (think red face, steam coming from your ears). So unless you’re used to it, you’re going to want to start slow.”

When you sit down to a meal of Caribbean food, you’re not just eating; you’re experiencing a piece of the chef’s culture. At Burlington’s JustJerk, their mission is to prepare authentic Jamaican food with all the rich spices the chefs grew up with on the island. For the owners, Caribbean food is about tradition and family. It’s about passing down recipes from generation to generation and keeping their culinary heritage alive. 

I fell in love with Caribbean food when I visited my brother who was working in Jamaica. He was immersed in the community and, therefore, the perfect culinary guide. Ackee and saltfish, Johnny cakes and Jerk Chicken became fast favourites that I was delighted to learn I could find at home.

Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or a curious newcomer, exploring the world of Caribbean cuisine is an adventure for the senses. So why not spice up your next meal with a taste of the Caribbean? Your taste buds will thank you. 

FOR A TASTE OF THE ISLANDS VISIT:

Kori’s Roti Shop 
1026 Speers Road, Oakville
korisroti.ca

Irie Cuisine 
121 North Service Road East, Oakville  
iriecuisine.ca

Sunrise Caribbean Restaurant
3513 Wyecroft Road., Oakville

Ranee’s Roti
579 Kerr Street, Oakville

JusJerk Caribbean Restaurant
3300 Fairview Street., Burlington
jusjerk.ca

D Hot Shoppe 
4155 Fairview Street, Burlington 
dhotshoppe.com

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