80° 82°
Favoris 0

Culinary specialties, surprising the taste buds

The truly cosmopolitan island of St. Martin has adopted, and sometimes adapted, the cuisines of many nations. The chefs of gourmet restaurants enrich local traditions with their culinary expertise. Blending the various cultures that have influenced St. Martin over the centuries, the island’s specialty is French cuisine with a West Indian twist. Just like St. Martin itself, this mixture will delight your tastebuds and send your other senses reeling too. You’ll love the subtle blend of flavors and pleasant spices: annatto, chayotes, fish, lobster, shellfish, and more.

The flavorful cuisine of St. Martin has an originality all its own. Based on local produce, it reflects the island’s sunny climate, cheerful people, and musical traditions. Here, meals are often cooked outside on huge barbecues. You’ll have no trouble finding all the basic ingredients for this sun-soaked cuisine at Marigot Market.

Ocean 82

Grand Case, the Food Capital of St. Martin

The seafront at Grand Case, in the northwest of the island, is the undisputed haunt of St. Martin’s top chefs. The main street is lined with restaurants that will satisfy your every whim and preference, from traditional French cuisine to Italian, Creole, and Caribbean specialties. Here you’ll find a whole joyful melting pot of succulent cuisine! 

Anyone who’s eager to find out more about Caribbean culture will love the grilled lobster or stuffed crab served at the lolos along Grand Case beach. These typical outdoor restaurants set up right by the sea really do give you a taste of local living on St. Martin.

Specialties of St. Martin

Visitors should not miss the chance to try locals’ favorite dishes, which include oxtail stew, Johnny Cakes (tasty little fried rolls), Jacks (fried fish), beef or fish patties, and the island’s great traditional dish, crab and rice. Your tastebuds will be in heaven; it is a culinary experience you simply must discover! You’ll find these specialties on the menus of the island’s many restaurants. Be curious!

Crab and rice

When it comes to seafood, red snapper is an excellent fish (as fine as red mullet) that can be cooked in stock, in a blaff (marinated in lime then lightly poached in stock), or simply grilled. Dolphinfish, tuna, and marlin are also available, usually grilled or smoked. Lambi (a huge conch snail) is served in a delicious stew. Accras (vegetable or codfish & herb fritters) and delicately spiced stuffed crab are also among the island’s top dishes. There’s no shortage of culinary specialties on St. Martin!

Crabe farci
Journey cakes


The gastronomy of St. Martin is based on about a dozen basic ingredients that feature in most recipes. To be sure you have everything you need for a traditional dish, make sure your cupboard contains limes, chives, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, thyme, and spices (chili, allspice, nutmeg, curry, and pepper). Don’t forget to also keep a stock of white rum, as well as rice.

To sample the specialties of St. Martin, we recommend you go to one of the island’s traditional restaurants. You’ll find St. Martin’s best restaurants in Grand Case, in the lolos and on the main street of this old fishing village. Top chefs compete between innovation and tradition here. There are other great places to eat in Marigot, Orient Bay, Pinel Island, Colombier, and Paradise Peak.

Guavaberry rum

Recettes traditionnelles

You just have to try this alcoholic fruit cocktail with a Caribbean flavor. Versions of the recipe are as numerous as the beaches of St. Martin.

Easy recipe

What are the ingredients?

For 4 people, you will need:

  • 150 ml white rum or aged rum,
  • 300 ml orange juice, 300 ml pineapple juice,
  • 300 ml guava juice, cane syrup
  • (optional), a dash of Angostura bitters (mixture of herbs and spices), and nutmeg for a spicier flavor.

How do you make it?

Add the ingredients in the above order, mix well, and transfer the mixture to a large glass bottle.

Close the bottle tightly to retain all the flavor. Chill for several hours before serving. Shake the bottle one last time (upside down) before pouring the punch into glasses.

Always serve cold. Please drink responsibly!

History of Guavaberry Rum

Guavaberries are red berries that grow in the Caribbean. They are also the basic ingredient of a popular liqueur produced on St. Martin. Other names for the guavaberry are mirto or murta in Puerto Rico, guaveberry on St. Martin, guayabillo in Guatemala, and coco-carette, merisier-cerise (wild cherry), and bois de basse batard on the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

On St. Martin, the traditional guavaberry liqueur has been made for centuries from rum aged in oak barrels, cane sugar, and wild guavaberries from the hills at the center of the island. This liqueur is traditionally enjoyed at Christmas, and every St. Martin family observes the tradition of putting a bottle on the table for the end-of-year celebrations.

Easy recipe

What are the ingredients for a good guavaberry rum?

This mixture is prepared in large quantities because the people of St. Martin like to store a few bottles to drink throughout the year. The fruit season is a fleeting one and the berries should be used as soon as they ripen.

For 1 gallon of guavaberry rum you will need:

  • 75 lbs guavaberries
  • 1 gallon white rum
  • 3¼ cups sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 vanilla pods

How do you make it?

Rinse the guavaberries in a colander with cold water, then split them open and remove the seeds. Let them steep in the rum for about two weeks.
After the maceration period, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, then boil for 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the vanilla pods (previously split in half).
Leave the vanilla to infuse as the mixture cools.
When it is completely cold it will take on a syrupy texture.
Pour the syrup into the jar containing the rum and guavaberries.
Shake well to obtain an even mixture.
For the best possible guavaberry rum, we recommend you let it steep for several weeks before consuming.
Please drink responsibly!

Pork ribs are an institution on St. Martin! They’re the star ingredient at every barbecue and pleasant dinners with friends. All the lolos (local restaurants) on the island serve ribs. Every restaurant has its own recipe and they’re all just as delicious.

Easy recipe

What are the ingredients for St. Martin-style pork ribs?

For 4 people you will need:

  • 2 lbs pork ribs, chopped into pieces
  • 1 onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 lime
  • and barbecue sauce

How do you make St. Martin-style pork ribs?

First, you must prepare a marinade with a good amount of barbecue sauce, the lime’s juice, the finely chopped onion and the six crushed cloves of garlic. Stir vigorously.
Then add the meat to the marinade, ensuring it is well covered.
Marinate for at least two hours.
To cook, place the pieces of meat on the barbecue.
Be careful not to burn the ribs and remember to turn them to make sure they are evenly cooked.
Serve with plain or Creole rice.

Accras can be served as a starter or as a complete meal. Serve them with a green salad.

Easy recipe

What are the ingredients for codfish accras?

For about 6 people (12 fritters), you will need:

  • 5 lb salted cod
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick of celery
  • ½ green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed thyme
  • 4 drops tabasco
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 beaten egg yolks
  • ½ cup milk
  • butter and corn oil for frying

How do you make codfish accras?<

To remove the salt from the cod, soak the fish in cold water for twelve hours. Then drain.
Boil it for five minutes. Drain the fish again. Remove the bones and shred the fish.
In a thick-bottomed frying pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat and brown the onion, celery, and green pepper until soft. Use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables from the pan and put to one side.
Pour the fat out of the frying pan.
In a mixing bowl, carefully mix the cooked vegetables with the chopped tomato, thyme, tabasco, pepper, and shredded fish.
Sift the flour and baking powder into another bowl. Then add the egg yolks and milk.
Whisk until you obtain a smooth batter. Next, add the vegetables and codfish to the batter. Mix together.
In a thick-bottomed frying pan, heat the corn oil to 355°F.
Use two tablespoons to shape the mixture into croquettes.
Plunge into the hot oil and repeat with the rest of the mixture. Fry for approximately 6 minutes, turning them as they brown.
Remove the croquettes with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel.
Serve hot.

Fish stock is a key dish in the Caribbean. This recipe for fish in sauce is usually served with white rice.

Easy recipe

What are the ingredients for fish stock?

It couldn’t be easier to make this excellent recipe.
For three people you will need:

  • 1 lb red or white fish
  • 3 limes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 scallions (or chives)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • thyme, chili pepper and salt

How do you make fish stock?

Cut the cleaned/gutted fish into pieces.
Soak for an hour in a marinade made with the lime juice, chili, garlic, and salt.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the five chopped scallion stalks and the deseeded tomatoes.
Add the marinated fish pieces to the mixture. Brown the fish on both sides. Cover with a little water, then add the thyme and the piece of chili pepper. Cover and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes.
At the end of the cooking time, add two crushed garlic cloves with lime juice.
Serve with white rice.

Shredded cod is a typical dish of the French West Indies. It is generally served on a bed of lettuce leaves or mixed with the flesh of a very ripe avocado crushed into a puree with a little cassava flour.

Easy recipe

What are the ingredients for shredded codfish?

For 2 people you will need:

  • 7 oz salted cod with the salt removed
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • chili pepper
  • oil and vinegar

How do you make shredded cod?

Remove the salt from the cod beforehand by soaking it overnight in a bowl of cold water.
Then fry the cod in hot oil.
The fish should be cooked through and golden brown. Remove the bones if necessary and shred the fish with your hands. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, finely chop the onion, garlic, and chili pepper. Mix into the cod.
Sprinkle with a little oil and vinegar before serving.

This classic dish of crab and rice is a firm favorite among the locals, who eat it mainly during the holy weekend of Easter, when families get together on the beach for the day or even to camp overnight.

Easy recipe

What are the ingredients for crab and rice?

For 6 people you will need:

  • 2 salted pig tails
  • 7 oz smoked slab bacon
  • 6 crabs, 1 1⁄2 cups rice
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon annatto oil (optional)
  • a few cloves
  • 3 tomatoes
  • chili pepper, parsley, thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion
  • 5 scallions (or a bunch of chives)

How to make crab and rice

Cut the bacon into large cubes and cook until they turn white.
Chop and cook the pig tails.
Clean the crabs thoroughly and sear them in the boiling oil. Brown them well.
Place the crabs in a preheated cooking pot, along with the pig tails and smoked bacon. Cook until all ingredients are well browned.
Add the onions, scallions, garlic, chili peppers, chopped parsley, thyme, and cloves. Cook until browned.
Then add the crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Wash the rice and stir it in.
Add the fat from the crab shells if you cleaned them yourself. Crab fat gives the dish extra flavor and a creamier texture.
If you have any, mix in a little annatto oil. Add water.
Cook uncovered on medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes.

These small, chunky patties are filled with meat and spices. They can also be made with shrimp or fish. They are great with cocktails, as pre-dinner nibbles, or as a side dish. Prepare a lot of these delicious snacks, because they tend to disappear quickly. Beef patties can be baked or fried, and served hot or cold.

Easy recipe

What are the ingredients for beef patties?

To make the filling for about 18 meat patties, you’ll need:

  • 1 lb ground beef,
  • 2 medium-sized onions, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 chopped red chili
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Then, to make the pastry, you’ll need:

  • 1 egg
  • 14 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 5 or 6 tablespoons ice-cold water

Finally, 1 egg yolk to brush on the pastry.

How do you make beef patties?

To prepare the meat filling, mix all the filling ingredients together, except the eggs, in a thick-bottomed saucepan.
Cook on medium heat until the meat is browned (5 to 7 minutes). Remove from the heat. Pour the fat out of the saucepan into a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
Beat the two eggs and add them to the mixture. Stir in thoroughly.
Next, to prepare the pastry, gently beat the egg.
Mix the vegetable oil, salt, and beaten egg in a mixing bowl.
Add the flour, a little at a time. Add the water and the remaining flour to completely absorb the water.
Knead the pastry well. With a floured rolling pin, roll the pastry out into a thin sheet, then cut into 3 inch circles.
Place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of each pastry circle. Fold the pastry over on itself. Firmly press the edges to seal.
Dampen the edges and brush with the egg yolk.
Prick the patties with a fork and deep-fry in hot oil at 375°F until golden brown.
Then, place them on a greased baking sheet and bake in the oven, preheated to 390°F, until golden brown on both sides.
Baking time is about twenty minutes.

Sources: Ma Chance’s French Caribbean Creole Cooking
Jeanne Louise Duzant Chance G. P. Putman’s Sons Publishers

This well-loved dish is a West Indian and Caribbean classic. Lambi, or conch snail, is the star mollusk of the West Indies. It is used in stews and black pudding. It has tender white flesh and a thick, spiral-shaped shell that is a delicate pearly pink. It can only be harvested by free-divers because it lives at depths of five to fifty meters, in the sea grass and sand of the sea bed. It also likes and feeds on the coral reefs and seaweed. Conch stew, a very typical dish, is considered a delicacy. It just takes a little time and patience to prepare.

Easy recipe

What are the ingredients for conch stew?

For 4 people you will need:

  • 2 lbs lambis
  • 4 scallions
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lemon
  • parsley, thyme, chili pepper, pepper
  • oil

How do you make lambi stew?

First, prepare the lambis: split them in half, remove the flesh, rub carefully with lemon water, then beat them to make them tender.
Cut the lambis into pieces, heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the lambis. Add the crushed tomatoes, chopped onion and scallions, garlic, thyme and parsley. Add the pepper and chili pepper.
Mix well, cover with water and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
Just before serving, add the lemon juice and adjust the seasoning.
Serve this stew with white rice and raw vegetables.

Easy recipe

What are the ingredients for mutton soup?

For 8 people you will need:

  • 2 lbs lamb or mutton, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 25 oz vermicelli broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery with leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 25 oz pumpkin, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ red pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2.5 liters cold water
  • 1 teaspoon crushed thyme
  • 1 pinch white pepper, 1 pinch salt, 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

How do you make mutton soup?

In a thick-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and butter on low heat.
Sauté the onions, celery, garlic, carrots, pumpkin, red pepper, potatoes, and lamb/mutton for 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the water, thyme, white pepper, salt, bay leaf, and tomato paste.
Cover and simmer for 2 hours, skimming the surface from time to time.
Stir in the vermicelli and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, until the vermicelli are cooked.
Finally, adjust the seasoning.

Sources: Ma Chance’s French Caribbean Creole Cooking
Jeanne Louise Duzant Chance G. P. Putman’s Sons Publisher.

What was once a corn pancake invented by the Indigenous peoples has evolved into a bread roll made with wheat flour. Known as Johnny cake or journey cake, this specialty of St. Martin enhances any hot dish. It can be eaten hot or cold.

The slow-release carbohydrate content of this tasty, golden bread makes it a great source of energy.

Easy recipe

What are the ingredients for journey cakes?

To make a dozen bread rolls, you will need the following:

  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • A pinch of salt and some water to moisten the dough

How do you make journey cakes?

To start, you need to sift the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together and then mix the melted butter in.
Mix it all in by hand and add some water to achieve the right consistency of the dough. It needs to be neither too sticky, nor too dry.
Then, shape the dough into a ball to be able to roll it out and then form a dozen smaller balls. Then flatten them slightly, like small loaves of bread.
Finally, fry them on both sides, in a big frying pan with some oil. Soak up the oil using paper towels.
All that’s left to do is taste this traditional recipe from St. Martin!

Easy recip

What are the ingredients for sweet-potato cake?

For 12 people you will need:

  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar
  • 2 oz pumpkin, peeled, seeded and coarsely grated
  • 8 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 beaten egg yolks
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 7 oz grapes, 2 tablespoons rum or brandy
  • 4 egg whites

How do you make sweet-potato cake?

Preheat the oven to 355°F. Place all the ingredients except the egg whites in a bowl and mix well.
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then add to the mixture.
Bake in a greased oven dish for approximately 1 hour.
The cake can be served hot or cold, topped with whipped cream or ice cream.

Sources: sweet-potato cake recipe – Ma Chance’s French Caribbean Creole Cooking
Jeanne Louise Duzant Chance G. P. Putman’s Sons Publishers