Regional Variations, Specialties, & Unique Dishes
Olla de San Anton: stew of lima beans, pig's ear,
bacon, and blood sausage
Olla Podrida: stew of lamb, pork, veal, chicken, and sausage
with vegetables and dried fruits
Oil Down: the national dish is breadfruit, coconut milk, dumplings,
and cod, pork, or another meat cooked with numerous spices
Dining rules in Grenada are relaxed, very relaxed so there's
little need to worry about making a wrong move. However, it is still nice to understand
how the local people dine and how to behave in a restaurant or the home of a local.
The first rule is that dining with friends or family is meant as a social occasion
so take your time and get to know your fellow diners; meals can take hours and you
should not make plans that force you to leave early.
Grenada is in the Caribbean and that means there is no hurry;
arriving a few minutes late is never an issue, but dressing too casually can be.
Try to dress in a relaxed, but slightly more formal manner than you otherwise would
in Grenada, although a tie or dress is a bit overboard on almost all occasions.
If eating in a local's home you will most likely be shown a seat, but don't
sit until invited to do so. Meals may begin with drinks or just the food and as
the guest you may be invited to take your food first. Try to eat in the continental
style (knife in the right hand, fork in the left) and keep your hands within sight
by resting your wrists on the edge of the table. Again, your host will likely not
be offended if you eat in the incorrect manner, but do your best to follow their
As you finish eating, place your fork and knife together on your plate to indicate
you have finished. If eating in a restaurant, call the server over by making eye
contact; don't wave or call his/her name. Most restaurants will include a service
charge of 10% in the bill; whether they do or don't, a tip of about 15% total
is appropriate for good service.
Celebrations & Events
Grenada has its share of holidays and nearly all of the
major holidays are tied to religion. The grandest of these holidays is Carnival,
which takes place in August. Like Carnival in other countries (which usually takes
place before Lent), this celebration is filled with music, dancing, and lots of
partying. Carnival food traditions are limited as everyone eats out, but no particular
foods are associated with the holiday. However, if you want to try the local alcoholic
beverages, there is no shortage during Carnival.
If you're more interested in eating and less interested in drinking, a better
time to visit is just after Easter during the St. Mark Festival, which takes place
in Victoria and is truly centered around the food. Only local foods are promoted
as the more local and distinct the more celebrated they are. The celebration is
also filled with drinking in the evenings, but again only local beers and rums are
If you want to skip the alcohol entirely the Festival de San Cecilio on
February 2 is consumed with food competitions with a hint of religion as it is the
celebration of the island's patron saint.
Another religious celebration is Fisherman's Birthday, which takes place in
June in honor of St. Peter & St. Paul. Not surprisingly this event centers around
the consumption of fish as the boats and nets are blessed to bring in a large catch.
Grenada offers the visitor all the world's most commonly
consumed beverages including coffee, soft drinks, and milk, but they are better
known for their juices, teas, and some local drinks. Tea is often served with cocoa
beans and milk, making it an odd mix between English-styled tea and hot chocolate.
For the true cultural experience though, go with mauby, which is made from
the bark of a local tree, then sweetened and strained.
Rum is popular in Grenada, which is not a surprise given
its location in the Caribbean. Rum is usually mixed with juices and other beverages
with "rum punch" being one of the more popular mixes. Beers are also common
and the local beer, "Carib" is among the more popular local brews. Wines
and other alcoholic beverages are available although rarely locally produced and
not too popular.
The tap water is generally safe to drink in Grenada, however
confirm this with your hotel or guesthouse, particularly during hurricane season
or after a heavy rain as the water can be contaminated. If you do drink the water,
many people may have trouble adjusting to the local tap water, as it will most certainly
be different from what your system is used to if you are not from the region.