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Culinary Specialities of Saint Martin and Sint Maarten

1- The Johnny Cakes


The Johnny Cakes, are also called Journey Cakes by the Saint-Martinois. Legend has it that this dish, mainly served for breakfast, was prepared by women before their husbands woke up. The husband could enjoy it in the morning before going to work full of energy. Easy to prepare, these cakes are now a dish that can also be enjoyed during the day because they are easy to find in the Lolos of Grand Case or in the food trucks that park along with the Jean Louis Vanterpool stadium in Marigot.

Recipe: For a dozen Journey Cakes.

  1. Sift 300 g of flour with 2 teaspoons of yeast, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of sugar.

  2. Add 8 cl of water slowly without stopping mixing. As soon as the dough takes consistency, knead it well until it is no longer sticky and smooth.

  3. Then roll it in a little flour.

  4. Cut out 3 cm pieces, flatten them well before frying them in a frying pan or deep fryer.

  5. When they are golden brown on both sides, remove them and let them drain on absorbent paper.


2- Caramelized pork ribs

The pig ribs is an institutional dish in Saint-Martin, which everyone prepares for his or her special sauce. If the main ingredient remains the ribs, the recipes differ depending on who is behind the stove. The Lolos and food trucks of Sint Maarten, especially those along with the Jean Louis Vanterpool stadium in Marigot, frequently include ribs on their menus. But if you would like to try some well-cooked pork chops, visit the Dutch section in Sin-Maarten at "The Palms" restaurant, which offers its "Drunken Ribs". Drunken, because the ribs are carefully marinated for three days in a mixture of whiskey, herbs, and spices. They are then put in the oven for almost five hours before being served, topped with barbecue sauce. To describe them as pure delight is an understatement.


© Credit source : Canva

Recipe: for 4 people.

  1. Cut 1 kg of pork ribs into pieces.

  2. Marinate them in a mixture of lime juice and cider vinegar for 2 hours.

  3. Prepare a sauce based on BBQ sauce, a crushed onion, six chopped garlic cloves, and a squeezed lime.

  4. Pour it over the pieces of meat and sear them raw on the grill.

  5. Accompany your ribs with Creole rice. Enjoy!


3- Callaloo Soup

Another national dish of the island of Saint Martin: Callaloo's soup. Native to West Africa, Callaloo is accompanied by the sauce of each Caribbean country. The islanders like to eat it after a festive evening to detoxify their organism. This thick soup gets its name from its main ingredient, callaloo, which is a kind of spinach.

The recipe: for 4 people.

  1. Wash and coarsely chop 500 g of fresh spinach.

  2. Peel and finely chop 4 onions.

  3. Peel and crush 2 cloves of garlic.

  4. Finely chop a bunch of parsley. Thinly remove 2 branches of thyme.

  5. Stalk and cut a dozen okra into slices.

  6. Fry the garlic, onion, and thyme for 5 minutes in a casserole dish with a tablespoon of oil.

  7. Then add the spinach, okra, and parsley. A pinch of pepper, 2 cloves, and a chili pepper should complete the whole.

  8. After 5 minutes, add ½ liter of boiling water, mix and cook 20 minutes over low heat.

  9. When the vegetables are cooked, crush them with a grinder, taking care to remove the chili pepper.

  10. A dash of lime completes the preparation, always full of flavor. Bon appétit!


4- The Guavaberry

Guavaberry is a traditional liqueur of the island. It is customary for every house on Saint Martin to have a bottle of Guavaberry in a prominent place. This is to perpetuate the tradition of this drink consumed during the Christmas holidays. Of course, you can find it in all the supermarkets and liquor stores on the island, and an official shop located in Front Street in Philipsburg, allows you to discover this nectar. Small, typical restaurants in St. Martin are often able to include Guavaberry on their menus.

guavaberry liqueur

© Credit source :

The recipe: the base of Guavaberry is rum. It is patiently aged in oak barrels before being used. When mature, cane sugar and wild guavaberries are added. These are berries that grow in the center of the island, on the hills. To consume with moderation!

5- Arranged Rums

Typical restaurants in Saint-Martin, especially in the French part of the island, offer a Ti Bitin at the end of the meal as a digestive. It is a rum arranged to the taste of each preparer. There is no lack of imagination in this matter, as can be seen in the various market stalls. The best way to enjoy excellently arranged rums is to visit the specialists of the genre. Two addresses stand out: the first is the restaurant "L'astrolabe" in Orient Bay, which offers a hazelnut rum arranger, a real treat! The other is a small family business, founded in 1993 and run by women only: "Ma Doudou". The rums arranged by them are prepared with fresh fruits from the neighboring islands, a sweet syrup concocted by them, and of course an excellent rum which is one of the emblems of Saint Martin. The little extra of "Ma Doudou" rums is their presentation. Their brandy is indeed presented in superb colored bottles that are hand-painted. Before being offered to the amateurs, the filled bottles are put to macerate under the wonderful sun of the Tropics.

Now you know what your next meal will be composed of. As an aperitif, some Johnny Cakes, accompanied by a glass of Guavaberry. The tasting continues with a plate of caramelized pork ribs, and with a bowl of Callaloo soup. Digestion will finally be easy thanks to a delicious rum arranged from behind the bundles. Enjoy!


© Credit source : Fodors travel guide

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