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World Travel Guide > Guides > Caribbean > St Maarten

St Maarten Food and Drink

St Maarten's cuisine is as varied as its history, combining Creole, Dutch, English, French and, more recently, international influences. For many it is the culinary capital of the Caribbean with a wide choice of excellent restaurants where the chefs combine the island's proud tradition and local ingredients with European savoire faire to produce dishes and menus that rival the best not only in the region but further afield as well.

Cooking and eating on the island is a reflection of the sunny, relaxed and joyous atmosphere that permeates the place.

Specialities

St Maarten's spare ribs: The locals all have their own recipes for this island favourite – they're all based on racks of pork ribs washed with lime and cider vinegar and marinated in barbecue sauce with onions, garlic and lime juice.

Saltfish fritters: Saltfish and chopped vegetables mixed in batter and deep-fried.

Chiquetaille de morue: Shredded cod in hot pepper vinaigrette.

Avocado feroce: Ripe avocado mashed with manioc flour.

Meat patties: Pastry parcels filled with spiced meat, shrimp or fish.

Pigeon peas soup: Hearty soup made with ham hock or salt pork and the light brown black eye peas also known as cajanus, gandules or gongo peas.
Guavaberry: A traditional liqueur made with aged rum, brown sugar and wild guavaberries that grow in the island's interior. It's enjoyed all year round but especially at Christmas.

Le Planteur: A local cocktail with as many recipes as there are beaches on St Maarten, but all based on rum (white or old), fruit juice (orange, pineapple and guava), can syrup, Angostura bitters and nutmeg.

Things to know

Tips of 10-15% is acceptable for waiters and bar staff.

Tipping

18.