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From traditional French food to West Indian fare to the drink that’s readily associated with St. Martin/St. Maarten, here are the top five food experiences you must try during your time on island:
1. L’Escargot. You might not expect to find a delicious French delicacy in a colorful Creole cottage on a Dutch Caribbean island, which is one of the many reasons that L’Escargot is a pleasant surprise. There’s an entire menu dedicated to the cooked snails for which the restaurant is named. Try escargot with wild mushrooms, white wine and shallots, or perhaps with cherry tomatoes with garlic butter. Can’t make up your mind? Order an escargot sampler.
2. Lolos. Sampling the local food when you’re traveling in the Caribbean is a must, and the best place to do this on St. Martin is in Grand Case, where you’ll find numerous “lolos” — simple shacks that serve grilled food in an informal atmosphere. Creole shrimp and barbecue ribs are just some of the delicious dishes you’ll find scrawled on the lolos’ sidewalk chalkboard menus.
3. Guavaberry rum. In the Caribbean, spirits flow freely with every meal. And on St. Martin/St. Maarten, guavaberry is the liqueur of choice. Made with the fruit of the same name, guavaberry is rum steeped with cane sugar and the ripe berries, picked by hand right on St. Martin/St. Maarten. It’s the national liqueur of the island, and the best place to sample this sweet treat is at the Guavaberry Emporium in Philipsburg.
4. Callaloo. This dish — a soup of stewed greens generally made from the callaloo plant, similar to spinach — is found throughout the Caribbean. It often includes seafood or pork and is sometimes spiced up with a bit of heat. It’s a must-try when you’re in St. Martin/St. Maarten and can be found at various local food vendors.
5. Karakter. Located on beautiful Simpson Bay beach, this beach bar and restaurant is the place to go when you’re feeling weighed down by all the delicious French meals you’ve been enjoying. The focus is on healthy dishes — the restaurant offers the best smoothies, salads and tapas (like a variety of nuts and cassava chips with chili sauce).