Since we just moved to Grand Cayman, we figured it was about time to go on a food tour! We had been to a few places around the island that we really enjoyed, but we didn’t know what was considered “good, local” food and if there was anything we were missing out on. Luckily, we found Caribbean Culinary Concepts through Trip Advisor and were so happy with our decision. We booked a private tour that took six different food and culture stops around Grand Cayman.
Our Tour Guide
We were picked up in a beautiful, luxury SUV by Niki, our tour guide. Niki is the best person to have take you on a tour. She is extremely knowledgable about the island, but also very passionate about food. She knew exactly where each restaurant received their ingredients and made a point to take us to restaurants that use local, fresh ingredients for their meals.
Singh’s Roti Shop
Our first stop was at Singh’s Roti Shop. Neither of us had ever even heard of roti before this visit, but it was mouth-watering good! Roti is a very light, flatbread that is similar to a tortilla stuffed with a curried, split pea mixture that will melt in your mouth. There were options of chicken, beef, goat, shrimp, conch, and lobster roti. The process to make it seemed time-consuming, but ultimately, the deliciousness of the split pea mixture included potatoes and the meat of your choice. You then, scoop the mixture into your flatbread and indulge. It was extremely filling and unlike anything else I had eaten before.
You definitely need to try the sauces on the table as well. There is one that is a scotch bonnet sauce which is an intense, yellow color and provides immediate heat without being overpowering. The other sauce is a sweet tamarind sauce that would be delicious on anything!
Cayman Spirits Co. Distillery
Our second stop with Caribbean Culinary Concepts was to Cayman Spirits Co. Distillery where we tried 14 different spirits. Moses was extremely knowledgable inside the distillery and provided the best entertainment. We started off with the distillery’s only vodka. As each tasting proceeded, Moses would explain the process behind making each bottle and then play a specially procured song just for that bottle. If I’m not mistaken, I believe he played Ray Charles for the bottle of vodka.
We then tasted the Seven Fathom’s Rum, which if I’m not mistaken might be one of their most popular. It is aged in old bourbon barrels and definitely tastes like it. Next we tasted the rest of the Governor’s Reserve Rum which included dark rum, spiced rum, gold rum, white rum, coconut rum, and banana rum. Some of the song selections for each included Kanye, Bruno Mars, reggae, and soca.
But wait…. there’s more! If that didn’t already seem like a lot of tastings (8 to be exact) we then went on to taste the liqueurs which included triple sec, amaretto, peach schnapps, coffee liqueur, and blackberry liqueur. Now normally, I wouldn’t advise just taking a shot of peach schnapps, however, these were distilled in the building and were extremely tasty!
Lightning Round and Tour
Finally, we ended the tastings with a nice shot ski for four and a “lightning round” meaning that you can pour yourself as much as you would like and taste however much makes your little heart happy! WHAT?! If you’re from the US like we are, you’re probably thinking this is crazy. It is. I’m not even going to tell you that you’re wrong because you’re not. In the US, alcohol is heavily taxed, so anytime it leaves the bottle there is a tax associated with it. However, in Grand Cayman, there is no tax on alcohol. Meaning that people can drink as much as they want in this facility. So lightning rounds can include multiple shots of the same spirit, taking another shot of each one, or even mixing multiples together. There are basically no rules as long as you don’t break anything.
After the tasting, once you’re nice and inebriated, you can tour the distillery. But beware: it is hot in there. Once inside you can taste a sample so pure it is labeled as 196 proof. Caution: it might hurt a little.
Tortuga Rum Company
After the distillery, we headed to Tortuga Rum Company. I know what you’re thinking… More rum?! Well, no. Not exactly. Instead we ordered patties, which are like super flaky empanadas. You can choose to have them stuffed with veggies like spinach and carrots, beef, chicken, or beef and cheese.
For a quick treat, these patties are perfect! They are savory and relatively cheap. But I was surprised at how fresh they both were!
Tortuga Rum Company is also a great place to pick up any touristy goodness you’re looking to take away from this adventure. We definitely made it out of that building with a bottle opener magnet and a shirt.
National Gallery of the Cayman Islands
Our fourth stop on our Caribbean Culinary Concepts tour was to the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. The bottom floor rotates regularly and you can view different artists from the area. The top floor is filled with more well-known artists around The Cayman Islands and some of these pieces are absolutely huge! We really enjoyed viewing some of these pieces that mean so much to the culture and history of Cayman people.
After walking off our previous food at the National Gallery, we headed to West Bay to stop at a vegan restaurant called VIVO. I think this was the best meal we’ve eaten all day (and there was a lot of delicious food). At VIVO, we ate a “BLT” of sorts. However, instead of bacon it was coconut that they marinated to taste like bacon. The coconut bacon was pair with arugula and tomato on top of a gluten-free coconut flour bread that is the most delicious bread I’ve ever tasted! On the side of our BLT were seasoned potatoes and coconut calamari (once again, it is a vegan restaurant so the calamari was actually tempura coconut.)
The restaurant is extremely picky about each of their ingredients. The owner only uses fresh produce from local farmers and uses sustainable practices inside their restaurant. Everything is served on wooden plates with wooden ware to eat with as well. We love seeing environmentally sustainable practices in different businesses!
Gelato & Co.
Finally, we ended off our food and culture tour with Gelato & Co on Camana Bay. The owners of the store came from Italy. They have merged their traditional Italian gelato with Cayman flavors such as mango, guava, soursop, lemon, and coconut. This was the perfect ending to our delicious day!
We absolutely loved Niki and our Caribbean Culinary Concepts tour. If you are planning a trip to Grand Cayman, spend a few hours getting to see the island in a nutshell! You won’t regret trying all the delicious food around Grand Cayman and hearing about the history and culture from Niki.
Article by Teachers on a Trip Blog