Anse Chastanet’s Apsara features Indian/Caribbean fusion cuisine.
There’s an old saying in Saint Lucia that “no one could ever go hungry here”. To understand it, just take a drive around the countryside and note the amazing amount of fruit trees and varieties of eatable vegetation growing untended everywhere you look. Most residents living in the countryside also have small gardens and orchards as conditions on island are excellent for the growth of so many varieties of trees and plants. Clearly, following a vegetarian lifestyle is an easy thing to do in Saint Lucia.
Hotel restaurants and others catering to the tourist market are keenly aware of worldwide trends toward more healthy eating habits and provide options to suit the demands of the ever increasing number of vegetarian and vegan visitors. Much credit also goes to the Ministry of Agriculture which, in the wake of a declining banana industry, has provided assistance to farmers for diversification to meet the demands of the rapidly growing tourism sector. Given the long and profitable history of banana farming, change has not come easy, but today many partnerships have been forged between various local farmers’ associations and specific resorts to meet demands in both variety and quality.
Organic farming is also a growing trend on island with some resorts actually investing in their own production programs to satisfy the more discernible tastes of Saint Lucia’s growing high-end tourist market.
To view the scope of current agriculture production there’s no better place to go than a local farmers’ market. While many communities have outdoor casual markets operating daily, the Castries Central Market features by the far the greatest volume and variety. To maximize the experience, the best time to go is early morning on Saturday. Visitors are welcome to look around and ask about the various fruits and vegetables being sold and for those staying in a self-contained accommodation, there’s no better place to do some shopping. The prices and freshness are unbeatable.
While meats and seafood are still very prevalent in the Lucian diet, the vegetarian lifestyle is becoming more popular and recognized. While local eateries still may not offer vegetarian options on the menu, they are very accommodating to special orders. The standard local lunch ‘meal’, for example, often includes a great variety of vegetable offerings – salad greens, green figs, dasheene, yams, sweet potatoes, rice, breadfruit, plantain, and much more – with fish, chicken, pork or turkey. Just request the meat to be left out and you’ll be served a vegetarian delight.