Turtle Stew and Chicharrón08.06.09
At first glance, you may think this pairing comes straight out of Bizarre Foods. However, at Luz Restaurant in the Cayman Islands, these two dishes are bestsellers on the menu. Staples of the Caymanian and Honduran kitchens come together in this casual Georgetown eatery which serves traditional Caymanian fare like turtle stew and stewed conch and a list of Honduran delicacies like garnaches (corn tortillas topped with cheese, cabbage and beans), chicharrón con yuca(fried pork rinds with yucca), and carne asada (roast beef). On my last trip to this sunny sanctuary, I learned about the important Honduran presence in the Caymans and that people from the Bay Islands of Honduras have been crossing the Caribbean Sea and settling in the Cayman Islands for years.
It started in the 40’s and 50’s, when local Caymanians traveled to the English-speaking Bay Islands by catboats for food and resources limited by the arid local soil. Located about 145 nautical miles away, they were easily accessible. The Bay Islands’ history includes many disputes between Spain and England during colonial times, so much so that English is mostly spoken here despite the fact that Spanish is the official language of Honduras.
To Caymanians, Spanish is synonimous with people from Honduras. It’s incredible to think how Latin America is alive in the most unexpected of places.