Island nations are often equated with being a tropical paradise – just think of Hawaii, the Maldives, or even Indonesia (one of Tony’s faves). So too is the case for St. Vincent & the Grenadines in the Caribbean, though it’s far less visited and developed than some other island paradise destinations. Never one to be put off by a lack of development or tourism, Bourdain spent time island-hopping in the eastern Caribbean and showing off the flavors you can find there.
Anthony Bourdain visited St. Vincent and the Grenadines to film season 6 (episode 14) of No Reservations; it was his only visit to the islands, but he made the most of it, visiting five of the 32 islands in the nation – and several other Caribbean islands too.
If you’re considering or planning a trip to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and want to know more about the culture and cuisine, this guide can help. Below, you’ll find a guide to the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as all the different dishes he tried. Hopefully, it will inspire you to visit too; this island nation has much to offer every kind of traveler, from the adventurous to the affluent.
In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Taíno and Kalinago (Island Carib) peoples, among others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
Petit Saint Vincent
On Petit Saint Vincent, the southernmost of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Bourdain is joined by his chef friend Norman Van Aiken (also his companion in the Florida Keys, if you recognize his name). The pair are staying at the eponymous resort that covers the entire island; as you might expect, it’s a bit of a treat!
The pair start with breakfast of barracuda, omelet with clawless lobster, and plates of fresh fruit and croissants while discussing their travel plans in the island nation before setting sail.
On a private charter headed toward Tobago Cays and Union Island (more on that below), the pair enjoy another great meal, this time prepared by chef Eoghain O’Neill. Dishes include barracuda carpaccio, pan-seared red snapper with callaloo, and baked lamb confit in olive oil – all very high-end and splurge-worthy for these two chefs trying to enjoy their time in paradise.
Literally made from nothing to rise up out of the sea, Happy Island is an essential stop for any travelers sailing through St. Vincent and the Grenadines, so of course Tony and Norman stop there – especially as it’s world-famous for its rum punch.
While you can find rum punch throughout the Caribbean, there’s nothing quite enjoying it on an island made of conch shells that you have to sail to reach.
The chef pair’s next stop is Union Island, the largest of the Southern Grenadines islands. Here, they explore a bit more, first shopping for at Captain Gourmet, where Tony is surprised to learn that you can order just about anything in the world to be delivered here – provided you’re willing to pay and wait for it to arrive. (The internet suggests it may be closed, but I can’t verify this based on any other sources – if you know, please share in the comments below.)
Then they head to Sunbeach & Eat for lunch, where they enjoy slow-cooked breadfruit with carrot and mayo (like potato salad) and grilled Marlin in butter sauce. Then, they part ways with Tony continuing on to explore the local flavors and activities of the islands.
Heading to the largest island in the Grenadines, Bequia – pronounced “Beck-way” – Bourdain’s culinary adventures turn more, well, adventurous.
First, he goes out manicou (opossum) hunting followed by a bonfire to clean and prepare the marsupial for dinner with dumplings. During this meal with locals, he also enjoys “strong rum,” that is overproof locally-made rum.
Next, Tony heads into the town of Port Elizabeth for a more formal dining experience. At Tantie Pearls Restaurant, he enjoys conch and fishhead with local veggies, followed by pig’s feet souse soup.
Finally, he heads out on a fishing expedition; while these are notoriously unsuccessful, Bourdain actually manages to catch a small barracuda, which he enjoys later grilled and with a side of rum at Earl’s Rum Shop in town.
At long last, Tony ends the episode on the island of Saint Vincent. He starts out by heading up into the forested hills of the island with several local guides to catch crawfish and create a “bush meal” of boiled crawfish with fresh veggies, spices, cassava, and grilled plantains – it’s an astonishingly local meal as much of the food comes right from the area around the creek where they fish.
Back in town, Bourdain heads to Bullie’s Bar in Bottomtown, a “rough” neighborhood. Never one to judge a place by its reputation or exterior, Tony heads in to find a welcoming (enough) group and delicious food: callaloo, breadfruit, and plantains, followed by cow head soup.
Have any questions about the islands and places visited by Anthony Bourdain in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, or what he ate at each one? Let me know in the comments below!