“I was on the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston for ten years before I joined the Ross faculty in 2004. When I left Houston, a colleague there said to me in parting: ‘I have known many people that have fantasized about moving to a tropical island, but you are the only person I know that ever actually did it.’”
Mary Shannon Moore, Ph.D.
Department of Anatomy
Life in the Caribbean flows at a slow, relaxing pace. Dominica’s rich culture comes from its mix of English, French, African, and Carib people. Dominica’s French Creole heritage is evident in the food, music, dance, language and hospitality.
The people of Dominica are innately friendly and welcoming. Even in passing, it’s normal to greet anyone you see with “Good day, or “OK,” which is the Dominican equivalent to “How are you?”
English is the official language of Dominica, but most islanders speak with a heavy accent that will take some time to get used to. Many locals also speak French Creole.
Expect an enticing, exciting array of Caribbean and Creole cuisine. Some of Dominica’s best displays of local cuisine can be found at roadside snackettes and small cafés. Barbecues are a common sight around the island; they usually offer appetizing treats like barbecued chicken, ribs or plantains stuffed with salt cod. Roasted corn is often sold along the roadside.
One thing that sets Dominican cuisine apart is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. The open street markets in Roseau and Portsmouth are the best places to get fresh produce. Some common dishes include roti, pelau and braf stew. Callaloo, is the national dish of Dominica. “Bakes” are a common breakfast fare, made of fried bread stuffed with eggs and cheese, corned beef, ham, or tuna. Seafood is a staple in the Caribbean diet. Fresh fish is available daily with regular catches of tuna, marlin or dorado (mahi-mahi).
If you decide you want a taste of home, there is a mixture of international restaurants on the island serving French, Italian, Chinese, Indian, and American foods. The local store may not have every ingredient you want, but you can create wonderful meals with what you find. Vegetarians will have no problem finding appealing meals in Dominica.