Surveys show Callaloo preferred as national dish

A bowl of callaloo. Photo credit:
A bowl of callaloo. Photo credit: searchdominica.com

Callaloo has emerged as the preferred choice for Dominica’s national dish in four surveys conducted by National Emblems Committee in collaboration with the Independence Committee and the Statistical Division.

The choice has been forwarded to cabinet for ratification, chief cultural officer, Raymond Lawrence told DNO.

“From the four surveys that were done Callaloo was the preferred choice among Dominicans,” he said.

Lawrence said a response from cabinet is expected “very soon” and made it clear that it cannot be said callaloo is the official dish as yet.

The surveys were carried out on radio, in the hotels, through a LIME texting feature, and print media including Dominica News Online.

It presented the choices of callaloo, sancoche, broth, fig and saltfish and titiwi.

In the DNO survey 3,106 readers participated with callaloo receiving 1,106 votes.

The criteria for the surveys was as follows:

•It should be a typical dish of Dominica and should be a popular one among Dominicans
•The ingredients for the national dish should preferably be available locally all year round
•The dish should be fairly easy to prepare and healthy
•It should be part of our cultural heritage

Over the years, by general consensus, Mountain Chicken or Crapaud, was recognized as Dominica’s national dish but this was never officially documented.

The Crapaud has been in rapid decline in recent years due to disease and has been protected by law since 2002.

A website, searchdominica.com, describes callaloo as a ‘one pot family soup meal’ made up of a ‘combination of leaves such as spinach or dasheen mixed in with seasonings, provisions, meat and coconut milk.’

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55 Comments

  1. Justice and Truth
    August 31, 2013

    The bowl of callaloo looks sumptuous. If this is to be Dominica’s National Dish, so be it. I believe that visitors as also tourists would enjoy it.
    It also reminds me of Broccoli Immune Boosting Soup. To my knowledge Dominica does not have this vegetable. It is also a delicious dish which could be made especially during the winter mouths. I got this recipe on Best Health Website.
    We await the final choice of Dominica’s National Dish.
    You folks who reside in Canada, US and Europe, wherever there is winter, this would be an excellent one for you.

  2. Anonymous
    August 30, 2013

    personallly i think dominica’s national dish is bread and juice

  3. nyxie
    August 30, 2013

    gross! wa happen to breadfruit and codfish!!!! it tastes awesome no matter wat and ul rarely find someone who hates it…. :cry:

  4. lol
    August 30, 2013

    Red beans soup with lachay cochon and smokers,

  5. Mali
    August 30, 2013

    Too many islands have callaloo. TITIWI.

  6. dr who
    August 30, 2013

    its not fair..Dominica National Food is KFC and bottle of malt

  7. Ms. Kubuli
    August 30, 2013

    When the survey was on, I saw no one backing up the poor lil titiwi. But now I see some ppl seeing the light! They should continue the survey. Especially now as Independence season approaching, and diaspora and other Dominican are active in the culinary aspect of culture. Take the survey into 2014 and for the 35th anniversary, make preparations to announce the dish (hopefully titiwi lol)in grand style.

  8. Agent 47
    August 30, 2013

    I said cat and iguana is the way to go….Callaloo not going to cut it

  9. My word
    August 30, 2013

    Sorry i missed that survey,however I do not think that calaloo should be our national dish. Trini has calaloo bawling left right and centre, dont ask for Jamaica and Lucia. I think it should be tetewi in all its form.

    • RElion
      August 30, 2013

      Titiwi is NOT available ALL year round, Sir.

  10. born Dcan
    August 30, 2013

    As a previous person noted I think we should look at titiri (not sure of the spelling) but I know it tastes real good in any preparation.

  11. Good Food
    August 30, 2013

    Callaloo is an excellent choice. It’s all about the preparation. Plain callaloo or add crabs, Saltfish, etc for different variations. I prepare it so I know that it will be great.

    • Good Food
      August 30, 2013

      Oops! Did I say saltfish? I mean SMOKED MEAT.

  12. Black Pearl
    August 30, 2013

    Didn’t a Carnival Queen contestant claim that the national dish was the “Pyrex”?

  13. CHARMER
    August 29, 2013

    Come on folks, the majority has spoken. The opportunity was there for everyone to vote.

  14. NEVER
    August 29, 2013

    The survey, at least the one presented on DNO was initiated with a level of unintended persuasion. The article had already mentioned a few ideas which were used as a debating stage among the DNO’s audience. Perhaps a better approach would have been to only ask for a dish considered as available year round, uniquely Dominican, well loved locally etc. people might have been inclined to give their opinions without jumping on how much better was callaloo than titiwi etc.
    A few mentions were made of other dishes which were (in my opinion), better options but would have never made it to the top of the list since the article had already suggested options for people. You may not believe me but you will be amazed at the amount of times we are nudged by just one word or image. That is how marketing works.

  15. Real
    August 29, 2013

    so of all the things to do research on is which national dish suits Dominica best? I mean, there are no statistics in Dominica, but we are concerned about a dish? really?

    • CHARMER
      August 29, 2013

      What’s wrong about that?

    • Anonymous
      August 30, 2013

      Do you know that the mountain Chicken is almost gone?

    • Stats Officer
      August 30, 2013

      y are u spreading propaganda? where do you come off saying that there is no statistics in dominica?…when last have you visited roseau? where in dominica do you live? if there is no statistics, how was the census conducted?…..please verify your information before you speak!

  16. Theophilus
    August 29, 2013

    Isn’t callaloo more closely associated with Trinidad culture?

  17. forestvet
    August 29, 2013

    I have frequently asked myself why the desire to change what is the National Dish? I am coming from the perspective of the value of the Mountain Chicken(MC), its demise and the work ongoing to preserve the it. I am one who feels that we should all be proud of the work being undertaken and lend our support to it. This project has been going on with funding for the program coming largely from overseas although the Government of Dominica came on board and provides assistance. Changing the National Dish is taking the spotlight away from the MC; I believe it will send a wrong signal to the population that it is no longer important. So while the MC Program is on a sensitization drive to educate the population on the importance of the MC to what is Dominican, the Emblems Committee instead of promoting the MC, and trying to raise funds for its conservation they have engaged in an exercise to move the focus from it. There are diseases threatening the dasheen leaf used for the callaloo, if the dasheen becomes threaten then we will move to broth? or agouti water? or crab water. The Emblem’s committee is more interested in having something on paper as the National Dish than assisting in protecting an Iconic specie that is on the Coat of Arms. We have come a long way from 2002-2003 when there were large numbers of deaths of the MC, to a facility where interesting work is taking place to breed the frog and hopefully release again in the wild.My humble opinion as a Dominican, is leave the national dish, leave the focus on this iconic specie, and that the emblem committee join Forestry in the fight to have the frog at the restaurants again, not turn your back on it. Soon it may be removed from the Coat of Arms as well at the rate at which we are going. I have no real problem with eating broth or sancouche during Independence,it will eat any way whether it is named national dish or not, so what is the big deal, but let there be an awareness and consciousness by the Population that we once ate this animal, it is part of our National Dish, we got problems with it, many died, but we came together as One People, we saved it and we can now go to the restaurants during Independence and still get it. This would be an achievement by our people, we would be more respected internationally as having conserved this animal for future generations. Please join the fight to save the Mountain chicken, there is a Facebook page, and a website, or just call Forestry to know about the Mc, and what you can do to join the fight. Eat other foods, But leave the Focus on the Mountain Chicken, leave the National Dish alone.

    • D/A Lady
      August 30, 2013

      I like the enthusiasm. I agree with you

    • Justice and Truth
      August 30, 2013

      I have eaten mountain chicken – crapaud and enjoyed it also in soup. I agree that it should be the national dish but for the disease. It may take some years before it is eradicated and is once more healthy to eat.
      There are some people as also visitors who do not like it. Once they know it is “frog’s meat/ legs”, they will refuse to eat it.

  18. Anonymous
    August 29, 2013

    I was born and raised in dominica however my father’s side of my family consist of kittitians and antiguans and other backgrounds such as jamaican and trinidadian , and in every single home I’ve been to callalo is a common dish that they prepare for family get togethers .ofcourse not every single callalo will taste and be prepared the same and I’m not speaking island it’s basically based on the individual or individuals that prepare the dish. So in my opinion callaloo should not be our national dish one reason its because it’s not unique to our culture . Coming from a diverse caribbean family I can honestly say that , but hey its just my opinion.

    • NEVER
      August 29, 2013

      There is no way that I can compare the frequency to which I have eaten callalou in Dominica compared to countries such as Antigua, Grenada or Trinidad. In Grenada I ate it almost daily. Trust me I feel that balaw and fig is much more unique to us.

    • Anonymous
      August 29, 2013

      I think titiwi should be it’s not really known my grandfather from antigua 1st tasted titiwi when he came down to dominica and he absolutely loved every single preparation of it, and this man is an island hopper. It was the same with my aunt from trinidad (when I say that my grandfather is an island hopper I’m not just talking about traveling ) but titiwi should really be considered.

  19. Sylvester Cadette
    August 29, 2013

    Usually around Independence you get an array of wonderful dishes directly linked to our history and cultural heritage.

    I did not vote on any of the dishes that were previously presented – THOUGH I LIKE THEM ALL FOR TASTE. Except that in presentation and appeal to our great creativity as Dominicans, our rich soil and agricultural endowment that we ought to extol in our National Dish, and the exceptional skill of our creole chefs exemplified by our Creole dishes on Creole Day, the previous three choices to me did not cut it.

    Our national dish does not necessarily have to be a noon and night dish. It could well be a well presented breakfast dish of the type that brought longevity to MA PAMPO and many of our Centenarians:-

    Say a Breakfast dish like:

    1. ROAST BREADFRUIT,
    2. Codfish lightly stewed or stir-fried with tomatoes, chives and other vegetable ingredients;
    3. Avocado and or fawine balls (avocado & cassava flour-farine;
    4. Fried plantain (2-3 slices & not too ripe)
    5. Watercrest
    6. Crème Coco (Hot Cocoa Tea with Coconut milk)
    7. Sweet Cassava wraps (extoling the Kalinago heritage)

    TAGLINE: This Breakfast empowers you not just for a day but for a Century – ask our centenarians.

    The best way to promote such a dish and to market also our power breakfast is during THE DOMINICA NATURE ISLAND CHALLENGE.

    When a visiting German eats that he must say “DAS IST GESCHMECKT!”- THIS IS TASTY !!

    One could highlight the nutritional value; the historical aspect of each component of the dish linked to our heritage, the aesthetic appeal of the breakfast dish can be brought out through the eclectic presentations and unique skills of our chefs;

    Some may say that Avocado is not all year round – So was Ackee in Jamaica until it was canned. Maybe an idea for our agro-based industry.

    Once a dish is chosen, every effort must be made by National Emblems Committee, Cultural Division, Discover Dominica, Independence Committee, Hotel & Tourism association, Ministry of Education & ALL schools to promote such a dish as a year round dish.

    I am not quarter a chef-honestly. I can just make a koobouyoun!
    But we have some of the finest Creole Chefs – PLEASE CREOLE CHEFS LET YOUR LOVELY IDEAS AND DISHES CONTEND. YOU ARE THE SALT OF OUR AFRICAN, CREOLE HERITAGE and KALINAGO HERITAGE – KEEP YOUR SAVOR AND LET YOUR IDEAS CONTEND DOMINICAN CHEFS!!!

    National Emblems Committee, Cultural Division, Discover Dominica, Independence Committee, Hotel & Tourism Association, Ministry of Education Committee RETHINK PLEASE !! This is more than a Short-term reunion feast or heritage day marketing. THIS IS NOW NATIONAL BRANDING – For a long time to come. Think it through well!!

    THINK IT OVER MY FRIENDS – THINK IT OVER!!

    • Sylvester Cadette
      August 29, 2013

      Add cucumbers to that!!

    • Sylvester Cadette
      August 29, 2013

      ALSO Once a dish is chosen LET OPHELIA Marie, Michele Henderson and Gregory Rabess, among others be the ambassadors of promotion. Just another suggestion.

  20. August 29, 2013

    Dominicans eat too much. They need to give the liver a break from working overtime.

    • Justice and Truth
      August 30, 2013

      This is an exaggeration. I would not state that Dominicans eat too much or all Dominicans. Some as I eat because we have to eat to keep healthy and strong but nominal. A person can only eat so much at a time.

  21. abroad
    August 29, 2013

    sancouch if that’s how you spell it, that would be great. The one with coconut milk and salt fish no one can make it like we do. :-D

  22. Really
    August 29, 2013

    our national dish doesn’t have to be available all year round. mountain chicken wasn’t. titiwi would be an excellent choice. it is unique to us.

  23. opinion
    August 29, 2013

    I think titiwi would have been a good choice as a unique national dish, since it is not popular in the Caribbean. (i am subject to correction).
    The only thing its not year round, there is a season.
    I guess the eyes have it; as they say.
    Either way, i am good with any of the dishes.

    • Really
      August 29, 2013

      titiwi is available all year round. it comes about 7 days after full moon if the weather is right. and i do agree with you it would make a better national dish than callaloo

  24. Marshall Lawrence
    August 29, 2013

    Well , this change might be for the better , although broth is really classy.One of the advantages that the callaloo ( Kallaloo ) has , is that the dasheens and tanias , have a better chance of survival during storms and strong winds , and even flooding .I stand to be corrected . in such case, I’d support the change , if something unusual , an added touch to preserve a unique taste

  25. Anonymous
    August 29, 2013

    I’m with the callaloo that should have been done a long time.But am on a different not now i really would like to know what is wrong with LIAT my girl and my son was suppose to leave Dominica to Antigua yesterday at 02:00pm and would you believe that they are still in Dominica, Now she was told that they would have left the same time on Thursday that should have been 02:00pm it’s now 03:50 and they are still at the airport

  26. kathrine Joseph
    August 29, 2013

    DC yes other island have calaloo but is what they put in it and how it is cook, I am living trinidad and we don’t make our calaloo how you all make it our calaloo is eaten mostly everyday of the week we don’t put food in it we either eat with rice or some sort where as you all put crabs and dumplins I vist last year and my sister inlaw took me in the park and she bought me some it was real tasty the only thing it was missing is hot pepper. For the broth they will have to choose fish or smoke not everyone like fish and smoke meat

    • DC
      August 29, 2013

      This is also in response to Time’s comment. I understand your rebuttal, however, it is rather weak. I share two children with a Grenadian man, and they prepare a very similar dish to sancouche called Oil Down, everything in one pot with coconut milk. They call broth fish water, it is mostly fush an water. Our broth consists of provisions, cabbage, Christophene etc. What gives broth the edge over Callaloo, is that, when most Dominicans get together, going back home

      • DC
        August 29, 2013

        Most Dominicans request a broth, after being away for a long time. When we get together to make a jot, broth is usually the preferred choice. My children’s father always thought broth was unique to Dominica, and requested broth very often, callaloo is just not unique, even with the different preparation method, it is a Caribbean dish, and will not be seen as a dish unique to Dominica regionally.

  27. Time
    August 29, 2013

    @ DC .. Remember Trinidad may have callaloo as their national dish however it comes down to the preparation… that’s what makes the difference.

    Note We are not following Trinidad. A Born Dominican would know that Dominica callaloo is one of the best:)

    • NEVER
      August 29, 2013

      So a Dominican and a Trini is addressing a group. Both are asked what is the national dish. The Dominican answers it is Callaloo, a dish make from dasheen leaves. The Trinidadian replies the same. They both go on to now try to differentiate between the two but when you as a foreigner has never heard of something before the little details are hard to imagine so you leave thinking that they have the same dish. We will be willingly putting ourselves back in the Dominican and Dominican Republic identity issue all over again.

    • Justice and Truth
      August 31, 2013

      Probably some segments of Trinidad love callaloo. I can also state not all Trinidadians as also those whom I know.
      On more than one occasion, I have spent time in T/dad and not once we had callaloo. I did not give it a thought.
      Trinidad Indians and Chinese love Roti. Those whom I know make it tasty with curry goat, beef or chicken. I would think this is their national dish. :)

  28. Prince
    August 29, 2013

    Firstly, to conduct such a survey, restaurants and chefs all over Dominica should be involved. I do feel that there is some biases. Also different areas including schools of the island should participate in such a survey involving both the old and young. A survey like that I think was rushed and don’t convey the general feelings of all Dominicans. The amount of people who participated in these surveys were very limited. It appears that those in charge of the survey are really bias.

  29. Orpheus
    August 29, 2013

    @ DC: While broth is our thing, we have to market it for international visitors and to tell you the honest to God truth, Broth, Braff however you want to call it, looks too messy.

    We accustomed to our ‘thing’, but a visitor looking at braff for the first time would be turned off.

    • Post
      August 29, 2013

      Sweetie you can’t cook broth because I’ve been eating broth all my life and I’ve never seen or eaten “messy broth”. You poor thang are you sure you’re eating broth and not food someone mash up for the babies? My husband and his family loves broth and they’re American.

      • to the bone
        August 29, 2013

        i wish i could like this comment more than once…

    • Justice and Truth
      August 31, 2013

      This is your opinion which does not represent everyone. Call it soup then. Callaloo is healthy.

  30. Annonymoustoyou
    August 29, 2013

    That is a Callaloo soup??? You could have fooled me. It looking like green pea soup to me.

    • Justice and Truth
      August 31, 2013

      Callaloo leaves are green. What color did you expect it to be? I love green pea soup too. :)

  31. DC
    August 29, 2013

    Callaloo is already a preferred dish in Trinidad and a few other Islands, why would we make that our National Dish? We must prove that we are not a Nation of followers. I would choose broth over any of the others, no other Island can make a broth as delicious as some Dominicans can. Cabinet, please disapprove callaloo as our national dish. Where is the uniqueness? Stop being followers!

    • Not a follower
      August 29, 2013

      I agree with DC, people must be constructive. Almost every island in the region can make callaloo. We need to be unique; something that Dominica does better than anywhere else or is unique to Dominica. Anyway, I cannot think of anything we produce through out the year, so while I criticise I do not have a suggestion. So whatever the nation says, I have no choice.

    • Jamdominic
      August 29, 2013

      Why do we continue to talk about better than everyone else…is that really important…you love the taste of what you prepare doesn’t make it better than what someone else prepares. Yes Calalloo soup is made in many if not all the Caribbean countries and they do it their own way, to suit their own taste, some with meat some without, some with hot peppers some none, some with okra some without…I know i have been around the block a time or two…stop this better thing.

    • Justice and Truth
      August 31, 2013

      The name “broth” would not be appropriate. Are you aware of beef broth, chicken broth, turkey broth, veal broth and lamb broth, etc.? The beef and chicken liquid broth are sold in small cartons or in a small package. You can also make them, homemade according to the recipes.
      Therefore, considering informing visitors that it is “broth” would be too common among these people of the world as in Canada and the US, no exception Europe. It would not be an exceptional or unique dish or regarded as such, even though prepared differently.

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