Did you know that Afro-Caribbean food has ties to the African diaspora?

The historical phenomenon known as the African diaspora has significantly influenced the growth of cultures in the Americas.

People of the African diaspora can connect with one another across geographic boundaries through music, language and other forms of expression. Through these forms of communication, communities can establish deep bonds with one another. Another important thing that communities share is food.

Rondón is one of the diaspora’s most expressive food manifestations.  This Afro-Caribbean food is delightful to many local fishermen and foreigners alike.

History of Rondón & Afro-Caribbean Food

In 1492, during the dominance of European forces over enslaved Africans, some culinary activities of African tradition were introduced into various parts of the Americas. In the Caribbean Sea coasts, this influence was even greater, leading to the creation of Afro-Caribbean cuisine. This was evident in the cooking techniques, ingredients and spices used to create a unique blend of flavors. This combination of African and Caribbean cuisines gave rise to new food delicacies, such as the Rondón.

Rondón is a stew dish with Jamaican origins. This traditional dish is very popular in several Latin American countries that share a coast with the Caribbean Sea. Its expansion occurred after Afro-Jamaican immigrant workers, who migrated in the early 19th century to work on projects like the Panama Canal and the Costa Rican railroads, brought Rondón from Jamaica to Latin America.

The consists of a soup made up of different types of seafood (fish, crabs, small lobsters or shellfish), with coconut milk, plantain, vegetables, peppers and spices. With its tropical climate, the Caribbean Sea provides a wide variety of fresh seafood, making it an ideal location to create the Rondón, which can be served as breakfast or lunch.

How To Prepare Rondón

Rondón, a Jamaican Patois anglicization of the word “run down,” refers to the sauce’s “runny” or “liquefied” consistency. The term “run down” may have come from the process of thoroughly cooking the fish until it disintegrates.

Every Caribbean nation has its own way to prepare it.

Fish, beef, pork or even turtle meat — a common ingredient in Caribbean cuisine — could be used in Nicaragua along with seasonings. Bell peppers, onions, bananas, cassava, elephant’s ear and argan oil may be added to the dish. 

In Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, the ingredients include cassava, taro, yam, plantain and green bananas. Fish, lobsters or crabs may be used as the meat, and spices like thyme, garlic and “chile panameo,” which is a key component of Costa Rican cooking, may also be added. Rondón in this setting also may be accompanied by flour dumplings. This Afro-Caribbean food is very popular in Límon, the most Afrocentric city in Costa Rica.

The locals from the Colombian island of San Andrés use fish, snails, other seafood or pork as the meat. Cassava, taro, plantains and potatoes are among the vegetables that they add. As for seasonings, they may use basil and oregano. They prepare Rondón in coconut milk. 

Travel Noire tip: Next time you visit Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Venezuela and other Caribbean nations, and you want to connect with the African diaspora, eat Rondón with the locals. This Afro-Caribbean food will introduce you to flavors and customs, the history and culture of Black people in the Americas, and open your eyes to this fascinating universe of the African Diaspora.

In other words, Rondón should definitely be on your bucket list because you will absolutely love this delicious and highly nutritious meal.