St Lucia doesn’t just hold appeal aesthetically, culturally and historically, but it has a huge pull gastronomically speaking, too. For anyone having invested in St Lucia real estate, getting to grips with the finer things is one of island life’s simple pleasures. One of my absolute favourite delicacies is the somewhat controversial lionfish. Prepared well, it is one of the most delicious dishes served on the island. |
Why Does Lionfish Get Bad Press?
Sadly, many people, particularly visitors to the island and even those who spend more time here, such as St Lucia real estate investors, stay away from lionfish when they see it on the menu because it doesn’t have the best of reputations. Its natural habitat is the South Pacific, so it is therefore considered one of the most destructive invasive species in the waters around our Caribbean islands. Feeding on smaller reef fish, the lionfish have been known to destroy whole reefs. In an already endangered habitat – largely due to bleaching and climate change – the reefs are suffering catastrophically.
With no natural predators, the lionfish population thrives. Even the Giant Grouper, which has been known to prey on the lionfish, has diminished so much in numbers that they don’t make a difference to the healthy lionfish population growth.
What Can Be Done?
In some states in the US, the lionfish is sold and enjoyed on many menus, but the idea of eating this fish is relatively new to the islanders and, when seen on the menu, is often regarded with scepticism. I am among the advocators of this delicious fish and someone who encourages all visitors and St Lucia real estate owners to give it a go. By buying and enjoying this fish, you will help raise demand for it and consequently help to control the population growth and preserve the reefs.
So What is The Problem?
The reason this fish is taking a while to make its mark is twofold. Firstly, it takes time and effort to prepare and some chefs just favour other species over it. Secondly, many people are fearful of eating it because of its venomous spikes. I can understand this, especially when you are taking your kids out to educate them about the local specialities.
Venom, contrary to popular belief however, is not poisonous. It is stored only in the fish’s quills, so once the quills are cut off, there is nothing to worry about. If (although very unlikely) you ingested the venom, you would not be in danger, as this substance only becomes dangerous if it is injected into the bloodstream.
You Really Must Try It
Thankfully, there are chefs on the island who are trying to promote this delicious marine species, and slowly the word is getting around. There really is no reason for not tasting lionfish, and I believe that with more St Lucia real estate owners getting out there and indulging, a difference to the health of the reefs will be made.
Kids will love the soft, white flaky flesh and, when you try it fried with a coconut crust, I guarantee you will be a convert.
Adam Gobat is a renowned expert on the Caribbean, with a passion for its culture, history, people and places. His indepth local knowledge and wealth of experience in luxury St Lucia real estate are key to the marketing and sales of the luxury villas and penthouses in The Landings, one of the most desirable freehold beachfront developments in the Caribbean.
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