The Caribbean’s Best Hand Pies

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Photo by David Hanson

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
In the Virgin Islands, look for pates, which tend to be light on spice and heavy on juicy meat.

Carol and Paul Mobile Food Truck, St. Thomas
These pate makers combine parsley, rosemary, bay leaves, salt, and pepper to season the beef, chicken, salt fish, and conch patties that they fry in 350F vegetable oil for five minutes. Find them in Charlotte Amalie on Seventh Street, roughly six blocks inland from the cruise ship dock of Havensight Point. Grab a few varieties to go, then walk back toward the waterfront boardwalk to enjoy a view with your snack.
Seventh Street near Roy Lester Schneider Hospital, Sugar Estate, St. Thomas; 340-771-8663

Hercules Pate Delight, St. John
For over 20 years, owners Hercules and Letitia have made the meat the main attraction in their West Indies-style pies. Thin dough fences in shrimp, beef, salt fish, or chicken, all spiced with adobo, onion, pepper, and just a hint of hot sauce. Rather than rely on exact frying times, the savvy cooks just watch until the pates turn golden brown in the bubbling vat of vegetable oil. Find them by looking for the yellow-and-green building on North Shore Road in Cruz Bay, home to the island’s bustling commercial center and main port.
Lumberyard Shopping Complex, Cruz Bay, St. John; 340-776-6352

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Pastelitos, the de facto national snack, are sold at roadside stands and by vendors throughout the country. They resemble a round empanada, but with a more buttery, flaky crust. As they tend to be small, so don’t be shy about doubling (or tripling) down when you order.

Solo Pastelitos, Santo Domingo
Nearly everywhere else in the Caribbean, meat patties are half-moon shaped, but in the Dominican Republic, they’re full circles — but tiny. Here at this open-air snack stand, where the lunch line often snakes down the block, three pastelitos are considered a serving. They’re also light when it comes to heat, as locals prefer a milder flavor, and stuffed with chicken, ham, corn, garlic, or just lots of gooey cheese.
Calle Cesar A. Sandino, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; 809-533-5875

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