#FoodieFriday Fish & Fungi

Unofficial Dish of the USVI: Fish & Fungi

One of the best parts of being Cruzan Foodie is sharing my incredible foodie finds with you! This image shown below is referred to by many as the unofficial dish of the Virgin Islands. It is one that I’ve eaten more times than I count growing up on St. Croix, even though I didn’t like it too much as a kid. Fish & fungi is what one might a call a true “Crucian” dish being that it can be found on most menus of locally owned eateries. Fungi (pronounced foon-ji) can be described as a cornmeal-based dumpling similar in texture to polenta made with okra, salt and butter. The fish that is most often served in this dish is red snapper, but other fish variety may be paired with it like king fish steaks. Fish & fungi ties back to the days of slavery when corn meal and salt herring fish were the rations provided to enslaved Africans. In those days, you had to make do with what was readily available and inexpensive. 

#FoodieFriday Fish & Fungi
Red Snapper & Fungi with Provisions, Vegetables and Coleslaw

When I visited Africa in 2021, I was amazed – but not surprised – that much of the food I ate in Kenya was a constant reminder of how much of what we grew up eating in the Caribbean came from The Motherland. Ugali (the white colored food pictured below) is a simpler version of our Virgin Islands fungi. Our fungi which is made with cornmeal and okra while ugali is made with similar to corn flour. While it doesn’t have much flavor, it is used as a filler in meals to provide sustenance & strength.

A traditional Kenyan dish of stew chicken, menagu and ugali.
Traditional Kenyan Dish: Stew Chicken, Menagu (the greens) and Ugali

It’s amazing to learn what my African ancestors were able to create with limited means when they were enslaved to do endure back breaking work in the sugar cane fields.

Now one cannot enjoy fish & fungi without getting a little messy. The tiny bones found in the snapper fish means your hands will have to get a little saucy to truly enjoy this meal’s deliciousness. Spoon the sauce in your plate over the fungi to make sure it seeps into every crack and crevice it can find its way into. Check out how to enjoy fish & fungi like a pro here.

Grab a stack of napkins and get to work when you arrive to St. Croix; you have to give fish & fungi a try whenever you find yourself visiting one-third of America’s Paradise. Here are a few places on St. Croix where you can get a taste of fish & fungi on St. Croix:

Junie’s Bar & Restaurant


132 Peters Rest


Gertrude’s Restaurant


143 Castle Coakley


Centeno’s Cruzuan Cuisine


Estate Diamond Ruby across from the KFC in the Sunny Isles Shopping Center


Until Next Time,

Q the Cruzan Foodie

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