Dining on Seafood around the World

Foodie and the Fish: A Love Story

Sponsored by Holland America Line

Are you a traveler who’s also a foodie?

Does your palate gravitate towards seafood? Then rejoice. The seafood culinary scene is definitely changing for the better throughout the world.

The big buzzwords right now for seafood: locally sourced and sustainable.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re dining in a restaurant in Greece, New Zealand or the new Sel de Mer restaurant aboard Holland America, chefs are turning towards what is fresh and available by region. In fact, many chefs won’t even know what dishes will be on their daily menu until after they have returned from the local fish market or have seen what is ripe in their very own gardens.

These chefs are also moving away from using seafood that has been seriously overfished. Instead, they are looking towards sustainable fish, including ones that may have been considered “trash” in the past.

Many chefs won't even know what dishes will be on the daily menu until they've returned from the local fish market.

The Caribbean

For many years, the hotels and restaurants that catered to tourists in the Caribbean tended to serve European- and American-influenced fare. Thankfully, that’s changing, and the trend now is towards dishes that are more local in their influences.

In fact, Travel & Leisure recently wrote about the food scene on the islands, saying, “There has been quite a revolution. Caribbean as a cuisine has shaken off the old restraints and is evolving quickly.”

Caribbean chefs are taking full advantage of the tantalizing spices available on these islands as well as the amazing fresh seafood and delicious tropical fruits to create dishes that are unique to each island.

For example, if you’re on Puerto Rico, you’ll want to sample bacalaitos, which is a salted cod fritter. And if on Saint Martin, you won’t want to miss the grilled lobster that is available at food trucks or at a lolo (an inexpensive food stand) by the sea.

The Mediterranean

Not surprisingly, locally sourced food is a big trend in the Mediterranean countries, as well. Chefs in these countries are pairing their locally caught fish with farm-to-table produce. That doesn’t mean, however, there aren’t dishes you should look for while in each individual country.

For example, in Spain, it may not be trendy, but dorada that has been cooked whole in a salt crust is a traditional dish that is authentically delicious. While on the French side, Holland America is serving up seared scallops and seaweed salad.

Is your cruise heading to seafood loving Greece? One of the more unique dishes to sample there is lakerda, an appetizer consisting of tuna steaks that have been marinated in salt, lemon and olive oil for a few days. You may also want to try sun-dried fish, which is similar to jerky, but lighter.

Looking for something a little more trendy? Finger food that includes seafood is growing in popularity. These dishes might include gourmet ingredients such as sea urchin or avgotaraho (mullet eggs) which is so prized, it has sometimes been called the “gold of the sea.”


While Alaska’s restaurants tend to lag behind the rest of the country with contemporary food trends, they’ve long been ahead of the game with locally sourced seafood.  Here you’ll find some of the world’s best seafood, including the prized Copper River Sockeye and king crab.

There’s another hot seafood trend hitting Alaska: poke. This dish, which originated in Hawaii, consists of cubed raw, marinated fish. It’s typically served on rice, but as the dish has migrated around the United States, its bedding has also changed to include for fresh local vegetables. In Alaska, this dish is often made with wild Alaskan salmon.

New Zealand

The Kiwis take their food very seriously. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that its capital Wellington has more restaurants per capital than New York City.

What should you try while in New Zealand?  One local favorite is whitebait, especially the whitebait fritter in which these small fish are cooked whole in a light batter. And you’ll definitely want to try New Zealand’s wonderful shellfish selection, including the tuatua and bluff oysters.

No matter where your cruise takes you, the seafood scene is bursting with flavors around the world and on board.