Although virtually any type of
international food can be found in The Islands Of The Bahamas, it would
be a mistake to miss an opportunity to sample the local
matter where you are, you won't have any difficulty finding plenty of
restaurants serving Bahamian cuisine and fresh local seafood at
Seafood is the staple of the Bahamian diet. Conch
(pronounced "konk") is a large type of ocean mollusk that has
firm, white, peach-fringed meat. Fresh, uncooked conch is delicious; the
conch meat is scored with a knife, and lime juice and spices are
sprinkled over the meat. It can also be deep-fried (called "cracked
conch"), steamed, added to soups, salads and stews or made into
conch chowder and conch fritters. It is
known for its alleged aphrodisiac properties. The
Bahamian "rock lobster" is a spiny variety without claws that
is served broiled, minced or used in salads. Other delicacies include
boiled or baked land crabs, which can be seen, before they are cooked,
running across the roads after dark.
Fresh fish also plays a major role in the cooking of
The Islands Of The Bahamas -- a popular brunch is boiled fish served
with grits, and when done right, is often the most flavourful way to
enjoy the taste of a fresh catch. Stew fish, made with celery, onions,
tomatoes and various spices, is another local specialty. Many dishes are
accompanied by pigeon peas and rice (the infamous peas 'n' rice served
throughout the Caribbean), with spices, tomatoes and onions.
Another main ingredient in Bahamian fare is
dessert is not quite Bahamian unless the sweet taste of the coconut is
added! Coconut trees are in abundance in the Bahamas and coconuts are a
common ingredient in Bahamian dishes especially desserts.
Coconut can be found in
tarts, cakes, pies, pudding, trifle, custard and ice cream and sometimes
shredded on top of almost anything! Coconuts are available
year-round. They are usually found in grocery stores and at fruit stands
with the outer ‘husk’ removed. The hairy brown shell (size of a
large grapefruit) is lined with ‘meat’ and contains juice (termed
coconut water or milk). To get the juice out without spilling, you can
tap a screwdriver into one of the soft round spots on the end of the
coconut and drain it into a glass.
Peas also figure prominently in the wide array of
fragrant Bahamian soups -- pea soup with dumplings and salt beef and the
familiar split pea and ham soup are just two of the many pea-based
broths. One soup unique to the Caribbean and Bahamas is the souse
(pronounced "sowse") -- the only ingredients are water,
onions, lime juice, celery, peppers and meat; no thickeners are added.
The meat added to a souse is often chicken, sheep's tongue, oxtail or
pigs' feet -- giving the souse a delicious, rich flavor, new to many
The cuisine of The Islands Of The Bahamas is never,
ever bland. Spicy, subtly and
uniquely flavored with local meats and
produce, more than any other cuisine in the West Indies, Bahamian
cooking has been influenced by the American South. One very popular
example of this influence is the "fish 'n' grits" mentioned
For a late breakfast or early anything ask our friendly
conchmonger to ‘scorch’ (Bahamian word for score) a fresh
conch. Needed in this concoction is a squeeze of lime, slices of onion and the all important fire-hot
Bahamian bird pepper. The whole mixture is then eaten out of a plastic bag and washed down with soda or beer. A truly Bahamian treat!
Try and enjoy any one of these recipes for a taste of
the Bahamas! 'Ya Mon' Be sure to stock up on hot sauce, Bahamians
love hot & spicy food!!
Where conch is not available you can substitute lobster. Thanks to
Andy Lee for the great tip!!