Conch is one of the staple ingredients in traditional Bahamian cuisine. One of the lighter Bahamian foods, Conch salad is a dish that you will find throughout the islands. Usually comprised of bell pepper, onion, tomato, raw conch, citrus fruits and local spices. the dish is fragrant and extremely tasty.
The explosion of citrus and hot pepper flavours along with freshly diced veggies and tasty white conch meat are what make every spoonful of this local delicacy delightful to both the eye and palate. Possibly the most quintessential dish of these islands, conch salad serves as both a reliable comfort food and a form of edible artwork. It’s also colourfully designed!
Similar to fried calamari, Cracked Conch is fried conch. There are no spices or pepper to overwhelm the conchs flavour. It is a dish that is craved by Bahamians who have left the country. You can find cracked conch in almost all Bahamian restaurants, up market or local mom and pop eateries.
Conch is a staple food in the Bahamas, and when it comes to cracked Conch, Bahamians take it seriously! You need to have it frequently, and it can’t be from any restaurant. You have to get a conch snack from your favourite place.
Paired with a “calypso” sauce, these fritters are an appetiser or sharing food that are unique to the Bahamas. Unlike the other conch dishes, there are ingredients which mask the conch flavour. So if you are not a fan of fish, Conch fritters are a great place to start!
Since the conch is a type of snail, the meat comes hidden inside a large, thick shell that can be time-consuming or difficult to penetrate. It takes a lot of effort to retrieve a fairly small amount of meat. Conch fritters suspend pieces of conch meat in a batter, along with chopped vegetables, so a little bit of meat goes a long way.
Bahamian Spiny Lobster
These Crustaceans can only be caught during August 1st and March 31st, so be sure to make the most of your Holiday and try and catch some yourself! The best way to catch and cook these ocean critters is to Spear them. They can be found around Nassau, but tend to be over fished. Try the Berry Islands or the Exumas to find the bigger crawfish!
There are different ways to prepare Bahamian Lobster such as grilling, stewing, and Boiling. The texture of Bahamian crawfish is different to the Lobster you find in restaurants around the world. Its a little tougher and has a different taste, but it is definitely something you have to try when you are here. Hauling in crawfish after a spearing trip is an experience we want our guests to enjoy.
The best way to prepare a large amount of Crawfish after a spearing trip is to BBQ them and garnish with butter and lemon, and share with friends!
Chicken souse/sheep tongue
A more traditional Bahamian dish is “Souse”, something which every Bahamian remembers from their childhood. The taste will vary depending on the quality of ingredients but the key ingredients to a good souse is lime, allspice, and bay. The dish has a unique flavour but is similar to a traditional chicken soup. Souse is usually paired with chicken however can also be paired with more unique meats such as sheep tongue!
Crab and Rice
Another traditional Bahamian dish, Crabb ad Rice is a family favourite throughout the islands. Every summer, red and black land crabs start to pop up everywhere! Children flood to the streets to catch the critters and bring them home. The overabundance of these land crabs has created all sorts of crab recipes. Fisherman begin to sell these crabs at local markets and the smell of Crab and Rice permeates the air.
Similar to Peas n Rice, Crab ad Rice is the addition of Crab fat, shell, and meat, which adds more texture to peas n Rice. Crab and Rice has been perfected in the Bahamas, however it comes from somewhere else. The recipe was brought over by African American Slaves, from the Gullah region of Southern American States. Other Caribbean Islands with Gullah influences, such as Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica also share this culinary-likeness and utilise black and red land crabs in local dishes such as Crab and Callaloo and Crab Dumplings.
When you think of breakfast, you probably imagine eggs, bacon, or cereal. For Bahamians, stew fish is is seen as one of the comforting morning meals that we grew up on. Mostly Savoury, Bahamian breakfasts consist of boiled fish, stew fish, Tuna & Grits, and Sheep Tongue Souse. Similar to Louisiana and Eastern Cuba, the Bahamas welcomed Creole immigrants after the Haitian Revolution who brought their culture, belief systems and cuisine to the islands.
Stew Fish is similar to New Orleans Gumbo, as it shares roots with the creole influence. Using Turbot, Bahamians have fused a classic French cooking style with the African Roots which have influenced other dishes. This savoury breakfast may sound familiar, but it is worth trying, as it is also a Bahamian staple.
Peas & Rice
The perfect side dish to go with any food. Peas n Rice is a simple but integral part of Bahamian cuisine. This simple yet fantastic dish is eaten at lunch, dinner, or both! it is arguably the one dish that you have to try when you visit the Bahamas. Conch Salad, Conch Fritters and Peas n Rice are integral to both Bahamian culture and tourist culture!
A bread which can be compared to corn bread, it is paired with savoury soups or stews. Typically found along side chicken souse, this sweet bread is the perfect paring for sharp flavours.
Although Johnny cake has a sweet flavour, it is not classed as a dessert. In fact, it’s actually more comparable to a bread, albeit not typically as light, airy or savoury as most varieties. Made with a few ingredients, namely: flour, milk, butter, sugar and baking powder, Johnny Cake in The Bahamas is traditionally baked in a large round pan until lightly browned, then sliced and served in wedges.
The Guava is one of the few indigenous fruits to the Bahamas. If you’re searching for them, you can often find guavas at farmers markets in Nassau or growing organically in public parks, on residential properties, or road-side. Guava duff combines the fruit and a sweet dough, which is paired with a brandy butter sauce. The recipe also requires a unique cooking method of steaming the dough. This results in a dessert which is similar to bread and butter pudding, but arguably better!
Fire engine is a traditional Bahamian Breakfast. Consisting of Corned Beef and various vegetables. This is usually served with white rice or grits