The Bahamas is an archipelago of beautiful coral islands in the Atlantic and a popular tourist destination. While you are there, take out time to try the exotic cuisine which is a curious mix of Latin American and Caribbean food. The cost of Bahamian food is really reasonable, meaning you can try the best dishes without having to spend too much.
10 Bahamian Food Items To Try On Your Vacation
Known for its heavenly beaches and wonderful people, the islands are a true tropical retreat for tourists, including foodies. Read on to know all about all the Bahamian food items that should be on your list:
1. Cracked Conch
Conch, pronounced konks, are an indelible part of the Bahamian culture. You will find these shells on the beaches and listen to the mystical sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks. Not only are they a tourist experience, these conchs make for great dishes. The most popular ones are cracked conchs, and the fried meat is either served in Creole sauce or with traditional Bahamian herbs. For any food explorer, these are a must.
2. Conch Salad
Conch meat is an essential part of several Bahamas fast food preparations, but nowhere is it better complemented than in salads. Interestingly, in most of these dishes, the conch is not cooked at all to preserve taste and softness. While tomatoes, bell peppers, and lettuce are essential companions, watch out for the citrus sauces and peppers. The citrus is essentially what “cooks” the meat in a fascinating process called denaturation.
3. Rock Lobsters
Rock lobsters are a trademark food item of the Bahamas. Also known as spiny lobsters, they are also exported from the archipelago. Rock lobsters are usually boiled or steamed and served as standalone dishes or in salads. Creole sauce is a common accompaniment, but there are several different versions of rock lobsters on the islands. Creamy grits are also one of the most popular side dishes.
4. Fish Soup
An integral part of the Bahamian food culture, this is every seafood lover’s dream and one of the most popular foods in Bahamas. Made with the fish of your choice and usually combined with veggies such as celery, onions, tomatoes, along with some lemon juice, sherry and dark rum, the soups are quite a treat for your taste buds. Also, you may be able to find turtle soup but after the sea turtles were placed on the list of endangered species, this dish has become rare.
5. Bahamian Fish Stew
This delicious Bahamian specialty is available in all the restaurants and is often regarded as the best food in Bahamas. The fish stew made here stands out from elsewhere because of the use of roux, which is a preparation of flour and fat that is used to thicken sauces, usually made with onion and tomatoes. Carrying just a hint of the taste of the Caribbean, it is important to get fresh fish to go along with the stew, and most restaurants in Nassau serve freshly caught snapper.
Kind of like the cornbread that is popular in Latin America, Johnnycakes are the signature Bahamian breads that you will encounter quite a lot during your tropical sojourn. The bread is quite a representation of the ethos of the Bahamian people and is usually made with milk, flour, butter as well as sugar. Usually served with curries as well as fish stews, this delicious side adds a certain flavor to your meals. This makes it a unique experiece that you must have in the Bahamas.
7. Pigeon Peas and Rice
No list of the Bahamian dishes is complete without a mention of this dish made from chicken and pork, as well as veggies such as celery, tomatoes in thyme in combination with pigeon peas, which are the national beans of the archipelago. The unofficial Bahamas national food, the broth is made of coconut, and the fairly simple dish is yum especially when coupled with fish stew or pork chops or just plain chicken. To get a real taste of Caribbean cuisine along with the freshness of a great fish, this is a must.
Pronounced sowse in the local language, this is a Bahamas traditional food. Usually made by combining fresh onions, celery, potatoes, bay leaves, lime juice as well as potatoes and peppers along with meat, this dish is often the standout serving at restaurants in the archipelago. While the meat is usually chicken, you can also opt for stuff such as oxtail, sheep’s tongue and pig’s feet at several places. While they may sound not so savory, by all accounts, they are quite tasty.
9. The Yellow Bird
This popular fruity Caribbean cocktail is quite the fixture on Caribbean cruises, but it is in the Bahamas that you actually get a taste of the good rum that has been permanently borrowed from Jamaica. It may not have been first made here, but rum is the national alcohol of these islands, the Yellow in the name coming from the obviously yellow fluorescent color of the drink. Besides the rum, the cocktail has orange as well as pineapple juice, apricot brandy and banana liquor.
10. Guava Duff
This best of Bahamian desserts is just something that you just can not miss. Made by combining ripe guava with a sweet dough and then adding some butter sauce that has a dash of rum or brandy in it, the guava duff is the perfect sweet side to have on a special occasion or on a night out. If you are looking for local food in Nassau, Bahamas, be sure to try the guava duff at several places in the city. We assure you, it will truly be worth the while.
These dishes are representative of Bahamian food, and you must try them if you are visiting the islands and want to experience the culture beyond the beaches and the music. So don’t wait around and look for that perfect Bahamian itinerary for an extraordinary vacay!