The Bahamas is inarguably one of the most visited travel destinations in the Caribbean. The unspoiled nature, the beaches, and the dramatically hued waters are some of the things that attract people to the country – and its cuisine is another major draw for tourists. Here’s everything you need to know about food in the Bahamas!
Bahamian cuisine is a great example of a diverse culinary style. The locally found dishes are a mix of many influences, including notes from the southern American culinary style. The locals believe in spicing up their dishes to give them the quintessential Bahamian flavour.
Lobster, fish, shellfish, conch, crab, rice, tropical fruits, pork, and pigeon peas are some of the principal items of the local cuisine in the Bahamas.
Related Article: Legal Drinking Age + Must Try Alcoholic Beverages in the Bahamas!
Must-Try Food In The Bahamas
Travelling to The Bahamas? Here’s a comprehensive list of dishes/food to try out during your vacation!
1. Conch Salad
If you are feeling like eating something healthy but simple, the Bahamian conch salad should be your go-to dish. The delicious concoction includes uncooked conch, tomatoes, peppers, and onions, all spiced up with salt and pepper and marinated with lime and orange juice!
2. Bahamian Stew Fish
The type of fish used for Bahamian stew fish is usually snapper or grouper. The fish is pan-fried and tossed about in a sauce made with tomato, celery, spices, and onions; the sauce is red and thick.
3. Rock Lobsters
This is a unique variety of lobster found in the Bahamian waters. Unlike other types of lobster, rock lobster has no claws, and Bahamians love to prepare it in several different ways. Some love to eat broiled lobsters with a plate of mac and cheese.
Lobster quesadilla and lobster linguini are two other versions of rock lobster you can try while in the Bahamas.
4. Pigeon Peas and Rice
Usually eaten as a side dish, pigeon peas and rice is another delicious Bahamian dish you must try. The main ingredients include tomatoes, celery, pork, pigeon peas, thyme, and rice.
5. Baked Crab
One of the local favourites, baked crab is made with eggs, bed crumbs, and lots of seasoning. The crab shell is used to bake the meat.
This is one of the unusual dishes you will find in the Bahamas. Celery, pepper, carrots, lime juice, orange, meat, and bay leaves are the main ingredients of the dish. As for meat, you can choose anything from chicken to oxtail to pig’s feet to sheep’s tongue to pork.
Souse is a bit unconventional, but it’ll bring you a unique culinary experience.
7. Boiled Fish
Savour a bowl of boiled fish alongside johnny cakes or buttered grits on a windy and cold night on the Bahamian islands. Snapper and grouper are the types of fish used for the dish, and this is considered a comfort food!
8. Fried/Seared Fish
Fried grouper or snapper will make a delightful addition to your lunch or dinner. Bahamians like to coat the fish in a thick batter and then fry it. Fried fish is usually enjoyed with a side of salad and a bowl of rice or peas.
9. Bahamian Crawfish
Bahamians take full advantage of the abundant availability of seafood, so, there’s another variety of seafood for you to try. Bahamian crawfish is fried and then sauteed with bell peppers, onions, celery, tomato paste, pepper, and salt; this is best enjoyed with a bowl of white rice.
10. Conch Fritters
This is one of the most delightful food items you’ll taste in the Bahamas. Conch fritters are an excellent addition to your dinner or lunch, and they could also be a pre-meal snack!
The batter is made with chopped bell peppers, onion, conch, celery, salt, and pepper; the conch soaked in the batter is fried until it’s brown and makes its way to the dining table with a dipping sauce.
Lionfish make frequent appearances on restaurant menus in the Bahamas. The spine of the fish is removed, and then buttery meat is cooked in several different ways.
Make sure you sample lionfish tacos, one of the local favourites.
12. Conch Chowder
This is a great soup dish to have on a cold night. The soup base mainly includes tomato, and other ingredients include basil, thyme, garlic, crushed bell pepper, plum tomatoes, potatoes, and fennel.
All the ingredients along with conch meat are stewed until it gives off a scrumptiously Bahamian aroma. The dish is best enjoyed with bread or buns.
13. Steamed Chicken
You’ll find that the Bahamian steamed chicken is much different to every other version of chicken you’ve ever tasted. The chicken isn’t boiled, nor is it fried. It’s slightly braised with tomato sauce. You’ll find this delightful version of chicken at any street food stall in The Bahamas.
Bahamian Snacks And Side Dishes
Here’s a list of snacks and side dishes for you to sample on your Bahamian tour.
1. Bahamian Hot Patties
The perfect snack to have in your bag if you are doing a sightseeing tour, Bahamian hot patties are delightfully crunchy and come with a delicious filling. The filling is made of vegetables and minced beef, but you can skip the beef if you are a vegetarian.
2. Peas ‘n Rice
This is actually rice thrown in with pigeon peas. The dishes are made separately and mixed up with vegetables, salted pork or bacon, and fresh stock. You can find this literally anywhere in the Bahamas.
You can enjoy this as a snack, a dessert or for breakfast. Made of milk, flour, sugar, and baking powder, johnnycakes are a favourite with Bahamians. The usual way of savouring this is by slathering butter and jam all over the cake slice, but some people prefer to have this with stew or soup.
4. Baked Mac and Cheese
This is mac and cheese made the Caribbean way; the difference comes down to the seasoning of the dish. Baked mac and cheese in the Bahamas include green peppers, onions, lots of spices and herbs.
Mustard, milk, and eggs are also added; some versions include ketchup as well. Once the macaroni is baked, it’s cut into the shape of squares and served while still hot.
5. Potato Salad
The popularity of potato salad is indisputable. Vegetables and boiled eggs cut into tiny pieces are sometimes everything one needs!
The Bahamian potato salad is usually served with a BBQ meal, but you can enjoy the dish on its own if you wish.
6. Fried Plantains
If you are feeling like a sweet snack, go and buy a plate of fried plantains. They are not too firm and easy to bite into. Bahamians like to serve this with jerked meats, but they can be a standalone, regular meal.
There are two Bahamian dessert items you’ll never get enough of:
1. Guava Duff
One of the local favourites, Guava Duff is uniquely Bahamian. Diced guava rolled into a cake dough is the simple description of Guava Duff. This is a simple enough recipe, but getting the right dough consistency requires a bit of experience.
The cake is coated in rum sauce, which is the other ingredient that gives Guava Duff its unique flavour. Guava Cake is easily found in the Bahamas, and for the best experience, eat it while it’s still hot!
2. Rum Cake
This is the unofficial national dessert of the Bahamas. Rum is an ingredient used in many Bahamian recipes, and it’s only right that it’s used in a cake recipe. To make Rum Cake, the rum is poured all over the cake in copious amounts after the cake is baked and ready to eat.
This is especially popular during the holiday season.
Frequently Asked Questions On Bahamian Food
What Is The National Food Of The Bahamas?
The residents of the Bahamas have been gifted with an abundance of seafood, and quite naturally, the national food of the country is also a seafood variety – Conch, pronounced konk, is the national food of the Bahamas; this is a household staple.
What Do People In The Bahamas Eat For Breakfast?
A traditional Bahamian breakfast includes fire engine (steamed corned beef and vegetables) and grits, but there are several other dishes Bahamians like to eat for breakfast. The list includes souse, cracked conch, conch fritters, conch salad, conch chowder, boiled fish, fried fish, and Bahamian hot patties.
Is Food In The Bahamas Safe?
Yes, food is generally safe in the Bahamas. But exercise caution when buying food from street food joints.
What Should I Avoid In The Bahamas?
It’s always best to avoid tap water when you are in a foreign country, especially if you are prone to digestive problems. Most food items in the Bahamas are safe, but as previously mentioned, exercise caution when buying salads from street food stalls.
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