Heading to The Bahamas for your next vacation? Pack your sunscreen and your appetite. I’m giving you 10 delicious Bahamian foods to try on your next trip.
Bahamian food is some of the most unique and delicious cuisine not only in the Caribbean, but the world. But, still few people know about the many delicacies we offer. Not only are Bahamians skilled when it comes to making yummy food, but they’re also incredibly creative.
Here are some of my faves that you need to try. Don’t let some of the exotic foods on this list scare you. They are divine.
1. Sheep Tongue Souse. It’s Hands Down One Of The Most Exotic Bahamian Foods To Try While In The Islands
I know what you’re thinking. Sheep tongue! No way! But, before you scurry off my blog, hear me out. Souse (rhymes with house), is one of the greatest tasting broths you will ever lay your taste buds on. It has the right amount of heat, thanks to the goat peppers (habaneros) and flavour, thanks to to the limes, bay leaf and seasonings.
Sheep tongue is a wonderful delicacy, and it ain’t cheap. For those who have never had it before, you will be blown away. It melts on your tongue. It has a nice chewy consistency, but it’s not rubbery. It’s not slimy or off-putting. In fact, people fall in love with this souse until they learn what it is.
It’s typically served with either grits or my favourite, Johnny Cake. For those who don’t know what Johnny Cake is, imagine that a pound cake and cornbread had a baby. That’s Johnny Cake.
If you’re looking to try something new with tons of flavour, get some sheep tongue souse with a slice of Johnny Cake on your next visit.
2. Crab N’ Dough: Bahamian Food At Its Finest
This is one of my all-time favourites. I’ve been enjoying this meal since I was a child. My maternal grandparents were from Andros, The Bahamas’ largest island. It’s also famous for its abundant supply of land crabs.
The live crabs are cleaned thoroughly and boiled in a pot with a little water. A thick, but flat piece of dough is then placed on top of the crabs to steam as the crabs boil. This is a meal in its rawest form. There are no additional seasonings. Once the crabs are done, they are removed from the pot, placed on a plate. You open up the crab’s back, take the dough and stick it in the crab’s fat. You finish off the crab by opening the biters and eating the succulent meat. It’s delicious.
A bit of warning: if you drink water after eating crab it will taste very very bitter. So, just be prepared.
3. Fire Engine: A Cheap And Easy Meal For Dinner
Fire engine, as it’s known among the locals, is simply corned beef and white rice. This is an inexpensive, yet tasty meal that Bahamians typically eat throughout the week for supper. Don’t think of the corned beef that’s typically used for deli sandwiches. This is the minced meat that almost resembles Spam.
It’s a flavourful concoction that’s stewed in onions, green peppers, thyme, ketchup or tomato paste. It’s a quick meal to throw together when you want an inexpensive home-cooked meal.
You’ll have to go to a local restaurant to find it because many of the big name hotels don’t think the tourists will enjoy this meal. But, they are wrong. It is the quintessential supper in Bahamian households.
4. Baked Crab
Another one of my faves. It doesn’t come any better than baked crabs. Again, a lot of my family hails from Andros, so this was a food staple in my life. Again, these are land crabs and they are very tasty. They are boiled, the meat is extracted from the crabs, seasoned with onions, green peppers, celery, thyme to name a few and packed back into the crab’s shell and baked in the oven.
The end result is to die for. I often enjoy baked crabs with a nice side salad. A word of caution: watch out for tiny fragments of the exoskeleton. Expert pickers know how to get the meat out without any fragments. Novices, however, will leave some in there. There’s nothing worse than biting into some baked crabs only to bite into a hard fragment.
5. Tuna Fish And Grits: A Simple Bahamian Breakfast
Tuna salad and grits are to Bahamians what bacon and eggs are to Americans. They’re a staple and they’re typical breakfast fare.
Bahamians love tuna salad and grits. You can find this meal at most local eateries that serve Bahamian cuisine. Bahamians love spice, even for breakfast.
Our tuna salads aren’t prepared with relish, instead, we go heavy on the onions, lime juice and hot peppers. It’s the best way to wake up.
6. Conch Fritters: Golden, Yummy Goodness
Conch fritters are a delicious appetiser that you will find on most Bahamian restaurant menus. It’s a fluffy, conchy fritter filled with hot peppers, onions, thyme and green peppers that’s deep fried to a golden hue. As you can probably tell by now, Bahamians don’t stray when it comes to their base ingredients.
Fritters are often served along with a sweet dipping sauce. Make sure to ask for extra.
7. Crab N’ Rice
Ok, so by now, I bet you realise that there are a lot of crab suggestions on this blog. But, that’s only because it’s so damned tasty.
There’s actually a running joke among Bahamians that all Bahamian dads ever get for Father’s Day is a pot of crab n’ rice. I’m not gonna lie, mummies get treated way better in The Bahamas. But, the dads don’t mind because crab n’ rice is absolutely delicious. Crabs aren’t always in season. But, if you come in the summer months, especially August, you’ll be able to find it on the menu.
8. Baked Macaroni
Bahamians are serious about their baked macaroni. I have family members who secretly compete when it comes to making macaroni. Our macaroni isn’t like those that you find in other places. Again, we incorporate onions and green peppers in our macaroni and bake it until it’s firm. We then cut it into squares and serve it up.
You’d be hard-pressed to find any Bahamian family cooking Sunday dinner without macaroni on the menu. It’s a mainstay.
9. Guava Duff
This is my all time favourite Bahamian dessert – one that’s sure to satisfy any sweet-toothed cravings you have. Guava duff resembles a pinwheel cake, but tastes way better.
It’s a fluffy dessert that’s filled with chunks of juicy guava pieces. It’s then covered with a buttery rum sauce. Lord, have mercy. My mouth is watering just thinking about this. But, here’s the thing: you have to find someone who really knows how to make guava duff. Some people’s guava duffs are simply too heavy without enough rum sauce. Please put this on your list of must-try foods.
10. Coconut Tart
Oftentimes, when talking about Bahamian foods to try, we focus simply on the savoury stuff. But, we have a wide variety of desserts that people need to try. One such dessert is the coconut tart. This is an old school dessert, whose centre is the star. The juicy coconut filling is first caramelised on the stove before being placed inside of the dough and baked.
This is a wonderful treat on its own or with a scoop of coconut ice cream. Thank me later.
After all of this food, you’re going to need to work it all off. If you’re heading to Nassau, be sure to check out this list of things to do.
This Bahamian Gyal