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As expected, The Bahamas is a wonderland for the seafood lover, but that is only the first stop on the remarkable culinary tour these islands have to offer, boasting West African, Caribbean and European influences all mixed together to mouthwatering and robustly flavored perfection. Forbes Travel Guide recommends these food experiences for the best taste of The Bahamas.
1. Conch. Pronounced ‘conk’, this is the absolute top seafood staple of The Bahamas, emerging from the iconic and beautifully large shells and served pretty much everywhere in a whole variety of ways: grilled, in salads, gumbos, as fritters or as a chowder (this latter form is a house favorite in many establishments). In late October (a lovely time to visit The Bahamas), catch the Annual Conch Festival, when local chefs compete with their most original conch dishes. Free samples as well as other culinary events and music make this a very popular foodie happening.
2. Nassau Grouper. A more classic fish getting its name from the Bahamian capital, dishes prepared with grouper are delicious and often prepared with local spices, or breaded and in a sandwich, like at The Prop Club at the Grand Lucayan in Freeport.
3. Spa food. The Bahamas are a great place to retreat and rebuild, and nowhere is better for that purpose than Paradise Island’s Sivananda Yoga Ashram. The center’s communally prepared lacto-vegetarian meals — served twice daily at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. — always offer a surprise dish of the day, often inspired by the flavors of India and always fresh and healthy. Make sure to take a beach or dockside yoga class beforehand to work up your appetite.
4. Crawfish. Known as ‘Bahamian Lobster’ but with no claws, crawfish (also called Spiny or Rock Lobster) is the largest food export of The Bahamas and is another near-permanent fixture on most beachside menus. One place with guaranteed scrumptious crawfish is the thoroughly popular Iries Restaurant, also located at the Grand Lucayan.
5. Native ‘Sugar Loaf’ Pineapple. At Pineapple Fields on Eleuthra Island, get your hands on the famously sweet and succulent pineapples known throughout The Bahamas, in season starting in June. The nickname ‘Sugar Loaf’ makes perfect sense when these large fruits arrive, sliced and served on a plate like a loaf of bread. Pineapples are delicious on their own of course, but also make the perfect accouterment to a tropical cocktail, avec umbrella.