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No Bahamas dining experience would be complete without sampling conch, the country’s unofficial national fish. This sea snail has a mild flavour and firm texture comparable to calamari and it’s prepared in a variety of different ways in the Bahamas.
You might try conch fritters (deep-fried dough balls filled with chunks of conch) or conch salad (a tangy dish similar to ceviche).
Peas ‘n’ rice is a common side dish served at restaurants in the Bahamas, and is made with a mix of white rice, pigeon peas, salt pork, tomatoes, thyme and a range of other possible ingredients.
You’ll also see side dishes of mac ‘n’ cheese, a decadent combination of macaroni noodles baked in cream, butter, and cheese, and johnnycakes – thick, pan-cooked bread that is often served alongside soups and stews in the Bahamas.
For dessert, try guava duff. It’s made with guava fruit and sweet dough and topped with rum or brandy sauce.
And for drinks, try the national drink of the Bahamas incorporated into distinctive rum-based cocktails such as Goombay Smash and Bahama Mama. Or wash down your meals with Bahamian beers Kalik and Sands, which are available at most restaurants.
The Out Islands are some of the best places for food in the Bahamas, with the limited influence from international tourists creating the conditions for local cuisine to be refined to perfection.
Try the Wrecking Tree (New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay), a down-to-earth restaurant built around a huge tree where 19th-century wreckers sought shade as they searched through their salvage. Or sit on the open-air deck at Mangoes (Marsh Harbour, Abaco), one of the top Bahamas restaurants for waterfront dining.
On New Providence Island, Dino’s Gourmet Conch Salad (Gambier Village, West Bay St, Nassau) is one of the best Bahamas dining bets. This roadside eatery specialises in ‘tropical’ conch salad made with apple, pineapple and mango. You can also try authentic Bahamian fare at one of the cheerful seafood shacks at Arawak Cay.