A lot of traditional Bahamian cuisine is based on seafood which you would expect as conch, crab, grouper and lobster all feature heavily. While some of the seafood is fried, it can appear in salads, chowder, stews, and even boiled.
There is plenty of flavor to discover in many of these dishes, some of that comes from spices and peppers though limes turn up in several dishes too. You may even discover that Bahamians have their own take on curry chicken as well as Mac and Cheese.
There may be some dishes that are not for the faint of heart as they involve pig feet and sheep tongue yet they are still worth trying. As well as detailing 25 traditional and tasty Bahamian foods, we will also include a section dedicated to Bahamian cocktails.
1. Conch Salad
Yes, Conch Salad contains raw seafood and is one of the most refreshing dishes to be found in the Bahamas and across the Caribbean.
This may be served as a side dish or as an appetizer and includes tenderized conch meat which is mixed up with diced tomato, green and red bell peppers, sweet onion, and a habanero pepper.
A lot of the refreshment comes from freshly squeezed orange and lime juice which is poured over at the end before the salad is chilled.
Another way of serving conch is as a chowder for a hearty meal. You can expect a deep flavor from clam juice, white wine, fish sauce, and hot sauce.
There is a pound of conch yet also celery, carrots, half a fennel bulb, a bell pepper, a jalapeño pepper and potato. Lime juice is also added right at the end of the cooking here too to add a freshness to the dish.
3. Conch Stew
A Conch Stew may be far simpler to create, and there are certainly fewer ingredients to deal with. The conch meat is tenderized first then mixed with flour and cooked until browned.
In a pan, the conch is added to water, potatoes, salt, and pepper then served once the potatoes are fork-tender.
Cracked conch is a delicious snack that can be really simple to make. Clean and tenderize the conch meat then slice it into strips. Coat the strips in an egg wash of beaten eggs with salt, pepper, and milk making sure all of the strips are evenly coated.
Next, roll the strips in flour and fry in hot oil until golden brown then remove and leave to dry on paper towels before squeezing on lime juice.
Another way of serving conch is simply to tenderize the seafood to a quarter-inch thickness.
You can create the batter by whisking together baking powder, flour, curry powder, salt, and pepper then adding to the seafood with minced celery and scotch bonnet pepper. To create a viscous batter, club soda and beer are added.
Fry the fritters until golden brown and then serve with an aioli of lime zest, lime juice, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and salt.
Yes, Bahamians have their own take on Mac and Cheese which has a heat from paprika and a scotch bonnet pepper. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, evaporated milk, then add onions, peppers, salt, and pepper.
Fold in grated Cheddar cheese and cook the elbow macaroni to al dente. Add the pasta to a baking dish with the egg mixture, paprika, and even more cheese to bake until bubbling.
The Bahamas also have their own take on curry chicken which is not too far away from a regular curry. There are a few tweaks, namely Russet potato pieces, carrots, and thyme sprigs.
Aside from that, chicken is marinated for a deep flavor then seared. The chicken is cooked in chicken broth and then reduced until cooked while the carrots and potatoes are tender.
Another traditional Bahamian recipe is Steamed Chicken which is a tomato-based dish. This is a spicy dish but, when cooked well, the chicken should just fall off the bone.
The gravy for the dish is made from ketchup and chicken broth before thyme sprigs, a bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, a Scotch bonnet pepper, and Italian seasoning is added.
The trick is the next stage where the dish is cooked with a lid that is slightly ajar allowing the release of steam and perfectly cooking the chicken.
Make sure that you serve Chicken Souse with Johnny Cakes though you can vary the taste with hot pepper and lime. The dish comprises of chicken wings which are tossed in lime juice and seasoned salt then left to marinade.
Onion and green pepper are softened and then the bulk of the dish is added. Thar includes carrots, potatoes, allspice, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, more lime juice, water, and those chicken wings which are mixed to combine.
10. Pig Feet Souse
Pig Feet Souse can be a little harder to create as the key ingredient is so difficult to source. The meat is still washed with water and lime juice then coated with garlic, green seasoning, minced onion, and seasoning peppers.
Once the meat is falling off the bone after being cooked in water it is drained, left to cool and marinade with more green seasoning, seasoning peppers, onion slices, cucumber, lime juice, and chadon beni leaves.
The dish is simply left for an hour for the flavors to develop and then served.
If you can make souse from pig feet, then you can make it from sheep tongue too. This is a pretty similar recipe too as the sheep tongue is cleaned then combined with water, sliced onion, allspice, and bay leaves to bring to a boil.
Diced potatoes, carrots, hot pepper, salt, and plenty of lime juice are then added. The dish is then boiled back up and reduced until the vegetables are cooked.
No pigeons are involved in the recipe as it is pigeon peas that are the star ingredient. Fry off diced onion, red peppers, and salt with rice until it is lightly toasted then add tomato paste while stirring.
Next, add cumin, oregano, corn, tomatoes, chicken broth, water, and those pigeon peas to bring to a boil then reduce until the rice is tender. Fluff it all up, add cooked bacon and garnish with scallions.
13. Lobster Tails
With an abundance of available seafood in the Bahamas, you can expect lobster to feature on several menus. A traditional way of serving it is to cut the tails lengthwise then the meat is brushed with melted butter and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
The tails are then grilled to create char marks then flipped onto the other side to cook for a few seconds before serving.
For a hearty, tasty Bahamian recipe, look no further than this chicken stew. Even before cooking, the chicken is rinsed with water and white vinegar then red wine vinegar is poured over.
Even though the chicken is the star ingredient, it does have to compete with fire-roasted diced tomatoes, Caribbean sweet potato, a cassava, and yellow plantain. Right at the end, a lime is squeezed over for this typical Bahamian dish.
Another Bahamian seafood dish is Baked Stuffed Crab which is normally served as an appetizer. You will need Dungeness crab meat which is taken out and cooked with butter, breadcrumbs, bell peppers, onions, lemon juice, and thyme.
Once cooked, the mixture is added back to the shells and then baked until just lightly browned. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is then added to add a bit of tang to the dish.
Yes, it may have a slightly daft name yet Chicken In Da Bag is a quintessentially Bahamian dish that is so easy to cook but does take a fair amount of preparation.
Par cook potatoes then allow them to cool while you create seasoning from BBQ rub, salt, and thyme. In a bowl, mix together the potatoes with corn pieces, shelled and deveined prawns, cheese sausages, and cherry tomatoes.
Drizzle olive oil over all the ingredients then add the seasoning and leave around a teaspoon remaining. Make sure that all the ingredients are covered and then season the chicken thighs with the rest of the seasoning.
Pan-fry the chicken thighs until the skin has browned then place all of the components on a foil sheet, topped with butter and more thyme and ensure it is all wrapped up tightly.
Bake until the potatoes are soft and the chicken is completely cooked through.
17. Crab And Rice
Another way of cooking crab in the Bahamas is to combine the meat with rice. It is important to clean the crabs first and you may want to ask a seller to do it for you as it can be a time-consuming process.
First, onions, thyme, green bell pepper, bay leaves, garlic, goat pepper, salt, and pepper are sautéed. The crab meat is then added and cooked with tomato paste, diced tomatoes, pigeon peas, and rice until the liquid has been absorbed.
18. Boiled Fish
Boiled Fish may sound a little bland but in the Bahamas the dish is anything but. Flaky fish is simmered in a tasty broth made from a Scotch Bonnet pepper, cooked bacon, plenty of lime juice, onions, and potatoes.
Once the potatoes are cooked, the dish is ready to serve as a great example of Bahamian comfort food.
19. Grouper Fingers
Another way of serving fish is to create Grouper Fingers from grouper fillets. The fish fillets are rinsed then dried though you should check for bones too before chopping up.
Let the pieces marinade in a Ziploc bag with hot sauce and buttermilk then dredge in a mixture of cornmeal, Creole seasoning, flour, and salt. Let the fish fillets rest and then fry in hot oil until crispy and serve while it is still warm.
20. Pineapple Tart
There are typically two tropical tarts on offer in the Bahamas and the first one is a Pineapple Tart. The soft pastry crust is derived from flour mixed with baking powder, sugar, and salt before an egg, cream, and margarine are added to create a dough.
Meanwhile, simmer together pineapple and sugar then pour into the pastry crust. You will need a lattice topping too from half-inch strips of pastry dough placed in a crisscross pattern before the tart is baked until golden brown.
21. Coconut Tart
You can expect to find Coconut Tart as one of those staple desserts in the Bahamas. Of course, you will need a sweet dough from shortening which is combined with butter, sugar, vanilla extract, an egg, baking powder, flour, milk, and water.
The filling may be a little tricky as you need to find a fresh coconut and then finely grate it and combine with water, sugar, nutmeg, and more vanilla extract.
Transfer the filling to the pastry dish and then cover with the remaining dough and bake until golden brown.
22. Benny Cake
Benny Cakes may look quite simple and you only need four ingredients. The Benny Seeds (sesame seeds) are toasted while being stirred so that they do not burn.
Add sugar then dilute with water to cook beyond the syrup stage before returning to the pan and allowing to cool. After a while, the mixture will simply become candy and you may have to be patient, maybe even waiting overnight.
23. Johnny Cakes
Johnny Cakes may look like pancakes but they are a Bahamian tradition. Combine salt, cornmeal, and sugar in a boil then pour in boiling water while whisking for a smooth batter. Add butter until it melts then allow to rest and heat up the frying pan.
Pour quarter-cup scoops into the pan and fry until the edges have just browned then flip and serve with maple syrup, apple sauce, or butter.
24. Guava Duff
Guava Duff may well be the national dessert of the Bahamas and a typical recipe uses 12 peeled guavas.
These guavas are diced and simmered with water, sugar, allspice, and cinnamon while a dough is formed from salt, baking powder, flour, and shortening.
The trick for the dessert comes in how the dough is rolled out and spiraled around the fruit then sealed before being boiled. Once cooked, these go really well with a rum or brandy butter.
25. Rum Cake
As you may imagine, Bahamians use rum in their cocktails and they use it in their baking too. You will need a Bundt tin for this dessert which is a heady mix of egg yolks, rum, and buttermilk with some typical pantry ingredients.
That should create a really moist sponge yet the best bit is yet to come. A sauce of butter, water, pineapple juice, white sugar, and even more rum is poured over.
Bonus Section: Rum-Based Bahamian Drinks
As well as some delicious main meals and desserts, Bahamians know how to create delicious cocktails too, mainly with rum. Of course, many of them involve rum including the Goombay Smash, The Yellow Bird, and the Bahama Mama.
Though it may sound like a fight move, a Goombay Smash is worth savoring. Two rums are used which include an ounce each of Jamaican aged blended rum and Koko Kanu coconut rum.
Both are shaken in an ice-filled cocktail shaker with half an ounce of De Kuyper Apricot Brandy, one and a half ounces of pineapple juice, two dashes of Angostura bitters, an ounce of freshly squeezed orange juice and a third of an ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice. Pour the mixture into an ice-filled glass and enjoy.
You should expect a couple of rums to be used in a Bahamian cocktail and that is certainly the case for The Yellow Bird.
Half of a fresh lime is squeezed into a cocktail shaker with ice which is then followed by one and a quarter ounce of orange juice, an ounce each of light and dark rum, and a quarter-ounce of Galliano L’Autentico liqueur.
Strain into a tall glass and garnish with a fresh sprig of mint and a Maraschino cherry.
3. Bahama Mama
The Bahama Mama may well be one of the most popular drinks across the Bahamas. In total, there are three different types of rum which you may expect.
Half an ounce each of 151-proof rum, dark rum, and light rum, is shaken together with coffee-flavored liqueur, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and pineapple juice.
The cocktail is then strained into a well-chilled glass which is filled with crushed ice. Garnish one with a wedge of pineapple, a slice of orange, or a Maraschino cherry.
Can I Find Bahamian Fair Food Recipes in the 25+ Delicious And Easy-To-Make Fair Food Recipes To Make At Home?
Yes, you can find Bahamian fair food recipes in the 25+ Delicious And Easy-To-Make Fair Food Recipes To Make At Home. This collection of recipes includes a wide range of mouthwatering dishes that you can prepare in the comfort of your own kitchen. So, if you’re craving delicious fair food recipes at home, this is the perfect resource for you.
Do any of the Roasted Red Pepper Recipes feature Bahamian ingredients or flavors?
The roasted red pepper recipe collection offers a variety of flavors, but it does not specifically feature Bahamian ingredients. This collection focuses on showcasing the vibrant taste of roasted red peppers in various dishes, including soups, dips, and pastas. Explore the assortment to elevate your culinary creations with the deliciousness of roasted red peppers.
There is a lot to enjoy with Bahamian cooking as there are so many different flavors at work. From citrus juices to spices, you can expect some bursts of flavor combinations to get your taste buds going.
Various textures are also important to consider too as many foodstuffs are fried including fritters, Johnny Cakes, and fish. Try to make sure you have a good bottle of rum at hand too as it is included in several food recipes, as well as in their cocktails.
Frequently Asked Questions
Conch is a Bahamian specialty and known as the national food of the islands. It can be likened to calamari as it is a firm and white variety of seafood with a chewy texture.
The seafood can be cooked in a variety of ways including deep-fried, steamed, or served raw with lime juice and vegetables.
In the Bahamas, you can expect to find macaroni served as a side dish. You should also find seafood as well as peas and rice.