You simply can’t come to the Caribbean and leave without trying conch. It's a Caribbean food that may seem bizarre to travelers, but it's actually quite common.
The savory sea snail (pronounced “conk” and never “consh”) thrives in Caribbean waters, particularly in the warm shallows surrounding the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Here especially, the pink-lipped mollusk is the star of local menus and served several scrumptious ways.
Try it “cracked” (battered and fried); curried; in a filling white chowder; or dusted with seasoned flour as fresh-from-the-fryer fritters. But the traditional way to eat conch is as conch salad, a ceviche-type dish made with raw conch, citrus juices and onions, tomatoes and sweet peppers.
Getting to this barefoot-casual restaurant and bar on Stocking Island – a scenic five-minute boat ride from George Town, Great Exuma – is half the fun. The other half: their specialty conch salad, made with ruby-red locally grown tomatoes and orange juice instead of lime.
They’ve been serving a conch-ed out menu for decades at this beachfront restaurant on Provo, where the gastropods are kept steps from the kitchen in an open-ocean pen, guaranteeing the freshest fare. Dig your toes into the sand and your teeth into a bowl of conch fritters and then feel your hunger dissipate with every piping-hot mouthful.
The island of Bimini is famous for its bread but it should be equally known for Joe’s, where the conch is always super-fresh and his homemade goat pepper hot sauce packs a punch!
Like shrimp and lobster, conch is easily overcooked. But the chefs at this busy restaurant at Nassau’s Arawak Cay (also known as the Fish Fry) know how to cook it just right, serving up tender, never rubbery conch in a variety of delicious iterations (our fave: the cracked conch).
travelers know that if you want to find good local food, you ask a cab driver. And when you’re in Nassau, your driver will likely direct you to the western bridge between Nassau and Paradise Island. Under the bridge you’ll find a string of stalls serving up the island’s finest conch dishes.
Locals, of course, have their loyalties to particular vendors, but you can’t go wrong, whichever you pick. Do any of these sound particularly tasty to you? Let us know in the comments section.