The traditional Bahamian cuisine and typical foods of the Bahamas are a sea of freshness just like its paradisiacal beaches. The Bahamian diet is based on the proteins of the sea, and very few carbohydrates are consumed in their typical dishes; where we can find fish, shellfish, lobsters, crabs, and the famous “conchs”, which is a large mollusk of firm white flesh. It is sometimes served raw and fresh – lightly seasoned with lemon juice and seasonings. It can also be served fried (Cracked Conch) or steamed. In the islands and the Florida Keys, conch fritters are popular but conch can also be added to soups, salads or stews. It may also be served as mince to make burgers mixed with onions and cereals. All these dishes can be accompanied by fresh salads, fruit juices, and delectable desserts.

5 Traditional Dishes From The Bahamas

Here’s 5 of our favorite dishes of the Bahamas, with their respective recipes to understand what goes on in the kitchen.

Fried Conch or Cracked Conch


This is a rich dish that is often sprinkled with lemon and light seasonings and is a staple of the Bahamian diet. In many of the recipes the islanders use, they include coconut milk, coriander, and pepper which gives flavors of sweetness and spice.

Ingredients:

  • Snail meat
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon
  • Finely chopped onion
  • Pepper
  • Eggs
  • Baking powder

Preparation:

  1. The conch meat is beat with a mallet to soften it a bit, then cooked in boiling water for an hour.
  2. It is drained and cut into small pieces and seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon.
  3. A mix is then created with onion, finely chopped pepper, egg, flour, and baking powder.
  4. Immediately they are passed through the flour and fried. Served with lemon, mayonnaise or hot sauce.

Conch Hamburger


The Bahamas has become an increasingly popular tourist destination, so it is normal to find any type of international food, in this case: the hamburger. However, in the Bahamas, it is worth trying its own twist on a classic favorite; the conch hamburger. Makes two good sized (6oz) burgers.

The conch hamburger meat is prepared in the same way as the Cracked Conch:
Ingredients:

  • 6oz of fresh conch meat
  • 6oz pound of fresh shrimp
  • juice of 2 sour oranges
  • 1 green onion (spring onion), finely chopped
  • 1 clove of fresh garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • chili pepper (to taste, if desired)
  • freshly ground pepper and salt (to taste)

Preparation:

  1. The conch meat is beat with a mallet to soften it a bit, then cooked in boiling water for an hour.
  2. They are drained and cut into small pieces then mixed with condiments and dressings. Slightly more flour is added to make it manageable on the grill.
  3. Cereals are added to give the burger a crunch.
  4. Add the onion, garlic, chili pepper, salt and pepper to the meats
  5. Then the Hamburger is dressed for one’s personal taste and is ready to serve.

Bahamian Chicken Soup


Although fish is the main food in the typical dishes of the Bahamas, we can also find other sources such as chicken. This is a dish that is known for being the cure for hangovers after a good party on the island! Also, the basis for many weekend meals.
Ingredients:

  • Boneless chicken breasts
  • Carrots peeled and cut into pieces
  • Chile serrano’s or jalapeños
  • Chopped fresh thyme
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Onion, chopped into pieces
  • Pepper or allspice
  • Sliced celery

Preparation:

  1. A tablespoon of salt with lemon juice, garlic, and chopped chili is mixed in a large saucepan.
  2. The day before, the chicken is marinated for 12 to 18 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. The chicken is then removed from the marinade, the excess of it is saved and then the chicken is browned on both sides in hot oil.
  4. In the same pan where the chicken was browned, the heat is lowered and the carrots are sautéed together with the onion and garlic until tender.
  5. After this, the chicken, the marinade, water, and pepper are added.
  6. After cooking for an hour, the peppers are added and then left to sit until the pot simmers.
  7. When the chicken is fully cooked, it is removed and diced.
  8. Chopped thyme is added to the broth to reduces the liquid a bit and finally, the chicken is re-added.
  9. Served hot with fresh chopped parsley.

Papaya Bahamian Salad


This is a delicious and sweet dish with a tropical and Caribbean taste.

Ingredients:

  • Mix of green leaves
  • A papaya peeled and cut without seeds
  • Mangoes peeled and cut into cubes
  • Peeled and sliced avocados
  • Toasted and chopped peanuts.

Ingredients for the vinaigrette:

  • Papaya juice
  • Wine vinegar
  • Mustard Dijon
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Chopped onion
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Portion to your desire.
  2. To make the vinaigrette, all ingredients are placed in a bowl, except the olive oil and mix.
  3. Then the oil is incorporated little by little while mixing steadily.
  4. Served immediately to ensure freshness.

Johnny Cake


Like everything in the Bahamas, each recipe has an infinite number of ways to prepare it. There are those who make this cake in the oven and other people make it as sweet or salty tortillas in a pan. Both ways they are delicious and loved by all of the locals.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup of coconut milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • A teaspoon of sugar.

Preparation:

  1. All ingredients are mixed well and kneaded until a paste is made. If it is too hard, more link or eggs is added.
  2. With a roller, the dough is smoothed so that it is one centimeter high.
  3. It is cut into wheels and cooked in a greased pan until golden brown.
  4. Serve with sides of choice and for a sweet change, try different dipping sauces

Images of these delicious dishes are copyright their owners and chefs!