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Bahamian cuisine refers to the food and beverage culture of the Bahamas. Bahamian cuisine often includes fish, shellfish, lobster, crab, conch, and other seafood. Tropical fruits, rice, peas, pigeon peas, potatoes, and pork are also widely incorporated. Some common seasonings used in dishes include chilies, lime, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, rum and coconut. Rum-based beverages are also popular on the island.
Notable culinary variations exist across the multitude of islands in the Bahamas. Many specialty dishes are available at roadside stands, beach side, and in fine dining establishments. Festivals include Independence Day (Bahamas) on July 10, during which inhabitants prepare special dishes like guava duff. Fox Hill Day (second Tuesday in August), and Emancipation Day are also celebrated.
Bahamian cooking has been somewhat influenced by the American South. A large portion of Bahamian foodstuffs are imported into the economy of the Bahamas. International cuisine is offered, especially at international hotels. In contrast to the offerings in the city of Nassau, Bahamas and the many hotels, "shack" type restaurants (including Goldies and Twin Brothers) are located at Arawak Cay on West Bay Street about 15 minutes from downtown Nassau and 25 minutes from Atlantis Paradise Island resort. Travellers Rest outside town is also known for "local" foods.
Bahamian traditions and food have been exported to other countries with emigrants. Coconut Grove, Florida celebrates the Goombay Festival in June, transforming the area's Grand Avenue into a Carnival (Caribbean Carnival) in celebration of Bahamian culture, Bahamian food and Caribbean music (Junkanoo). Fantasy Fest in Key West, Florida includes a two-day street party known as Goombay held in Key West's Bahama Village neighborhood. It is named after the goombay goatskin drums that generate the party's rhythms and held in celebration of the heritage of Key West's large Bahamian population with food, art, and dancing.
Pigeon peas and rice (peas and rice) are a dish shared with other areas of the Caribbean. Peas are also used in soup with dumplings and salt beef; split pea and ham soup; and for other soups with pea-based broths. Souse is also eaten.
Bahamian cuisine includes many tropical fruits. Guavas are used to make Duff (dessert). Ice cream is popular including fruit flavors such as soursop. Puddings are eaten including a sapodilla pudding. Papaya (called pawpaw or melon tree) is the most famous Bahamian fruit and is used for chutneys, "Goombay" marmalade (made with papaya, pineapple, and green ginger), desserts or eaten fresh at breakfast. Papaya is also used as a meat tenderizer and for tropical drinks such as the Bahama Mama. Melons, pineapples, passion fruit, and mangoes are also grown.
Some settlements have festivals associated with the traditional crop or food of that area, such as the Pineapple Fest in Gregory Town, Eleuthera.
Fruit juices, including coconut water, are often used for beverages. Switcha is a "lemonade" made with native limes. Goombay Punch is a commercially prepared, highly sweetened soft drink. It differs from the Goombay Smash, which is an alcoholic preparation. Triple B is a non-alcoholic malt drink made by the Bahamian Brewery.
Alcoholic beverages include rum, which is sometimes infused with coconut (coconut rum). Rum is used in mixed drinks such as rum punch. Sky juice is a drink consisting of coconut water blended with condensed milk and gin. Kalik is Bahamian beer. Local drinks, including the Yellow Bird (cocktail), the Bahama Mama, the Goombay Smash, and Planter's Punch are popular. Nassau Royale is a Bahamian liqueur and is used to make the C. C. Rider. The Bahamian Brewery makes beers including: Sands, Bush Crack, High Rock (named for a geographic feature: High Rock) and Strong Back
Seafood is a staple in the Bahamas. Conch, a large tropical mollusk (sea snail) with firm, white flesh, is the national dish of the Bahamas. Conch can be prepared in a number of ways: served raw with lime juice and spices (as in ceviche), steamed, stewed, deep-fried ("cracked conch" or conch fritters), used in soups (especially conch chowder), or served in salads. Other popular shellfish are crab (including the Florida stone crab), which is often served baked, and the clawless spiny lobster, also known as rock lobster and sometimes referred to as crayfish. Grouper is often served fried, sautéed, grilled or, more traditionally, boiled and offered with grits. Bonefish, found in great numbers in Bahamian waters, is served baked.
Fish may be served escabeche style, in a mixture of lime juice or vinegar with seasoning. In escabeche the fish is cooked first, differentiating it from the similarly prepared ceviche. "Stew fish" is a method of preparing fish with celery, onions, tomatoes and spices.
Popular meat dishes are made with chicken, pork, and goat (also referred to as mutton). Iguana is still hunted and eaten, especially in the outlying islands, although some species, such as the Northern Bahamian rock iguana, are endangered.