Bahamian cuisine

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Bahamian Cuisine refers to the foods and beverages of the Bahamas. It includes seafood such as fish, shellfish, lobster, crab, and conch,[1] as well as tropical fruits, rice, peas, pigeon peas, potatoes, and pork. Popular seasonings commonly used in dishes include chilies (hot pepper), lime, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, rum, and coconut.[1] Rum-based beverages are popular on the island.[2] Since the Bahamas consist of a multitude of islands, notable culinary variations exist.

Bahamian cooking has been somewhat influenced by the American South.[3] A large portion of Bahamian foodstuffs are imported (cf. economy of the Bahamas).[3] International cuisine is offered, especially at international hotels.[3]

Many specialty dishes are available at roadside stands, beach side, and in fine dining establishments. In contrast to the offerings in the city of Nassau and in 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.[2] Travellers Rest Restaurant, in Nassau, is known for serving authentic "local" foods.[2] [4]

Bahamian cuisine is showcased at many large festivals, including 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. Some settlements have festivals associated with the traditional crop or food of that area, such as the Pineapple Fest in Gregory Town, Eleuthera.

Bahamian traditions and food have been exported to other countries with emigrants.[5] 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 music (Junkanoo and 'Rake'N'Scrape'[6]).[7] Fantasy Fest in Key West, Florida includes a two-day street party known as Goombay held in Key West's Bahama Village neighborhood.[5] 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.[5]

Beverages[edit]

Fruit juices, including coconut water, are often used for beverages. Switcha is a "lemonade" made with native limes.[3][8] Goombay Punch is a commercially prepared, highly sweetened soft drink.[9] It differs from the Goombay Smash, which is an alcoholic preparation. Triple B is a non-alcoholic malt drink made by the Bahamian Brewery.[10]

Alcoholic beverages include rum,[1] which is sometimes infused with coconut (coconut rum). Rum is also used in mixed drinks such as rum punch. Sky juice is a drink consisting of coconut water blended with condensed milk and gin.[3][9][11] The Yellow Bird (cocktail), the Bahama Mama, the Goombay Smash, and Planter's Punch[2] are popular local drinks. Nassau Royale is a Bahamian liqueur and is used to make the C. C. Rider.[2] The Bahamian Brewery makes beers including: Sands, Bush Crack, High Rock (named for a geographic feature: High Rock) and Strong Back.[12] Kalik is a Bahamian beer.[3]

Soups[edit]

Bahamians enjoy many soups popular throughout the Caribbean including callaloo,[1] conch soup, fish chowder, split pea soup (made with ham), and pepper pot stew.[1] Peas are used in various soups, including a soup made with dumplings and salt beef. Souse is a soup usually made with chicken, lime, and pepper. [3]

Turtle soup was once a mainstay before turtles became endangered.[2]

Seafood[edit]

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.[2] Conch can be prepared in a number of ways: served raw with lime juice and spices (as in ceviche[1]), 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.[1][2] Grouper is often served fried, sautéed, grilled or, more traditionally, boiled and offered with grits.[3] Bonefish, found in great numbers in Bahamian waters, is served baked.[2][13]

Fish may be served escabeche style, in a mixture of lime juice or vinegar with seasoning.[1] 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.

Meat[edit]

A dinner entree in the Bahamas

Popular meat dishes are made with chicken,[1] pork, and goat (also referred to as mutton).[1] Iguana is still hunted and eaten, especially in the outlying islands, although some species, such as the Northern Bahamian rock iguana, are endangered.

Side Dishes[edit]

Bahamian cuisine shares many side dishes with the American South: grits, baked macaroni and cheese, potatoes, potato salad, sweet potato, johnnycake. Other more traditional Caribbean sides include pigeon peas, peas and rice[3] and cassava bread.[1] Salt pork is also served.

Sauces[edit]

Bahamian dishes are frequently accompanied by piquant sauces such as Creole sauce and Old Sour sauce.

Fruit[edit]

Bahamian cuisine incorporates many tropical fruits.[2] Guavas are used to make duff (dessert). Ice cream is popular, including fruit flavors such as soursop.[2] Puddings are eaten including a sapodilla pudding.[2] Papaya (called pawpaw or melon tree) is the most famous Bahamian fruit and is used for desserts, chutneys, "Goombay" marmalade (made with papaya, pineapple, and green ginger), or simply eaten fresh at breakfast. Papaya is also used as a meat tenderizer, and in tropical drinks such as the Bahama Mama.[2] Melons, pineapples, passion fruit, and mangoes are also grown.[2]

Desserts[edit]

Bahamians enjoy a variety of desserts, including tarts (coconut and pineapple), duff (dessert), bread pudding, rum cake and cornmeal pudding.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Brittin, Helen (2011). The Food and Culture Around the World Handbook. Boston: Prentice Hall. pp. 20–21. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Bahama's Food and Drink". Frommers.com. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bahamas cuisine Bahamas Ministry of Tourism website
  4. ^ Bahamas Restaurants, Find the Best Restaurants in Bahamas, Caribbean | Travel + Leisure
  5. ^ a b c "About the Bahama Goombay Festival". Bahama Village Goombay Festival. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Music of the Bahamas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  7. ^ "Goombay Festival -Annual Coconut Grove Tradition". Florida Backwoods Travel. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  8. ^ Miller, Andre. "Popular Drinks of the Bahamas". Bahamas.com. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Bennett, Steve. "Taste of the Caribbean: Bahamas Goombay Punch". Uncommoncaribbean.com. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  10. ^ "Truly Bahamian". Bahamianbrewery.com. Bahamian Brewery Beverage & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Vletas, Stephen; Vletas, Kim (April 1, 2005). The Bahamas Fly-Fishing Guide (1st edition ed.). Lyons Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-1592287260. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Bush Crack, Truly Cheap Bahamian Beer | Bahamas | Uncommon Caribbean
  13. ^ Klug, Jim; Davis, Ian. "Bonefish On The Brain: Your Guide to the Best Bonefishing on the Planet". Fly Rod & Reel. Retrieved 23 August 2014.