The dishes below are some of the tastiest local specialities offered throughout the Islands. They’re not always the same, but this should give you some idea of what you’re ordering... CONCH FRITTERS: Conch meat, onion, green pepper and sometimes celery, finely ground and folded into a fritter batter before deep frying. Usually served with a slightly spicy seafood sauce. CRACKED CONCH: Bruised or pounded pieces of conch meat dipped in egg and milk, breaded in lightly seasoned flour or cornmeal then deep fried. Served with either a tartare sauce or a slightly spicy seafood sauce. CONCH SALAD: Raw conch meat diced into small cubes or slivers, marinated in lemon or lime juice, and tossed with chopped onion, green pepper and sometimes tomato. Seasoned with salt, pepper and crushed bird pepper or tabasco for added zing. STEAMED (OR STEWED) CONCH: Boiled conch that has been sautéed with onion, green pepper and ham in butter and oil. Tomatoes, hot pepper, ketchup and various other seasonings have been added prior to steaming the conch, with the addition of a hint of lime juice. RED CONCH CHOWDER: A chowder base of tomatoes, tomato paste and water, with seasonings including bay, thyme, lime, Tabasco, bacon, and even a hint of sherry! Additions include celery, onion and green pepper. WHITE CONCH CHOWDER: The sautéed conch is first marinated in lime before it’s added to the chowder’s chicken stock base, along with bacon, onion, garlic, potatoes and carrots. Evaporated milk is added, and occasionally parsley and wine. LOBSTER SALAD: Diced boiled lobster with sweet peppers, celery and seasonings blended with mayonnaise. FRIED FISH: Usually served with the head on, this can be any local fish, from snapper and grouper to wahoo. Seasoned and then deep fried in very hot oil, this is a popular breakfast dish in the Caribbean. PEAS ‘N’ RICE: Field peas, pigeon peas, black-eyed peas or split peas, mixed with rice and cooked seasoned with salted pig tail and conch. Local variations include crab ‘n’ rice and okra ‘n’ rice. JOHNNYCAKE: Fried cornmeal flatbread is a staple on many Caribbean islands. Originally called journey bread. Tastes like corn bread but looks like a pancake; this tasty dish is often served as a side with fried fish. FRIED PLANTAIN: A large banana-type fruit, the plantain is lower in sugar than regular bananas. Usually cut into sections and fried in oil until golden brown, fried plantain is a popular side dish for a variety of meals. CRAB SOUP: A red soup with a vegetable stock base, sweet potatoes and other potatoes, plantain and boiled crab. All lightly spiced according to the cook, often with thyme. OKRA SOUP: Much like the crab soup. The okra is boiled and the soup isn’t really spicy. JERKED PORK OR CHICKEN: A combination of spices used as a rub, or with the addition of vinegar, soy sauce and oil as a marinade. The spices are typically, but not limited to, allspice, scotch bonnet peppers and thyme, which permeate deep into the meat and pack a fiery punch. The meat is slowly grilled to perfection. CURRY: Everything can be curried in the Caribbean! Not usually as ‘hot’ as a jerk sauce, but a good Caribbean curry can still pack enough wallop to wake up the tastebuds. GRITS ‘N’ TUNA: Grits is corn, which is locally grown (in North and Middle Caicos) and finely hand-ground. It is boiled in salted water before adding butter. Corn is often served alongside steamed, fried or boiled fish. The local favourite is tuna. OXTAIL: Just as it sounds, this dish consists of cattle tails, skinned then cut into short sections. Usually browned and then stewed with spices and vegetables. GOAT: A popular meat to cook with on many Caribbean islands, this dish is most often served curried. The meat has a flavour similar to lamb. JAMAICAN PATTIES: Usually meat filled (although vegetable varieties are available for the Rastas!) these are similar to a large tart, with spiced meat packed inside a flipped and sealed pastry. They are often served hot and for breakfast.
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