Culinary Styles

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Seafood lovers will see their dining dreams come true on the Turks and Caicos Islands. Whether fish, lobster, or conch tops your list, you'll find these and more everywhere you go.

While most foods must be imported to Turks and Caicos, the islands export their seafood. Spiny lobster and queen conch are prevalent on the Caicos Bank to the west of the island. The islands are also known throughout the Caribbean for their bonefishing. Cod fish, often made into cod cakes can easily be found on menus as well.  Fresh seafood flavored with Caribbean seasonings is central to the islands most popular dishes.

Conch is one of the most popular island dishes...

 

Conch is one of the most popular island dishes, and plenty of restaurants specializing in local fare serve it a variety of ways: conch creole, curried conch, conch fritters, conch chowder, cracked conch, and even dried conch. You will also find lobster served in as many different styles.

Foods eaten alongside seafood include grits - locally called "hominy" - cooked with peas or dried conch. Historically, hominy was a staple of a diet that included local fish, chicken, and vegetables, and in recent years a combination of peas and grits, known on the islands as "Penn On" has been adopted as the unofficial national dish of the Turks and Caicos islands. Similarly, the popular dish of peas and rice is served with almost every meal, though this dish did not become common until islanders began to import food from other countries. Peas and rice are often flavored with bits of salt beef or pig tail. You may also want to try boiled fish with johnnycake, most often served as a weekend specialty.  Johnnycake is a sweet pan bread, and looks and tastes like corn bread that has been made into a pancake.  Potato bread, ginger bread, dumplings, okra soup, and red bean soup are also favorite side dishes. 

Due to the different naturally harvested ingredients on each of the Turks and Caicos islands, there are some dishes that are more prevalent in different regions of the country.  Whelk soup, for example, is common on Salt Cay; and North Caicos was one of the lucky locations with soil rich enough to grow produce.  Sweet potatoes, sopadillas, okra, tomatoes, cabbage, sweet apples, and sugar cane are all produced on North Caicos.  South Caicos catches an abundance of sea food, especially bonefish, and specialties on Middle Caicos are potato bread and stewed conch. 

Turks and Caicos have some tasty beverages to help wash down a meal. The most popular drink in the islands is a rum punch made with Lucayan rum, coconut rum, orange and pineapple juices, and grenadine. This drink, however, packs a punch, so think carefully before ordering one.  Fruit juices and sodas are always an option as well. 

Begin planning for your culinary tour of Turks and Caicos in advance, when you search for restaurants by cuisine style in our Restaurant Directory.  Click here if you know the name of a restaurant you're considering visiting, but want more information.  As you try and determine where on the island you'd like to stay, view our A to Z: Hotels in Detail page.  Here you will find all of the details about each hotel, plus learn which restaurants are located in the surrounding area.  Finally, if knowing which hotels have restaurants on-site is important to you, read our article on the Best Hotels for Dining Options.

A visit to the Turks and Caicos just wouldn't be complete without a bit of rum and a sampling of culinary delights from the Caribbean Sea.  Eat up, drink up, and savor every flavor.

 

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