The best conch salads in the Caribbean
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
Got conch? If you’re in the Bahamas or the Turks and Caicos Islands you definitely should!
The scrumptious sea snail, which thrives in the archipelagos’ warm, shallow waters, is the star of local menus, and you’ll find it served several ways: stewed; “cracked” (battered and fried); curried; dusted with seasoned flour to make crispy fritters; or as the featured ingredient in creamy chowder. But true conch aficionados know to order it the traditional island way: as conch salad.
Despite its salad designation, however, you won’t find iceberg or romaine in this dish. Conch salad is a ceviche-type preparation, made with raw conch meat and diced veggies (including some traditional salad ingredients, such as onions, tomatoes and sweet peppers) tossed together in tangy lime juice. It’s fat-free, packed with protein, and very flavorful. And here are some of our favorite places to enjoy it:
Billy Joe’s, Grand Bahama
Plucked straight from the sea at this beachfront shack next to Freeport’s Grand Lucayan resort, Billy Joe’s conch salad is super-fresh, and tastes best with a drizzle of their homemade hot sauce made from fiery local goat peppers.
Chat N Chill, Stocking Island
The conch salad at this private-island beach bar and restaurant five minutes off the coast of George Town, Great Exuma is made with the juice of sweet local oranges instead of limes. It’s a simple substitution that makes a delicious difference.
Da Conch Shack, Providenciales
At this island institution the meaty molluscs are kept live in an ocean pen just steps from the kitchen, so you know your conch salad is as fresh as it gets.
Joe’s Conch Shack, Bimini
Whether you’ve ferried over from Miami from the day or are holed up at the Hilton, do yourself a favor: Rent a golf cart and head to Joe’s, where the conch is always fresh and his incendiary homemade hot sauce really brings the heat.
Oh Andros, Nassau
The colorful waterfront restaurants at Arawak Cay (aka The Fish Fry) serve up every conceivable iteration of conch. But I’m partial to Oh Andros, where the always-tender never-chewy conch salad (and a frosty Kalik) hits the spot.
Potter’s Cay, Nassau
If you’ve already sampled Arawak Cay, try the fare from the string of vendors underneath the eastern bridge between Nassau and Paradise Island, where the city’s taxi drivers get their lunchtime fix.