Bahamas Rum Cake and Other Must-Try Snacks

Conch is a popular ingredient in Bahamian cuisine
Conch is a popular ingredient in Bahamian cuisine | © BlueOrangeStudio / Alamy Stock Photo
Sadie Whitelocks

From hearty seafood platters and Creole stews to rum-soaked sweet treats, Bahamian recipes are not only varied but also lip-smackingly delicious. Chow down on a plate of deep-fried conch, pronounced “konk,” which is practically a national dish, after a day sailing around the turquoise Caribbean waters. Read on for Culture Trip’s guide to the best Bahamian food.

Tuck into the best food in the Bahamas on an eight-day island-hopping sailing vacation with Culture Trip – no experience necessary.

Cracked conch

Cracked conch is similar to fried calamari

You’ll find conch throughout the Bahamas, seeing their distinctive shells everywhere you turn. Cracked conch involves tenderising the meat by hand before coating it in a batter and deep-frying it. The finished product is traditionally served with a curry or Creole sauce. Overfishing is a concern in the Bahamas, so make sure you eat adult conch to reduce damage to young populations.

Spiny lobster is best when it’s in season

Flame-grilled spiny lobster, drenched in lemon butter, is one of the most delicious Bahamian dishes. You’ll also find it steamed, chopped in salads and mixed into patties. August to March is peak lobster season, so order it during these months for the freshest catch. Mckenzie’s Fresh Fish & Conch restaurant serves sizzling hot, deep-fried lobster tails on Paradise Island, just off Nassau.

Rum cake

Finish a meal with a slice of rum cake

Get into the Caribbean swing of things with a slice of rum cake. The sweet treat is ring-shaped and infused with a mix of rum and vanilla. The Bahamas Rum Cake Factory in Nassau is open for tours, and there is a store so you can stock up on goods before you leave. Along with the original flavour, which has a buttery taste and moist texture, the factory produces several other varieties, including piña colada, banana and chocolate.

Bahamian Johnny Cake

While the word “cake” might conjure up visions of a sugary sponge, Johnny Cake has more of a savoury finish, similar to bread. This Bahamian staple is versatile and can accompany stews or soups or be enjoyed at breakfast with or without spreads. There are variations of Johnny Cake throughout the US, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, but the Bahamian version comes baked with a golden finish.

Pigeon peas ‘n’ rice

Don’t fear – there is no pigeon in this Bahamian recipe. The dish, which is a common side to meat, fish and vegetables, features a blend of nutty-flavoured brown pigeon peas, white long-grain rice, tomatoes, onions and fresh thyme. It is often prepared with bacon, or you can request to have this left out if you’re vegetarian.


You can enjoy grits on their own or with other ingredients, such as shrimp

Power yourself up for the day with a bowlful of grits. The Bahamian dish consists of cornflour boiled with water and salt and mixed with butter for a creamy, porridge-like finish. It can be left as is or combined with other ingredients, from tuna to corned beef, for a heartier taste.

Guava duff

Guava duff is a cake roll that’s steamed

If you have a sweet tooth, this Bahamian steamed dessert is a must-try. The pudding features stewed guava, rolled in a roulade and boiled as a whole for around an hour. The finished product comes with a delicious rum- or brandy-butter sauce.

Fried plantain

Fried plantain can be crunchy or soft and fluffy

Like salted peanuts, fried plantain is a snack that you won’t be able to stop eating once you start. The cooking bananas, which are starchier than the sweet variety, can be prepared like chips with a crunchy finish or like fries with more of a fluffy texture. Plantain makes for a great snack to enjoy alongside some cold Kalik beer or as a side dish at dinner.

Fire engine

Breakfast like a local with a bowlful of “fire engine”. This punchy dish, which many Bahamians say is a hangover cure, features a flavoursome blend of spices, corned beef, sweet peppers, tomato paste, celery and onions combined with rice or grits. Although this is generally eaten in the mornings, it can also be enjoyed as an appetiser if you prefer a more traditional breakfast dish.

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