Sea Urchin Soup
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What: Chopped raw conch—be sure it’s an adult, but more on that later—joins tomato, onion, green/red bell and hot Bahamian goat peppers, lime juice and orange juice for what’s a refreshing, tropical, spicy party in your mouth. Think of it as conch ceviche, and the Bahamas in a mouthful.
A note about conch: Queen conch, the large marine snail (technically a gastropod mollusk) in the gorgeous pink spiral shells you see everywhere, is pretty much the national food of the Bahamas. But it’s an overexploited species across the Caribbean (it’s now prohibited to harvest queen conch in U.S. waters, thanks to decades of overfishing off Florida’s coast), including in the Bahamas, despite the common thinking here that the mollusks are more than abundant. As we recently reported in the post “To Conch or Not to Conch?” one conservation campaign is targeting the problem of harvesting juveniles by encouraging everyone, including visitors, to request to see the conch before it’s sliced into your salad. Check that it has a well-formed, fully flared adult-size pink lip, and you’ll be doing your small part to ensure a sustainable conch population for future generations.
Where: There are many spots for a great, fresh, while-you-wait conch salad in this town (and on these islands), but we love the laid-back, local flavor of Potter’s Cay, which stretches underneath the bridge to Paradise Island (map). The “dock,” as it’s called, is lined with ramshackle eateries and bars, produce stands, and a fish market; there’s a gritty, secret feel here, and turquoise-water views. The stand we recommend in particular is called Corner Pocket, all the way down on the left (west) side. Look for the billiards sign.
Good to know: To get to Potter’s Cay, hop on a No. 1 jitney heading east from downtown Nassau; it’s a short ride. Also, while some eateries (like this one) open for lunch, as a whole the place really gets going after 4pm.
When: Tues-Sun, 10am-till
Order: The conch salad is $12, well worth it for the care and quality of ingredients. The friendly woman who expertly made our salad, Nicole, chops the conch finely so that it’s not even chewy (as conch tends to be); the other ingredients are chopped fresh to order as well, so put your patient hat on. We promise, it will be worth your time. Order a cold Kalik beer and enjoy the turquoise water views behind the stand—one nice thing about Corner Pocket is that since it’s all the way down the pier, it may not be as crowded as some other stands. Also, it’s very near the excellent Evelyn’s Kitchen food truck and its down-home fare (see also peas and rice, steamed meats). Bonus: Corner Pocket’s full menu includes traditional items like chicken or pig feet souse at breakfast and daily specials, from curried mutton to steam conch to oxtail, throughout the week for lunch.
Alternatively: There’s always the iconic “Fish Fry” (map) on Arawak Cay—that colorful strip of fish and conch shacks beloved by tourists and locals alike, where freshly made conch salads are likewise very common. We also love Dino’s Gourmet Conch Salad (42-CONCH/ 242-677-7798; West Bay St., Gambier, approx. map)—which claims to have invented the popular spinoff known as “tropical conch salad,” adding pineapple, apple, and mango to the mix—just east of pretty Love Beach in West New Providence. You’ll need to travel for that one, in a car/cab or via the No. 10 jitney—just tell the driver where you’re going (look for the bright-pink shack!) and be sure the jitneys are still running back the other way.
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