Sea Urchin Soup
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What: For this simple curry powder-laden dish, the Bahamas has three centuries of British rule to thank. It’s usually well-spiced and flavorful, made with dark-meat on-the-bone chicken, but not always spicy. It’s often the most familiar-seeming item staring back at you from the menu (or the back of the lunch van), and it’s a perfectly acceptable, popular, tasty thing to order. It’s typically served with white rice and sides.
Good to know: What’s a lunch van, you ask? Just what it sounds like: a car or van with a hatchback full of home-cooked Bahamian food. Menus will vary by day, but will include a selection of main dishes and sides. It’s generally an affordable, delicious way to eat local on the islands, though you may have to do some sleuthing to locate a van near you.
Where: We found a lunch van called Shan’s in the lot behind the massive Mélia resort in Cable Beach (approx. map, but near the roundabout), a stone’s throw from the area’s famed Daiquiri Shack.
When: Weekdays around noon (till the food runs out, which might be 2pm or so)
Order: A heaping Styrofoam container of curry chicken with two sides—choose from peas and rice, potato salad, coleslaw, steamed vegetables, a “slice” of mac-and-cheese—costs $6. The finger-staining yellow curry sauce wasn’t spicy, but it was deeply flavorful, and went great with some mac-and-cheese (doesn’t everything?), mixed veggies, and the omnipresent peas and rice. Among the other mains you might find at Shan’s are pork chop, baked chicken, and steamed ribs (see also our entry on peas and rice, steamed meats).
Alternatively: We also enjoyed this dish in a spicier, pricier format from Manny’s (242-327-8547, Skyline Drive roundabout, map), our local pub in Cable Beach (during our visit it cost $15.95). Look for the sign reading “Many’s.” (It’s got good grouper fingers and fish burgers too, as well as more Brit foods like cottage pie and fish and chips.) Another restaurant with chicken curry and lots of other “British meals” is Bahamas Cricket Club (West Bay St., map), near Arawak Cay.
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