Traditional Turks & Caicos Cuisine

Traditional Turks & Caicos Cuisine
The traditions of cuisine on the islands is developed from the availability of food on and around the islands. Located in such fertile waters, the ocean is the most reliable and convenient supply of food. The geographical location of the islands doesn't lend itself to huge amounts of produce being farmed on the land itself. North Caicos is the most fertile and richest of all the islands providing corn, grits, root vegetables and fruits. The main carbohydrate produced on the island is known as Guinea Corn, it is commonly ground into a flour and made into a corn bread and grits. In fact, peas and grits came long before peas and rice, the staple of the Caribbean. To compliment the grits, various fish would be cooked, depending on what was caught on the day.

Each of the inhabited islands have their own specialties depending on their location and the condition of the soil. Whelk soup, made from the whelks that inhabit the shallow rock pools is the most traditional and famous dish on Salt Cay Island. South Caicos is known particularly for its bone fish, a stealthy grey ghost of a fish that stay around the shallow waters around the island. There is a wealth of other sea food caught off the islands. The lobster from the south island is said to be especially tender and sweet. There is a canning factory operating from the island that exports lobster tails worldwide. North Caicos produces the greatest variety of fruit and vegetables of all the islands, this is due to the fertility of the land. The soil is in such good condition that it grows fantastic tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbages and okra, which are used along with the variety of lobster, crab and fish dishes. Foods grown for deserts aren't forgotten on the islands. Sugar apples, sapodillas, sweet potatoes and sugar cane being available on the north island. One of the most famous sea foods available from Middle Caicos is the conch, which has become a symbol of the islands.

Dishes that will give you a traditional taste of the islands, include cod fish, potato bread and red bean soup, conch stew, steamed conch & grits, pea soup and dumplings, okra or young and tender buds from a pear bush soup, ginger bread, bread pudding, whelk soup. Boiled fish and grits is a popular breakfast occasionally served with Johnny cakes. The term Johnny cakes comes from the original journey cakes, so called as sailors used to take these sweet baked breads on voyages with them, since they lasted a long time without going off. Over time, the name changed, because of the local accent, to 'Johnny'. Peas and grits continues to be a common meal, accompanied by whatever fish was caught that day. You can't talk about the traditional cuisine of the islands with out mentioning rum, a popular drink in its own right or base for punch. It's also used for uniquely flavoured cakes and main dishes.

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Date: 01/22/2014


Sunny Solanki
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