Instead of a marlin (a type of tuna) and a flamingo, the Bahamian coat of arms should depict a bottle of rum and a conch! Both seem to have a special role in the Bahamian culture. 

A local preparing conch salad on his boat

 

The signature dish of the Bahamas is conch fritters, which to me sounded both promising and disappointing. I was hoping that a Caribbean island would have better choice of seafood dishes, but about all they had was fried conch and fried grouper (sigh!). Conch tastes similar to clam and mussels, chewy and bland.  A variation of the dish is conch salad, which Bahamians claim is an Aphrodisiac. 

Street vendor selling conch in Nassau

 

Aside from the gourmet cuisine, conch is also highly valued for the properties of its large pink shell. Bahamian craftsmen make statues and jewelry out of it. Street vendors sell beautiful conches as souvenirs. 

Rum is the other trademark of the Caribbean. Bahamians drink it straight, put it in cocktails, and even in cakes. The rum cake is a must-try, especially with banana or coconut flavor. From the drinks, anything with rum is good – piña colada and especially bahama mama. 

Señor Frogs seemed like the most popular place for American tourists in Nassau, although any bar can serve you delicious cocktails. A good place to eat and experience the local culture is the Fish Fry, a street with small restaurants that offer everything from jerk chicken to piña colada prepared in a traditional way.   

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Read more about the Bahamian culture in my post on “Bahama Papas and Bahama Mamas” 

A restaurant in the Fish Fry