With a delightful, small-town feel, cruising to Grand Turk presents travelers with an opportunity to discover a laid-back, authentic side of the Caribbean. One of the most enticing aspects of Grand Turk’s culture has to be the exotic cuisine. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed foodie or are simply curious about what to eat in Grand Turk, you can’t go wrong with any of these 10 delicious foods that are served throughout the island:
1. Conch Fritters
Considered a delicacy in the Caribbean, conch is served in nearly every form, from raw to fried, in Grand Turk. Conch is featured in salads, chowders, and even burgers. A favorite in Grand Turk, however, is to coat the conch meat in breading and spices and then fry it. The result are delectable conch fritters, which are typically served with a spicy dipping sauce and lime, though the pairings will likely vary throughout the island.
2. Hot Sauce
Hot sauce is an essential part of many meals in Grand Turk and the island is known around the globe for its spicy blends. With the locally sourced ingredients, including some of the hottest peppers in the world, one of the greatest attributes of Grand Turk’s hot sauce is its freshness. It pairs especially well with grilled fish, conch and callaloo soup. Because these bottles of locally manufactured hot sauce also make excellent souvenirs, they are available in many locations while shopping in Grand Turk.
3. Coconut Conch Chowder
There is certainly no shortage of conch dishes when it comes to Turks and Caicos cuisine, but the coconut conch chowder is a must-have when visiting the island. A creamy mixture of coconut milk, conch meat, vegetables, and spices make for a creamy yet hearty meal that is truly unique to the Caribbean region.
Rapidly becoming a mainstream dish, lionfish has a taste that has been described as a mix between lobster, shrimp and grouper. Despite not being native to the area, the lionfish population in the Caribbean has exploded making it widely available to locals. In turn, chefs have developed dishes that utilize the moist and flaky fish in raw, boiled and grilled forms.
If you’re a seafood lover, it’s likely you’ve had snapper at least a few times prior to arriving in Grand Turk. While already a tasty fish, the fresh and flavorful twist of the snappers found on the island is unparalleled. Using ingredients that are native to the island, many restaurants season the snapper with red curry, coconut, and rum.
6. Jerk Chicken
A chicken dish may not sound as exotic or adventurous as some of the other dishes offered on menus, but this staple dish of the food found in Turks and Caicos is unlike the hum-drum chicken dishes you are accustomed to. Flavored with a dry rub of local herbs and spices followed by a marinade, this sweet and spicy chicken packs a punch. Typically served with rice or vegetables, it is an excellent option if you want to try a new twist on a familiar favorite.
7. Plantain Chips
Hailing from the same species as bananas, plantains look similar yet have a starchy composition. Because of this, they are more commonly prepared in Grand Turk as vegetables. Many chefs and locals opt to slice them up and deep fry them into chips. Resembling a potato chip, plantain chips can be sweet or mild in taste, depending on the level of ripeness.
8. Mahi Mahi
The ocean provides visitors and locals with plenty of exciting things to do in Grand Turk. The close proximity, however, also grants access to a variety of fresh fish and seafood, including the large mahi mahi fish. Considered one of the island’s delicacies, mahi mahi is presented in several ways, such as in salads and stews or on its own. Many in Grand Turk opt to grill or fry the fish and also make use of the “roe”, or eggs, found inside of the fish.
9. Grilled Lobster
Another more mainstream dish, lobster is prevalent in restaurants close to port and off the beaten path. Like most places, lobster tails are a popular choice although, in Grand Turk, they are typically grilled instead of boiled. This lends an added smoky flavor to the remarkably fresh tasting lobster. Served with a side of garlic and lemon butter, with pasta, in a stew or in a salad, you can enjoy lobster in Grand Turk with your favorite dishes or experiment with new ones.
10. Peas and Rice
“Peas and rice” is an authentic and traditional part of the local island cuisine. It is most commonly served as a side dish that accompanies seafood or poultry entrees. The “peas” are actually beans, such as kidney beans, black-eyed peas or yellow split peas, and the rice is long grain rice that is packed full of spices like thyme, pepper and garlic. The flavor is spicy, yet sweet, due to the incorporation of coconut milk.
By opting for one (or all) of these ten delicious dishes, you can truly experience a taste of the finest local Grand Turk food. With exotic flavors, such as conch, and unexpected twists on classic favorites, curried snapper, the possibilities for tasty meals in Grand Turk are endless.