Ceviche....That Aint Nothing Bit Some Conch Salad

Ceviche....That Aint Nothing Bit Some Conch Salad

One Man’s Gourmet Is Another Man’s Street Food

Dino's Gourmet Conch Stand - Gambier, N.P. Bahamas


I have had the good fortune to travel to a number of places throughout the years, and I have been blessed to try some amazing restaurants. About 5 years ago, I discovered a little gem in Turks and Caicos called Coco Bistro. On the menu was a dish called Conch Two Ways, that included a sweet and sour conch dish, as well as a Conch Ceviche with freshly caught sweet and tender julienne conch strips, married with a blend of citrus juices, locally grown produce, fresh picked cilantro and a touch of pepper. During this time I was a concierge, and my guests would come back raving about the restaurant, and this dish in particular. This wonderful Ceviche sounded like a foodies dream, but I always smiled when they told me this. In my mind....that wasn’t nothing but some conch salad with a fancy name.


As time passed, and I got older, and my appreciation of food grew, all of the so called “fancy” foods, were demystified. Risotto was nothing but some stirred rice. Polenta was something along the lines of cream of wheat. Gnocchi was some potato pasta/dumplings. Quinoa was just some grains. Couscous was just some more grains......


Restaurants and chefs use culinary terms aka big talk to flirt with our bellies, but at the heart of things, no matter how beautiful, how seemingly complicated, how fancy the setting, how expensive the meal....food is just food, and great cuisine is just knowing how to take simple God given ingredients and transforming them into a beautiful flavor combination. NOT a simple task, and I applaud the masterful skills of great chefs, but so many people shy away from trying new foods, because that are afraid and intimidated.


I give this long prelude to get to a simple interaction that I had recently. I stopped by a local conch stand to get a tropical conch salad, complete with the traditional conch, sweet pepper, onion, tomato, lime juice, orange juice, and salt, with the addition of pineapple, mango and apple. The tropical element of conch salad is something relatively new for Bahamians, and in some islands, people still shun the “bougie” version of the humble salad....but I digress. On this day, I was sitting next to a tourist who fancied themselves a foodie, and they were extremely hesitant to try this strange food. To them it was something exotic, strange and yet alluring, and in their minds, much like the tourist in Turks and Caicos, is was gourmet. Though, to be fair, it was on the side of the road.....so gourmet is obviously in the eye of the beholder.


FIND NOTE: I found this shell dish at Kelly's Mall At Marathon location in Nassau


Something Bahamians often take for granted, and eat without a thought, a bowl of simple conch salad, is a BIG DEAL for those from other countries. The conch is kind of gnarly, if you aren’t familiar with it- slimy, kind of ugly, and kind of alien looking - but Bahamians eat it up without a thought.Yet, so many of us are afraid of simple foods like calamari (which is not too far from conch) and sushi (fish and rice)....but why? I say fear no food, but respect them all..... and why not treat our local delicacies like the stars that they are?


View all food as “gourmet” and you won’t have to ever fear trying something new.

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