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Turks & Caicos Island Cuisine


Due to the fact that Turks & Caicos Islands is situated in the Caribbean zone and a British Overseas Territory, there can be found many elements from these two cultures in the local diet; there are also various Western and European meals or snacks, such as sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers, but these include the local plants. The variety of meats ranges from the numerous species of fish and fish roes (crabs, lobsters, scallions), to poultry and beef, which are served with corn, rice and veggies from the area, topped with local sauces and spices.

While most foods must be imported, the islands export their seafood. Spiny lobster and queen conch are prevalent on the Caicos Bank to the west of the island. The islands are also known throughout the Caribbean for their bonefish. Cod fish, often made into cod cakes can easily be found on menus as well. Fresh seafood flavoured with Caribbean seasoning is central to the islands most popular dishes.

Conch is one of the most popular island dishes, and plenty of restaurants specialising in local fare serve it a variety of ways: conch creole, curried conch, conch fritters, conch chowder, cracked conch, and even dried conch.

Foods eaten alongside seafood include grits – locally called "hominy" – cooked with peas or dried conch. Historically, hominy was a staple of a diet that included local fish, chicken and vegetables, and in recent years a combination of peas and grits, known on the islands as "penn on" has been adopted as the unofficial national dish of Turks & Caicos islands. Similarly, the popular dish of peas and rice is served with almost every meal, though this dish did not become common until islanders began to import food from other countries. Peas and rice are often flavoured with bits of salt beef or pig tail. Boiled fish with johnnycake is most often served as a weekend speciality. Johnnycake is a sweet pan bread, and looks and tastes like corn bread that has been made into a pancake. Potato bread, ginger bread, dumplings, okra soup and red bean soup are also favourite side dishes.

Due to the different naturally harvested ingredients on each of the islands, there are some dishes that are more prevalent in different regions of the country. Whelk soup, for example, is common in Salt Cay; and North Caicos was one of the lucky locations with soil rich enough to grow produce. Sweet potatoes, sopadillas, okra, tomatoes, cabbage, sweet apples, and sugar cane are all produced in North Caicos. South Caicos catches an abundance of sea food, especially bonefish, and specialities on Middle Caicos are potato bread and stewed conch.


The most popular drink in the islands is a rum punch made with Lucayan rum, coconut rum, orange and pineapple juices, and grenadine. This drink, however, packs a punch, so think carefully before ordering one. Fruit juices and sodas are always an option as well.





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