Foreign Grocery Friday: The Conch Meat of the Caribbean
Fried conch in the Turks & Caicos
When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!
You know those massive, pink-lined shells from which it's told you can hear the sea? That's called a Conch shell, and for all its beauty, there's an ugly little creature living inside of it. Extract that creature, fry it up and serve it on a white plate and the positive returns: it's damn tasty.
Conch is available all over the Caribbean, and you can do just about as many things with it as with shrimp. Think about that scene in Forrest Gump where Bubba names shrimp dishes, but replace "shrimp" with "conch." "Conch salad, conch gumbo, conch patties, conch fritters," and so on and so forth.
The taste: We want to say it tastes like shrimp, but the reality is that conch has its own flavor with a consistency like shrimp. It's not fishy, but then it's not meaty either.
The price: Varies on where you're eating. If you're at a market and eating it from a styrofoam bowl on the side of the road, we're talking $2 maybe. If you're sitting down at a restaurant with china plates and a cold beer, it could be anywhere from $4-$7.
Where to find it: All over the tropical islands of the Caribbean. We've personally ordered it up in Nassau and Freeport, Bahamas (where it's most prevalent) as well as in St. Maarten and, most recently, the Turks & Caicos.
It's best not to look at the conch animal before it's fried up. Still curious? Here is a pic of a conch being removed from its shell. Yucky.