7 foods you have to try in Turks and Caicos
1. PeppaJoy Hot Sauce
Hang out at Da Conch Shack and you may just run into Delano Handfield, a stocky gentleman with a firecracker personality. He is the creater and owner of PeppaJoy hot sauce, the local hot sauce made from scotch bonnet peppers grown on Providenciales and North Caicos. The little bottles of hot sauce are everywhere on Provo (and now in the US, too) and they come in three varieties: the signature flavor called Wild Wheeland, the hot Blue Hills breeze, and the deadly Ghost.
Ever since the invasive species entered the waters around the Turks in 2006, local authorities have encouraged chefs to put the flavorful predator on the menu to help eradicate it from the reef. Not only is the meat tender and moist when served as sushi or boiled, but you can feel good knowing you are helping save juvenile marine life off the coast.
3. Anything and everything at the weekly fish fry
When in the Turks, you better venture to the Blue Hills neighborhood for the weekly fish fry. Here, locally owned popups fry and grill late into the night. They churn out some of the Caribbean’s best conch fritters, coconut conch and snapper. You can’t leave until you try the curried conch with some local Bambarra Rum and PeppaJoy hot sauce.
4. Conch Ceviche
Here, it’s Conch everywhere, all the time. Nearly all the conch served at restaurants and bars around the islands is caught by local fishermen somewhere along the surrounding coral reef—the third largest reef in the Caribbean. The mollusk produces a chewy white meat similar to calamari. When made into ceviche, the meat is tossed in a mixture of sweet peppers, red onion, lime, tomato and citrus.
Often served whole, snapper is a close second to conch for being featured on every specials menu on Providenciales, Middle and North Caicos islands. It’s almost always grilled with a lemon caper and shallot butter sauce; and it’s always flaky and moist because it was caught either that day or the day prior. The ridiculously close proximity of the islands to the fishing area makes the meal about as fresh as it can possibly get.
6. Grouper from Opus on Grace Bay
Not quite as prevalent as snapper or conch, the grouper is caught locally and served on menus across Providenciales. The flaky meat of the fish pairs perfectly with light sauces like a cherry tomato and olive over a plate of rice. I indulge at OPUS on Grace Bay where they drizzle it with a yummy shallot and basil chutney. Elsewhere you will find it grilled, poached, stuffed or fried.
7. Lobster tail
It’s a staple in the Caribbean, and I think it’s a rule that you have to have a local Turks Head Amber beer along with it. The lobster tails are not just huge, they’re the meatiest I’ve ever seen. Dip generously in the garlic lemon butter sauce and wear something to cover your clothes.