Perfect Paradise: Culture: Cuisine

Bahamians love life in general, but few parts of it make them happier than mealtime. Cuisine in the Bahamas isn't quite the art that it might be in places like Paris or Rome, but it's even more plentiful and made with lots more love. Here are some of the staples:

Conch: The ultimate Bahamian staple. Pronounced "KONK," conch is the national food of the Bahamas, a sea snail that can find its way into any dish imaginable and that can easily be found on your plate at any time of the day. Conch is served many different ways in the Bahamas, including conch fritters, conch salad, conch chowder, and conch salad. No matter how it is served, conch can please the taste buds of any Bahamian.

Peas and rice: Like in other Caribbean nations, peas and rice is the national dish of the Bahamas. The Bahamian version is made with tomato paste and salt pork, making it unique among the various peas and rice dishes. Most Bahamians cook peas and rice in a very large pot, allowing the bottom layer to burn a little in order to make "cake" that can then be scraped out and eaten.

Guava duff: The favorite dessert of Bahamians, guava duff is a very doughy pastry that features sliced guava, lots of butter and sugar, and a delicious rum sauce. Making guava duff can be a laborious task that often takes hours to complete, but the result is always worth it. It's certainly not healthy – making it fit in with most Bahamian food quite well – but it's wonderful!

Johnny cake: Johnny cake is a very simple bread that gets its unique taste from the spices used in it, specifically nutmeg. Johnny cake can be eaten as a dessert, snack, or side, depending on how it is made. It is one of the most common Bahamian staples and is readily available in Bahamian households.

Alcohol: The Bahamas may very well be the only country in the world to have an official beer. Brewed right in the islands, Kalik gets its name from the sound that the many bells of Junkanoo make during the parades. Almost 2 million cases of Kalik are brewed every year, though it is only sold in the United States. Meanwhile, Bacardi Rum is also a national (though not "official") drink of the Bahamas, with the Bacardi distillery also being located in the islands, reflecting the nation's long-standing rum tradition.