I should be packing. My flight to Rwanda leaves in less than 24 hours and as usual, I haven’t got a clue what to put in my suitcase. Yet, as only an expert procrastinator can, I have finally found spare time to write instead. Not much though, so I will keep it short.
This month I was excited to see Da Conch Shack, my favourite sea-side restaurant in the Turks & Caicos, featured in Travel + Leisure magazine’s list of “100 Places to Eat Like a Local“. (Reading travel magazines on my iPad is another excellent way to procrastinate.) While I haven’t been there in a few years given the distance from Dubai, Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos is one of my favourite beach destinations and I agree that no trip is complete without a stop by Da Conch Shack & Rum Bar in Blue Hills.
I don’t have time to adequately describe why the Turks & Caicos is one of my favourites (I got married there!) so for now I will stick to what you need to know. It is a tiny set of tropical Caribbean islands where one goes to relax or party or both. And it is home to Da Conch Shack & Rum Bar where one consumes large amounts of tasty conch morsels washed down with rum.
Since I don’t have time to look up a more scientific description, let me simply describe conch as a giant sea snail which is commonly eaten in the Caribbean. Most people are familiar with its shell and probably tried to hear the ocean from inside one when they were little but few have actually eaten conch meat. I wasn’t sure I was going to either as I watched the strange, unappealing creatures being wrenched from their shells on the beach in front of me. Luckily curiosity and a growling stomach prevailed.
The menu offers a variety of options which are prepared fresh from the sea each day. The conch salad and conch ceviche are the healthiest but you must really enjoy seafood as the texture is a bit chewy. If you are less brave, a good choice is the cracked conch. It is hard to go wrong with large pieces of conch that have been pounded flat, breaded and fried like a schnitzel.
My favourite though, by far, are the conch fritters, yummy little bundles of deep-fried conch, onions, peppers and spiced dough perfect for dipping in fritter sauce. Conch fritters are one of those things that you crave so intensely you MUST HAVE THEM immediately then regret them just as intensely as you stare at the empty grease-stained basket. There is no such thing as self control when it comes to these fritters but fortunately it doesn’t matter. Fritter regret only lingers until your next craving.
If you have temporarily overdosed on fritters or just don’t like seafood, then you can always try the spicy jerk chicken with peas and rice. Or just go for the chill island atmosphere. Da Conch Shack is really just a couple of tiny shacks by the beach where you can enjoy some some good company, unique food and a cold drink. And maybe even a backflip competition on the beach.
Now its off to bed where I will surely dream of conch fritters.