Turks and Caicos is nearly as famous for its legendary cuisine as it is for its white sand beaches and tropical paradise. The 30 islands that make up this archipelago are plentiful with various sources of food, such as rare and exotic species of fish used in local delicacies, and banana trees, corn, citrus, and ocean salt, all of which are integrated in the Turks and Caicos cuisine. Due to the fact that Turks and Caicos is part of the Commonwealth, the influence from British and North American cuisine is present in the local diet. Various Western and European meals or snacks, such as sandwiches, hot dogs, and hamburgers, are to be found in the islands, but these items typically originate from the local plants – with a unique Turks and Caicos twist on the old classics. The meat comes in a variety of styles, from the populous sea-life (such as fish, crabs, lobsters, scallions, and the conch), to poultry and beef – traditionally served with corn, rice, and vegetables from the local area and all topped with divine local sauces and spices in the classic Caribbean flavour.
And while there are some fabulous restaurants in the islands to sit down, take your time, and do the terrific Caribbean cuisine properly… there are also the quick eats. This is where the Turks and Caicos snack shacks come in. These little shops will whip up some incredible snack delights for you to take with you down to the beach or wherever, or pull up a seat outside under a palm tree and enjoy a little taste of paradise. We’ve picked out three of our favourite places to snack, with guaranteed tasty treats. In fact, these snack shacks are so good, we’re thinking about making a trip down to the island strictly for a conch taco. Wanna join us?
There’s a little market (as in one small building with total of 3 vendors) just at the end of the street from the Alexandra / Regen
Island Scoop Ice Cream
One of the best decisions you can make on a hot afternoon is ice cream. Heck, some of us may agree it’s always a great decision at any time. But baking in the Turks and Caicos sun you’ll find a new appreciation for the creamy cool delight of this frozen treat. Located right in the heart of Grace Bay Plaza in Providenciales, Island Scoop makes their own ice cream from scratch (the only ones in Provo to be so ice creative). They offer a wonderful selection of classic flavours as well as many exotic flavours, such as Mojito, Pumpkin, Hokey Pokey, and “Obamarama in the White House”. Island Scoop does come with a warning, however, that the flavours may be addictive. They source the best ingredients from all across the land, “even if we have to ship them in ourselves in Pirate Galleons, visiting private jets or under the cover of darkness.” Yes many of the ice creams contain alcohol and pack a pretty punch, such as the Baileys Ice Cream and the Margarita Special. And as if it could get any better, they make smoothies out of these boozy ice cream treats, better known as Ice Quakes. As Island Scoop says, “God Save The Cream.”
Da Conch Shack & Rum Bar
Welcome to all the best aspects of Island life and basic good-time Caribbean livin all mixed up in the perfect spot: Da Conch Shack. This open-air landmark restaurant is the place to be to chill (or ‘lime’) and enjoy the freshest conch done up in a variety of exciting dishes. How fresh is the conch? So fresh that it’s harvested right in front of you and served every way imaginable — conch salad, conch chowder, conch fritters, stir-fried conch, ceviche conch… we could go on, at the risk of sounding like Bubba from Forrest Gump. But instead we’ll just highly recommend you make a stop here on your next Turks and Caicos vacation. They also do all sorts of other fresh catches pulled right in from the local fishermen – grouper, snapper, and lobster when in season. Da Conch Shack is also famous for their legendary Island Jerk Chicken and other grilled features. And of course they offer some excellently tasty vegetarian options too! Da Conch Shack is an awesome party destination with great tunes and vibes and it’s been called “the ideal spot” by the New York Times, “the greatest beach bar in the British West Indies” by CNN (2011), and the Travel Channel named it as “one of the world’s sexiest beach bars”. No slouch itself, Trip Advisor rated it the #1 Restaurant Bar in Turks and Caicos. Caribbean Travel and Life summarized it best: “Run don’t walk to this classic Provo beach bar and restaurant where the conch is fresh and the rum punch packs a wallop.”
Green Bean Cafe
The Green Bean is one laid-back coffee shop that makes what we consider to be the best java on the island. Located near Turtle Cove, this cafe is an excellent place to hang out, maybe reached via a leisurely bike ride along the island beneath the palm fronds. They make an excellent breakfast, which you can eat outside on the patio as you take it all in and remind yourself that this is indeed the good life. For a light salad we recommend their fabulous Salad Nicoise with fresh ahi tuna, fresh arugla, grean beans, hard-boiled eggs, onions, and a taragon vinagrette dressing. Ask for Jojo and tell ’em Eric sent ya – and say HI to their pet parrot for us!