No trip to the Turks and Caicos is complete without familiarizing yourself with the national symbol and local delicacy that is conch (pronounced KONK) — a sea snail that not only appears on the Turks and Caicos flag, but can also be prepared and eaten a number of ways. It’s also the country’s No. 1 export.
The particular type of conch that’s found and celebrated in the Turks and Caicos—the Queen conch—is found naturally in the Atlantic Ocean, from Florida all the way down to the coast of Brazil. And in TCI, it’s wildly popular as local fare—so popular that the country has dedicated an annual festival to marine snail, known as the Conch Festival, where local restaurants prepare their best conch dishes for visitors to try.
The number of ways to prepare conch is virtually endless. There’s conch salad, conch fritters, cracked conch, conch chowder and so much more. You’d be hardpressed to find a restaurant in the Turks and Caicos that doesn’t serve conch in some form
Be aware, if you find a conch in the ocean, it’s best to leave it be. Remember, there’s a living creature inside that beautiful shell. However, Turks and Caicos law allows visitors to take up to three (empty) conch shells back home with you.
But most importantly, make sure you don’t leave the islands without at least trying our famous sea snail for yourself. Indeed, you haven’t truly experienced TCI unless you’ve eaten conch. Here are some of our top restaurants for conch dishes: