NASSAU, BAHAMAS — An episode of a hit YouTube series that showcased Bahamian cuisine has garnered 8 million views in just over a year since its release.
The widely watched episode of ‘Best Ever Food Review Show’, titled “Bizarre Bahamas!! More Unseen EXTREME Seafood” was posted on February 9, 2022 and has received praise from viewers around the world, many of whom have expressed an interest in visiting The Bahamas to experience its culinary offerings firsthand.
In the episode, viewers are taken on a 1 hour and 30-minute culinary adventure in which host Sonny Side immerses himself in Bahamian food culture, sampling native delicacies such as grilled Bahamian lobster from Frankie’s Gone Bananas; conch salad from Dino’s Gourmet Conch Salad Restaurant and Fisherman Yellow’s at Montague Beach; conch fritters from The Captain’s Table; grilled boar ribs sourced from wild-caught Andros boar; and a plethora of other mouthwatering Bahamian dishes.
While the widespread popularity of the episode marks a significant stride for Bahamian cuisine, and demonstrates that there is a global appetite for its unique and flavorful dishes, it also serves as a reminder of the vital role that food plays in the Orange Economy of The Bahamas.
The Orange Economy refers to the cultural and creative industries, encompassing diverse fields such as music, art, theatre, film, fashion, literature and of course, the culinary arts.
Bahamian celebrity chef Simeon Hall Jr, who appears in the episode and shares a sit-down meal of griot-inspired pork ribs with the host, emphasizes that food culture is often overlooked as a critical component of The Orange Economy in The Bahamas.
“Despite being an integral part of The Orange Economy, Bahamian food culture is one of its least regarded aspects, even though it is consumed the most,” said Hall.
“Our food not only sustains us, but also serves as a crucial part of our cultural identity. The culinary arts holds a significant place in the creative economy by providing tourists from near and far with a means to connect with and experience our culture through our distinctive cuisine.”
Chef Hall, who is a fierce proponent of ‘farm to table’ and ‘sea to spoon’ movements, also remarked that Bahamian food culture is more than just what goes on the plate.
He explained: “Bahamian food culture is so rich and expansive that it often crosses over into entertainment and leisure. Tourists come to The Bahamas not just to eat our food, but to be a part of its culinary process, from catching fresh local fish and spearing spiny lobster, to watching the skillful preparation of tropical conch salad, it’s an immersive process.
“I’ve always believed that food is not just meant to be consumed, but rather experienced in its entirety,” Hall continued.
“That’s what makes Bahamian cuisine so special and why it appeals to millions of people around the world. As Bahamians, it’s important for us to recognize the unique selling point of our cuisine and to include the culinary arts in conversations about the Orange Economy in The Bahamas.”