Crazy for Conch
"Belongers," otherwise known as islanders, once relied on fishing as the mainstay of their economy—before the arrival of tourism in Turks and Caicos. They truly know the importance of conch, not only as the country’s largest export, but also as an integral part of the local diet. Today things have changed ever so slightly; now every part of the conch, from shell to meat, is used. Every restaurant in the Turks and Caicos serves some type of conch, in a sandwich, salad, fritter, soup, or even sushi, and the beauty of its shell has made its way into jewelry design and homewares. The shells may also be purchased in their somewhat natural state, albeit buffed and polished, and taken home as per regulation—two per person. Shells are also crushed and used as exfoliates in a few spas around the islands.
Visitors to the islands may dive for conch as part of a day out on the water, and then enjoy it in a local dish later in the day as part of a beach barbecue. Alternatively, they can find it in any of the local restaurants. Conch can also be found embedded in the walls built around the homes in Salt Cay, not only for a tropical look but also to keep cows and donkeys out of the yard.
The Conch Farm is the only commercial conch farm in the world, and a visit will show you how conch is raised and give you information about its many uses.
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