I have never been to the Bahamas, so when I was told that the Bahamas fish market was a great place to get seafood in Florida, I slept counting sheep because I couldn’t wait. After watching an episode of “Parts unknown” with the late Anthony Bourdain eating fried fish in the Bahamas, I knew my experience was going to be kind of close. Besides that, I had always wanted to go to Miami because apart from it being kind of a one stop hub for Cuban food, I wanted to simply experience the beauty of the ocean and eat fried seafood; yes! fried seafood.
Getting to Bahamas fish market, I didn’t know what part of town I was at but it reminded me so much of Nigeria. There were different stores and mechanics around the corner. The whole environment though busy was quite bubbly. It felt like being in Lagos in the day time 🙂
Walking into the restaurant felt like being human in an aquarium as the restaurant was painted to look like one or even like the sea. If I wasn’t sane, I would have thought I was Ariel from the little mermaid.
The Bahamas fish market reminded me of a small Nigerian food shack/diner. It was filled with friendly people and really good food. In Nigeria, we have places where one can get the point and kill fish. It’s a place where when you visit, they show you an array of live fish and seafood. You pick the one that interests you and tell them how you want it cooked; according to what they have on the menu.
In Bahamas fish market, the fish/seafood is already harvested and cleaned then placed in an ice box to be preserved for the customers for the day.
Trying to take a seat in the restaurant, I did not know what to expect. I just knew I wanted some Cuban spiced fried fish. On sitting down, a beautiful waitress who introduced herself as Nadia walked to my table with a glass of water, a bowl of lime and a small basket of saltine crackers. I had to stop myself from eating the crackers because I had waited all day for some seafood 🙂
I ordered some fried oysters as my appetizer before realizing they had ceviche. If you have never had ceviche before, you have got to try it. It’s basically a seafood dish made from fresh seafood/fish cured with lemon or lime. It is then seasoned with spices, onions and herbs. Personally, I prefer ceviche to sushi; even if they both serve different purposes and taste differently. After ordering oysters for my appetizer, I decided to order a serving of fried fish for my main course. To make my order of fish, Nadia walked me to the ice box where they were being preserved and I had to make a choice. I was spoiled for choices and though I wanted some cod, I settled for a pound of yellow tail snapper, yellow rice and tostones; (pronounced “tos..to..nes”) which is simply twice fried unripe plantains.
The oysters, fresh and cleaned; then seasoned, battered and fried was served piping hot with fresh lime and tartar sauce. I have to say it was one of the freshest and most delicious oysters I ever had. It didn’t taste like it came from a freezer. I kept munching on each piece forgetting I had ordered some fish for my main course.
My fish was brought to me by Nadia and just like the oysters, it was piping hot and you could smell the crispiness of the oil. You know when Nigerians ask “can you hear the smell?” I could hear the crisp smell and I dug right in using my hands. I ate a bit of the rice and some of the tostones, but the fish was the main attraction. The whole dish was served with a tiny ramekin filled with a mixture of chopped sweet peppers and onions drenched in lime. It kind of reminded me of eating fish and attieke. This mixture was what I instinctively poured on my fish and the taste went from 100-100 in a matter of seconds. At this point, I had to order a cold bottle of Coors Light which was served with a chilled glass and a lime wedge.
I forgot all about the side dishes until I had devoured almost the whole fish. I was so full, I felt my stomach would burst open. Imagine your stomach is the size of your fist and I have a tiny fist, so you see 🙂 My stomach was pleased and filled with crispy fried oysters and fish 🙂 I felt so full, I had to take the remaining fish home. I normally wouldn’t eat a fish head, but I wasn’t going to let this particular fish head go just like that. I ate all the pieces and sucked on the bones until they were dry and white. That’s what you do when you are served really good food 🙂
I wouldn’t forget Bahamas fish market in a hurry. The good food and the great conversation with Raphael, Consuela and my waitress; the beautiful Nadia.