Bermuda's Cuisine: Local Specialties Fish Seafood
It's been said that Bermudian food is as diverse as the island's history and heritage. What better way to experience Bermuda's mosaic of cultural influences than through its food? Get a taste of these island specialties, from rockfish to rum cake.
The flavours of Bermuda are diverse, blending culinary influences, ingredients and techniques from the Caribbean, British, West African, Native American and Portuguese. Sample these classic Bermudian specialties and check out the inventive spins that chefs throughout the island are bringing to the table.
You'll taste the various ethnic influences in these typical Bermudian dishes.
The Codfish Breakfast
On Sunday mornings, join locals for a hearty codfish breakfast – a heaping plate full of boiled or steamed salt cod with boiled potatoes, onions, sliced bananas, a hard-boiled egg and, occasionally, avocado slices. It's topped with a tomato or butter onion sauce. Bouchée, Paraquet and Speciality Inn are good bets to give this much beloved breakfast a try.
If there’s a quintessential Bermuda dish, it’s this – an aromatic blend of seafood and spice that often includes potatoes, tomatoes, onions, carrots, green peppers and celery. You might think of it as Bermudian gumbo. Every recipe has is slightly different, but the one thing they all share is the island’s own Outerbridge’s Original Sherry Peppers and black seal rum, which add the chowder’s distinctive flavour and fire.
Bermuda Fish Cake
A cake version of the traditional Bermuda breakfast of codfish and potatoes, this dish also incorporates peas, rice, thyme, onion and crispy bacon mashed together and flattened to make patty-like fish cake.
The Fish Sandwich
From no-frills joints to fine dining bistros, the fish sandwich is a perennial menu staple in Bermuda. The basic recipe is usually the same island-wide: deep-fried fillets of fish with tartar sauce piled on raisin bread or whole-wheat toast. Go for “the works" and add on lettuce, tomato, grilled Bermuda onions, cheese, hot sauce and coleslaw. An off-the-beaten-path gem, Art Mel’s Spicy Dicy is known for offering one of the best fish sandwiches in Bermuda (and some say, the world).
This local favourite is also known as Hop ‘n’ John or Peas ‘n’ Rice, depending on who you’re talking to. It's a savoury dish made with black-eyed peas, sliced sausage, bacon or chicken, Bermuda onion and a heap of brown rice, seasoned with garlic and thyme. It’s often served on special occasions and makes a regular appearance at Bermuda picnics. Visit any restaurant serving local dishes and Hoppin’ John will likely be on the menu.
Black Rum Cake
The moist, buttery Bermuda black rum cake is a perfect finale to any meal. Not lucky enough to be visiting Bermuda? You can have a black rum cake delivered to your door by Horton’s Ltd., who delivers worldwide.
Fish & Seafood
These fish and crustaceans will tantalize your tastebuds as they take centre stage in Bermuda’s appetite-pleasing dishes.
From September through March, you'll find spiny lobsters in nearly every restaurant such as Lobster Pot, Wahoo's and Blû along with grocery stores on the island. This delicacy is smaller than its Maine counterpart and doesn’t have claws, so most of the tender, flavourful meat is found in the tail. Bermuda chefs often mix spiny lobster into chowder, tacos and pasta sauces, but it’s just as delicious with a brushing of butter.
Rockfish (Black Grouper)
In Bermuda, rockfish refers to black grouper, a staple of island recipes and menus. Try it “Bermuda style” – pan-fried with grilled bananas and toasted almonds in a lemon butter sauce.
Yellowfin tuna are a mainstay of Bermuda’s waters in the spring and fall; the largest caught here weigh around 200 pounds. Made into steaks and pan-seared, the fish is a favourite of both locals and visitors.
Found in tropical seas all over the world, the glasseye (also known as the catalufa) is not actually a snapper; it’s a member of the bigeye family of fishes. Divers love to see colourful glasseyes in Bermuda’s reefs – and diners relish the buttery smooth flavour of the fish’s white flesh.