Archive for the ‘shacks’ Tag

Chicken shacks, the islands’ KFC

There is something I’ve been missing lately something, I can’t get here in the U.S. because it’s uniquely indigenous to the Caribbean, but I will be talking about The Bahamas, specifically, my island…Nassau. Well, some of the stuff can be made but it won’t taste the same if it’s not from what we call a “Chicken Shack”. A chicken shack is a small hut, building or in one case, I saw an old school bus transformed into a little sit-down diner, where you can get food ranging from burgers to seafood.

Honey Dew Cafe

Blue Food Hut

All of these “shacks” or “shanties” have interesting names like, “Honey Dew Cafe”, “Rosalies”, “The Bamboo Shack”(one my favorites) or “Dirtys”. You can get $0.99 breakfast and choose from a variety of dishes on a menu that can include an egg and cheese sandwich, fried bologna sandwiches or tuna salad and grits. You can get lunch or dinner where the menu is a cornucopia of island dishes, as well as some America style food tweaked to make it our own. Many of the shacks are open from 12 noon til 3am!

The most popular thing you can get at these places is called a, “chicken in da bag”, and it’s exactly what it is. It’s fried chicken, your choice of breast or thigh, a mound of fries and a dinner roll. They ask you if you want it “all-the-way” which basically means hot sauce and ketchup. They wrap it in wax paper or aluminum foil(wax is most popular) and shove it in a brown paper bag! All of this cost between $4.50-$5.50, depending on what part of the island you bought it from.

Big Mama's Takeaway

If you go to the “Fish Fry” in Nassau, it’s like a Crawfish Boil minus the crawfish, that’s held on the beach and, is on the western side of the island. There is a light house(I don’t know how long it’s been there) and canons left by Blackbeard,an English pirate that made Nassau his stomping grounds during the golden age of piracy. Argh! Surprisingly, I remember some of this stuff from Caribbean history! Fish is caught daily cooked anyway fried, boiled or grilled. Local staple “conch” which I might add, is definitely an acquired taste! The most popular way to cook it is deep fried. If I eat it, I cover mine with lots of ketchup. My mom like to steam hers. Anyways, conch is quite expensive on it’s own and lots of people never knew there was an animal in the conch shell! LOL.

The people that work at these places are very friendly. They are usually old ladies and their sons. I’ve even seen a kid I don’t know maybe 12 or 13, free diving for lobsters and fish, bringing it back on dock, clean and cook it in front of my eyes! There are always stories to tell and they are usually tales of pirates, treasure hunting and voodoo. Ahh! Island life. Simple, slow-paced and a friendly atmosphere makes you wanna stay forever.

Traveling can be…no IS expensive especially, if you don’t really know where to go. These huts are made to make things easy and affordable so, if you can’t get a good seafood dinner or whatever you like from an average restaurant which, can run you about $12 to $15. Hop in your rental car and drive down the road on any island, and stop by a shack and get some food. I guess you can liken these to the silver carts on the streets of NYC or other major citys in the U.S. that sells hot dogs and pretzels. There’s something about street vendor food that is SOOO good and hard to resist!