The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied.
The Most Similar Cuisines to Bahamian Food
The Bahamas is a group of tropical islands in the Atlantic Ocean, off the United States coast. From fresh seafood to vibrant spices, its cuisine is a celebration of the region’s flavors. The five countries with the most similar food all border the Caribbean Sea and have a lot of coastline. They also have have been influenced by African and European culinary traditions. Four of the five countries were once British colonies and use English as their official language.
- Barbados and Bahamas both enjoy fresh seafood, since most of their people live close to the sea. Fried foods are common in both countries. Their cuisines have variations of peas and rice dishes. These countries also consume a lot of tropical fruits like coconuts, bananas, and grapefruits.
- Grenada, like Barbados is another small island nation on this list. Coconut and breadfruit are common ingredients in both Bahamian and Grenadian cuisines. Furthermore, conch is popular in these countries. It is often used in salads or in curries. One-pot dishes that combine various ingredients are also common.
- Costa Rica is the only Latin American country on this list, but its cuisine still has a lot in common with Bahamian cuisine. For example, Costa Rica’s “Gallo Pinto” is quite similar to “Peas and Rice”. One reason is that in the 19th century, many Afro-Caribbeans migrated to Costa Rica for work. The introduction spices, such as allspice, nutmeg, and ginger, contributed to the distinct and aromatic taste that characterizes Costa Rican food.
- Jamaica and Bahamas make ample use of fresh ingredients, aromatic spices, and tropical fruits. One iconic dish in Jamaica is “Jerk Chicken”, however this is also popular in the Bahamas. However, while both countries love seafood, codfish is more prevalent in Jamaican cuisine, while Bahamians tend to eat more conch.
- Trinidad & Tobago and the Bahamas are two of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean. In these countries, coconut milk is often used to add richness and depth to soups, stews, and rice dishes. Their cuisines feature a variety of fish, shrimp, crab, and other seafood in their dishes. However, one major difference is that Trinidad has more of an Indian influence on its cuisine, since many of its people have South Asia heritage.
The Least Similar Cuisines to Bahamian Food
Although the majority of the people in the Bahamas have African ancestry, the five countries with the least similar food to the Bahamas are actually located in Africa. However, in contrast to the Bahamas, they are all landlocked. Furthermore, they are significantly less developed as well. Still, relatively few countries have food that is far different from the Bahamas, due to its diverse influences.
- Chad is a predominately Muslim country in the Sahel region of Africa. Sorghum and millet are the two most commonly consumed grains there. These crops are well adapted to the region’s harsh climate. Beef is the most popular meat, but lamb meat is also often eaten there. Peanuts and sesame seeds are also commonly parts of their cuisine.
- South Sudan is another country that borders Sudan. Cassava accounts for the largest part of the country’s diet, however South Sudanese eat their share of sorghum as well. Beef is the most commonly consumed meat in the South Sudan, while seafood and chicken are more popular in the Bahamas.
- Central African Republic is located directly to the west of South Sudan. It is another former French colony in Africa on this list. Cassava and yam are two of the most commonly eaten staple ingredients in the country. Its food reflects the culinary traditions of various ethnic groups, such as the Baya, Banda, and Sango, among others.
- Burundi is yet another French-speaking African country on this list. It is located in the Great Lakes region of Africa, so freshwater fish are the country’s biggest source of meat. Its diet is in large part based on cassava, sweet potatoes, plantains, and bananas.
- Niger is located in the Sahara Desert, so it has an extremely dry climate, in contrast to the Bahamas. Its two most common staple foods are millet and sorghum, two grains that are rarely consumed in the Bahamas. Some traditional dishes in Niger include tuwo, a porridge made from millet or sorghum, and dambunama.
The Bahamas’ Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Chicken, Pork
Fruit: Grapefruit, Banana
Vegetable: Tomato, Onion
Starch: Wheat, Rice
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.