To truly get the taste of a country, you need to eat like a local. You don’t go looking for familiar fast food restaurants from home, you get into the culture of a destination by making your body one with the land and the sea of the area by consuming local delicacies.
Here’s a list of 8 unique things to eat and drink in Bermuda. It’s a small country, surrounded by ocean, so there is lots of fish, a healthy splash of rum, and oddly, something that you think would be more common in Newfoundland.
The Swizzle Inn on the north east end of Bermuda, just outside of St George’s, conveniently has a bus stop right outside its patio. The motto for the joint is “Swizzle inn, swagger out” which makes the stop quite convenient. Rum Swizzles are typically made with rum, a variety of fruit juices, and a splash of grenadine. The mix depends on the bartender. The Swizzle Inn sold its first Rum Swizzle in 1932 and it quickly became Bermuda’s national drink.
Dark N Stormy
While the Rum Swizzle gets all the headlines, I far prefer the Dark N Stormy as my cocktail of choice in Bermuda. It’s a simple mix of dark rum (usually Gosling’s Black Seal rum) and ginger beer with a slice of lime. The cloudiness of the cocktail evokes memories of long nights spent inside waiting out Atlantic storms.
Wahoo is a subtropical sportfish found around the world. It may not be unique to Bermuda, but it is a fish that locals love and you’ll find on many menus and restaurant names. It’s a firm, dense whitefish that is great grilled.
You’ll see rum mentioned a lot in this list of things to eat and drink in Bermuda. It even makes an appearance in desserts. Rum cake is a popular souvenir of a visit to the islands, and only one can lay claim to being made in Bermuda. The Dockyard Company, located at the south western dockyards area frequented by cruise ships, is where you can grab one. They come in many flavours from pina colada to chocolate to rum swizzle and they all pack a pungent punch. Go for the smaller size and come back for seconds if you love it.
This spicy tomato based chowder is likely the the ultimate Bermuda dish. It’s a blend of seafood, spices, and vegetables that makes it very similar to a gumbo. Each restaurant will have its own twist on the recipe, but all will be served with the island’s own Outerbridge’s Original Sherry Peppers, which add flavour and fire to the mix. Nevermind the ‘fresh ground pepper’ here, waiters will often offer you a drizzle of black rum for your bowl when they serve it. If they do, say “yes, please!”
From no-frills joints to fine dining bistros, the fish sandwich is a menu staple in Bermuda. The basic recipe is usually the same island-wide: deep-fried fillets of fish with tartar sauce piled with lettuce, tomato, grilled Bermuda onions, cheese, hot sauce, and coleslaw. Sounds like your basic fish burger, doesn’t it? Except in Bermuda they like to have it on raisin bread.
Winter is off-season in Bermuda for tourists, but high season for the succulent spiny lobster. These crustaceans don’t have claws, are smaller than the ones you’re used to in the north and have a sweeter taste. The Lobster Pot in Hamilton will serve them up however you like, in whatever size you like. These guys get big, having half a medium sized one broiled will be just fine.
Back in the day, Bermuda did a lot of trade with Newfoundland. Being British colonies, they had a lot in common. Salted codfish found its way south in the 18th century when it was brought to the island to feed Bermudian slaves. Now, on Sunday mornings, locals all over the island sit down for boiled or steamed salt cod with boiled potatoes, onions, and sliced bananas, topped off with a hard-boiled egg.