The 34th annual Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival brought the flavors of the Bahamas to Coconut Grove this weekend, as people ate and danced in the streets.
The festival commemorates the rich Bahamian history that is part of Miami. As far back as the 1800s, Bahamian craftsmen and laborers came to Miami to find work and homes, many settling down in Coconut Grove. In 1976, the festival was founded to preserve and celebrate the food, music and culture of the Bahamas.
The festival featured colorful junkanoo dancers, music (with the largest speaker system we've ever seen outside of a major concert), and a children's area, but what people came really was the food.
Chicken, ribs, and fish were grilled in the open air but conch reigned queen. Queen Conch, the giant Bahamian snail and a food favorite on the island nation, was served any way imaginable - fried, grilled, cracked and in conch salad -- made to order by fast hands.
The Bahamian chile was used in most foods, a tiny little red pepper that packs a punch -- 95,000 out of 110,000 on the Scoville Heat Scale. That's about ten times the heat of a chipotle pepper. Was this a ploy to sell more beer and frozen lemonade? We're not sure, but we enjoyed every minute of the music, the food and the heat.