Conch is a common name that is applied to a number of different medium to large-sized sea snails or their shells. The term generally applies to large snails whose shell has a high spire and a noticeable siphonal canal (in other words, the shell comes to a noticeable point at both ends). In North America, a conch is often identified as a queen conch, found off the coast of Florida. Queen conches are valued for fish bait, and are also known as seafood. The meat of conchs is eaten raw in salads, or cooked, as in burgers, chowders, fritters, and gumbos. All parts of the conch meat are edible. Some people, however, find only the white meat appetizing.
In the West Indies (Jamaica in particular), local people eat conch in soups, stews and curries. Restaurants all over the islands serve this particular meat. In The Bahamas, conch is typically served in the form of fritters, eaten raw or as salads. Conch is considered the country’s main dish. In the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Haiti, conch is commonly eaten in curries or in a spicy soup. It is locally referred to as lambi. In The Turks and Caicos Islands, the Annual Conch Festival is held in November each year, located at the Three Queen’s Bar/Restaurant in Blue Hills. Local restaurateurs compete for the best and most original conch dishes, that are then judged by international chefs. Free sampling of the dishes follows the judging; along with those festivities, other competitions, events, and music performances occur well into the evening. In Puerto Rico, conch is served as a ceviche, often called ensalada de carrucho (conch salad), consisting of raw conch marinated in lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, green peppers, and onions. It is also used to fill empanadas. In Panama, conch is known as cambombia and is often served as a ceviche known as ceviche de cambombia consisting of raw conch marinated in lime juice, chopped onions, finely chopped habaneros, and often vinegar. In East Asian cuisines, this seafood is often cut into thin slices and then steamed or stir-fried.