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Green Sea Turtle Soup

Updated on March 4, 2012

From Stewed Iguana to Turtle Soup

The question I am responding to with this Hub is What is the most unusual thing you have eaten and did you like it?

Actually the most unusual and exotic meal I have sat down and eaten was a plate of stewed iguana at a place called the Bar and Grill on The Spot in the seaside village of Coxen Hole on the Honduran island of Roatan in the Caribbean.

In a word, the iguana tasted like chicken. But it came loaded with numerous tiny bones which I had to sift through to get to the stewed meat.

However, since I have previously published a Hub on that particular dining adventure, I will devote this Hub to the next most unusual thing which I encountered a few days later on the same trip.

Enjoying a Bowl of Green Sea Turtle Soup on Grand Cayman Island.
Enjoying a Bowl of Green Sea Turtle Soup on Grand Cayman Island. | Source

The trip itself was a Caribbean cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ Jewel of the Seas.

We ate almost all of our meals aboard the ship and, while not exotic or unusual, the food aboard the ship was great!

However, it was during our shore excursions where we twice sampled unusual food.

The first time was the above mentioned stewed iguana in Coxen Hole, Honduras and the second was at the restaurant at the Boatswains Beach Turtle Farm on Grand Cayman Island.

Boatswains Beach Turtle Farm

The Boatswains Beach Turtle Farm is a conservation effort aimed at helping to conserve green sea turtles whose numbers have declined and could be threatened with extinction.

Green turtles are bred at the turtle farm and, while many are released into the wild to help replenish the dwindling numbers of these sea turtles, some are butchered and the meat either served to guests at the restaurant, sold to other local restaurants or canned and sold to tourists to take home with them.

Sales of the canned turtle soup are limited due to the fact that it is that, having been declared an endangered species under U.S. law, it is illegal to bring the turtles or products made from these turtles into the United States.

The Turtle Soup was Very Good & I Highly Recommend It

The soup itself was very good and the chunks of turtle meat were quite tasty.

Frankly, if I hadn’t known that turtle soup was their specialty and had simply asked the waiter to bring me a bowl of soup without first looking at the menu, I would have described it as the best chicken vegetable soup I had ever eaten.

I enjoy trying different foods and like variety in the food I eat.

However, different for me is usually a fruit or vegetable I have not yet tried, meat of a traditional variety of farm animal or common wild game and seafood.

I generally don’t go looking for things like bugs and reptiles and my first thought when someone offers or suggests I try bugs or reptiles is to politely decline.

Bar and Grill On The Spot Restaurant in Coxen Hole, Island of Roatan, Honduras in the Caribbean.
Bar and Grill On The Spot Restaurant in Coxen Hole, Island of Roatan, Honduras in the Caribbean. | Source

How I Came to Dine on Iguana

The idea of eating iguana was actually my wife’s, not mine.

The day we visited Roatan Island the weather was overcast with intermittent light rain showers.

After disembarking from the ship that morning, we hired a guide to take us on a two hour overview tour of the island by taxi.

After that tour we set out on our own exploring the town of Coxen Hole where our ship was docked.

Seeing iguana advertised on menus outside restaurants my wife, who occasionally watches the TV food show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman, decided we had to try it.

My preference was to postpone lunch until we were back on board the ship.

However, my darling wife persisted and we ended up heading into a nearby restaurant called the Bar and Grill on The Spot.

The restaurant portion of the building consisted of a corner of the sub-basement of what appeared to be a home.

There were three or four tables with a counter separating an even smaller cooking area.

A boom box on the counter provided background music. We were the only customers at the time and the staff, which consisted of a mother and her young daughter were very friendly and helpful.

I ordered the iguana dinner - stewed iguana with a large side of rice and beans while my wife ordered a small side dish of more traditional food.

While my wife tried one small bite of my iguana, I was the one who ended up eating the exotic dinner which she appeared to enjoy vicariously through me.

Unlike Iguana, I Decided in Advance to Visit the Turtle Farm andHave Their Turtle Soup for Lunch

When we docked in the harbor of George Town on Grand Cayman Island a few days later, I disembarked with the intention of making my way to the Boatswains Beach Turtle Farm and trying their turtle soup.

Having survived eating iguana and feeling that I had makings of a good Hub about that adventure, I was ready for a new dining experience to write about.

Two other things smoothed the way for my deciding to eat turtle soup and neither had anything to do with my wife. In the case of the turtle soup, I was the one that talked her into trying it!

I had once seen a couple of half starved cowboys in a movie catching and roasting an iguana for dinner, I also knew that people like Andrew Zimmerman occasionally ate things like iguana,.

However, that type of creature was not something that people, whom I considered normal, ate or even talked about eating. Turtle soup, on the other hand, was something that I had heard people talk about eating. It was usually described as a delicacy found in upscale restaurants.

I had one other reason for wanting to try turtle soup besides knowing for a long time that turtle meat was eaten and enjoyed by people who had what I considered to be normal eating habits.

Our table mates on the cruise ship had visited Grand Cayman Island a number of times previously and raved about the turtle soup. Their description of the soup and the turtle farm itself that made me decide this was the time to try eating turtle.

After Lunch we Made a Quick Visit to Hell, Located a Short Walk Down the Road, Before Catching a Bus and Returning to Our Ship

So, after touring George Town, which is not very big, we found a bus and made our way to the Boatswains Beach Turtle Farm located a short bus ride north of George Town at 825 NW Point Rd, in the hamlet of West Bay.

We spent two or three hours touring the turtle farm and viewing its many exhibits.

We then enjoyed a leisurely lunch of turtle soup accompanied by bread and a very tasty rum punch.

After lunch we left the turtle farm and strolled up the road a bit further for a visit to Hell before catching a bus back to George Town and our ship.

A
825 NW Point Rd West Bay, Cayman Islands:
825 NW Point Rd, West Bay, Cayman Islands

get directions

Boatswains Beach Cayman Island Turtle Farm

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Turtle soup is a specialty at Brennan's restaurant here in Houston and I can attest to it being delicious. I have no idea what type of turtles are used and never thought to ask...so whether they are green sea turtles or some other type...I wonder if there would be much difference in taste?

      I occasionally watch that TV show about bizzare foods. It is amazing what some people eat! I consider myself to be quite adventurous when it comes to trying new things, but I have my limits. I would try the iguana once if the opportunity presented itself.

      Sounds like you had a fun vacation!

    • rob_allen profile image

      rob_allen 

      6 years ago from MNL, PH

      Hi chuck! I know turtles can be turned into soup. It is very popular in Chinese cooking. But Iguana is kinda odd. I never knew that there are some places in Earth that serve iguanas in a dish. BTW, thanks for sharing this. Now, I'm informed :)

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      6 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Cardisa - thanks for the comment. Actually the iguana wasn't that bad tasting. That being said, I don't intend to order it again.

      You are right about Grand Cayman's beauty. As to Hell, hopefully people will click on the link and see that it is a nearby town and not the real place which is more than a bus ride away.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Chuck, I don't think I would eat the iguana but I have had turtle before and would definitely have the soup. Grand Cayman is known for their turtle meat and it's a beautiful place. I love it there.

      Ha..so you have been to hell...quite fascinating adventures.

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