Before visiting the Turks and Caicos Island of Providenciales, I had only heard of conch shells from SpongeBob Squarepants. Unfortunately, the show mispronounced the shellfish: it's correctly pronounced "con-k" not "con-ch." It also fails to mention that this sea animal is very much edible—some advice that SpongeBob and Patrick could've used while stranded in the Kelp Forest.

In addition its jaw-dropping terrain, Providenciales is home to thousands of wild conch, as well as the world's only Conch farm. It's impossible to take a trip without tasting this local favorite. Check out the seven ways I ate conch during my visit, and be sure to add them to your bucket list.

1. Fresh Caught Conch

cheese, sandwich, bacon, bread, ham
Meredith Davin

If you can manage a long day under the sun, take a boat tour where you'll get to snorkel and see the sea creatures up close. Our tour guides dove down and caught some conch for us. It doesn't get fresher than this, folks.

2. Conch Ceviche

Meredith Davin

On the island of Providenciales, ceviche is always served with chips: from banana chips to cool ranch Doritos. Often spiced with black pepper and mixed with with tomatoes or bell peppers, this would be an easy one to DIY.

3. Conch Tart

pastry, vegetable, bread
Meredith Davin

Don't be fooled by its size, this bite-sized appetizer packs a punch with spices, black beans, and cheese. The Pavilion Restaurant at the Somerset serves them during their happy hour. Be careful not to ruin your dinner, though.

3. Conch Fritters

meat, lettuce, chicken, vegetable, salad, pork
Meredith Davin

This delicacy can be found at the Somerset On Grace Bay's pool front lunch restaurant. These poppers are full of flavor, especially when dipped into a red pepper aioli. Perfect as an appetizer or a main course if you're not feeling too hungry.

5. Curried Conch with Coconut Rice

curry, chicken, rice
Meredith Davin

Located right on the beach, 72 Degrees West at the Palms Hotel is the perfect spot for a sunset dinner. Classic Indian flavors are infused into this conch dish with Caribbean flair. If you're a fan of curry, you'd be a fan of this dinner.   

6. Conch Empanadas

salmon, fish
Meredith Davin

A Turks and Caicos Islands twist on a Latin American staple, these conch empanadas can be found at Hemingway's, another beach front favorite. Go for this dish if you're feeling hesitant about conch. The flavors and texture are almost entirely masked by the crunch of the warm, fried dough.

7. Conch Salad

vegetable, tomato, ceviche, pepper, parsley, meat, salsa
Meredith Davin

To make conch salad, fresh conch is chopped into bite-sized pieces then paired with peppers, tomatoes, spices, and sometimes lettuce (but sometimes not). Finished off with a lemon juice dressing, this salad makes a perfect side.

water, milk, coffee
Meredith Davin

Finally, make sure to pair your conch dish with some local beer. A cold Turk's Head Island Draught is remarkably refreshing on a hot summer day. Can I go back now?