Barbados is a land flowing with mouthwatering delicacies that are specially prepared with unique spices and flavors by the Bajan Chefs. These cuisines have much influence from Africa, India, and England. They are prepared with fresh local produce. The Barbadian delicacies range from Bajan Macaroni Pie and Fish Cakes to Breadfruit, Mahi Mahi, Conkies, coconut turnovers, as well as the national dish, which is flying fish and cou cou. In a non-hierarchical format, the best dishes to try in Barbados are below (in no particular order:
1. Flying Fish
Barbados is popularly known as “the land of the flying fish.” The fish is a national symbol and is common to many tropical seas surrounding Barbados. The “flying fish” is a coveted delicacy that is tasty and slightly oily, with a taste similar to that of a sardine. It can be shallow fried in soft breadcrumbs with Bajan seasoning. It can also be steamed and smothered in a tasty gravy made from tomatoes, butter, onion, fresh herbs, and a pint of lime juice. As part of the Barbadian national dish, flying fish can be served with a mound of Cou Cou. Read further to know about the Cou Cou.
2. Mahi Mahi
Commonly known as dolphinfish or dorado, mahi-mahi is a moist, firm-fleshed, flaky, tender, and deliciously flavored cuisine. It can be broiled, grilled, baked, fried or pan-seared and drizzled with buttery lemon sauce. At times, mahi-mahi is served with green salad or vegetable and bread, mashed potatoes or rice.
Mahi-mahi is an excellent source of low-fat protein. It also has low sodium content and is rich in Omega 3, as well as iron. It supplies essential minerals and vitamins. Make sure you taste this cuisine and you will have a ‘mahilitious’ stay in Barbados.
3. Cou Cou
Served with flying fish and lots of gravy, cou cou is part of the national dish of Barbados. It is a savory cornmeal porridge that is similar to grits or polenta but is unique in taste. Cou cou is made with cornmeal, okra, onion, butter, water, and salt. It can be served with cucumber salad and a saucy stew of meat, fish, or poultry. Cornmeal is greatly used in Caribbean delicacies, but the cou cou has its origins in West Africa.
4. Bajan Macaroni Pie
The Bajan Macaroni Pie is one of the best dishes to try in Barbados; it is the ultimate comfort food and spicy casserole dish made with macaroni tubes, milk, cheese, flour, butter, salt, spices, and pepper. It is seasoned and baked to perfection and its side ingredient is yellow mustard. This Bajan luncheon is a side dish that can be served with chicken, fish, pork, stew or any other thing of your choice.
Conkie, popularly known as a favorite Barbadian delicacy, is a holiday dessert reminiscent that is traditionally made in November to commemorate the independence of Barbados. It is made with cornflour, sweet potato, pumpkin, sugar, coconut, raisins, spices, egg, milk, salt, and melted butter or margarine. Fresh green banana leaves are traditionally used to wrap the conkies. This dish is quite heavy so that an individual won’t need more than one at a time.
6. Fish Cakes
Fish cake is a light and airy culinary dish made with seafood or filleted fish that is ground or minced and mixed with flour, egg, pepper, thyme, chopped parsley, and marjoram. It is then fried. Fish cake is a traditional dish that is best served hot with delicious sweet bakes or sandwiched in a salt bread. They can be used as appetizers at restaurants or served at classic cocktail parties and rum shops. Fish cakes can be enjoyed when dipped in Barbados pepper sauce or Marie Rose sauce that is made by mixing ketchup, mayonnaise, and pepper. One of the best places in Barbados for fish cakes is definitely Oasis Beach Bar!
The Breadfruit is a very nutritious and starchy plant that can be gotten anywhere on the island of Barbados. It can be grilled, baked, boiled, or deep-fried. It can also be crushed or made into chips. The breadfruit is a very significant side dish.
8. Pudding and Souse
As Bajans are commonly called “pork mouths,” many of them have fallen in love with ‘pudding and souse,’ which has become a traditional Saturday lunch staple in Barbados. The souse is basically pickled pork, and the pudding is steamed sweet potato. The dish contains a mixture of Bajan spices and is traditionally served in a casing of pig intestines (optional). Pudding and souse can be served with pickled breadfruit. At times, the meal is characteristically dark brown in color and it can be obtained from Village Bar at Lemon Arbour.
9. Rum Punch
As the name implies, rum punch is a rum-based cocktail. It is believed that Bajan rum is the best in the Caribbean, and the rum punch is made with Mount Gay Rum. The recipe for the rum punch is contained in the rhyme: “One of sour (lime juice), two of sweet (simple syrup), three of strong (rum) and four of weak (water). A dash of bitters (Angostura Bitters) and a sprinkle of spice (nutmeg), serve well chilled with plenty of ice.” Give it a try and the savory taste of the Bajan rum punch will never leave your mouth.
10. Sea Eggs
The Barbadian sea eggs are also known as sea urchins. There are seventeen different species of these around the pristine coastal waters of Barbados, but only the steamed white sea eggs have become a cherished cuisine by the Bajans. They are harvested in seasons to prevent the extinction of the species. The sea eggs are sold in local fish markets around Bridgetown port. They can be prepared by frying, stewing, or sautéing. Some people even eat them raw.
So, whether you are looking for gourmet food or local specialties, Barbados is an island that will never disappoint you. There is always more to explore. Other Barbadian delicacies include the brown stew chicken, rum cake, bakes, jug jug, barbecued pigtails, peas ‘n’ rice, cassava pone, amongst others.