Barbados is a small island nation located in the Caribbean region of North America. Nestled in the Atlantic Ocean, it forms the easternmost part of the Lesser Antilles group of islands. Like most islands, Barbados enjoys a warm climate throughout the year which attracts hordes of tourists. The abundance of tourists ensures that there is no shortage of accommodation options in this island nation; they can take their pick from a variety of hotels and luxury villas which will act as their homes in Barbados during the trip.
If you want to get away from the chill of winter and want to spend some time basking under the sun in a beautiful Caribbean beach, Barbados is the ideal destination for you. When you’re in Barbados, you’ll never run out of things to do. You can surf in their turquoise-colored tropical waters, explore their diverse flora and fauna, and visit the museum to learn more about the history and culture of the place or go on an adventure in a submarine to get a closer look at exotic fishes and coral.
A trip to a new place is incomplete without trying out the local delicacies. Aptly called the ‘Culinary Capital of Caribbean’, Barbados offers a rich and diverse local cuisine for the tourists to explore. The Barbadian cuisine, also known as the Bajan cuisine, is a unique blend of elements common to African, Indian, Irish, Creole and British cuisines. The food options are endless, and you may not get the time to try each and every one of them. To help you out, we have compiled a list of 8 lip-smacking dishes which are a must-try on your visit to Barbados. They are as follows:
- Flying fish: Barbados is often referred to as ‘The Land of the flying fish’ and accounts for almost 60% of the fish on the island. One of its national dishes, flying fish is an important part of Barbados’ cultural identity and features heavily on Barbadian coins and artworks. This delicious fish can be fried, steamed or pickled and is usually sprinkled with special Bajan seasoning to make it more tempting.
- Cou-Cou: The second part of its national dish, cou-cou can be prepared from cornmeal and okra, or breadfruit and green bananas. It is topped with tomatoes, onions, and peppers. This mouth-watering cou-cou preparation makes the perfect accompaniment to a dish of flying fish.
- Pudding & Souse: If you love to eat pork, make sure that you add pudding & souse to your trip’s bucket list. The ‘souse’ is essentially pickled pork which is made from various offcuts of pork meat and is served alongside ‘pudding’ made from spiced sweet potatoes mixed with onions, salt, and pepper and stuffed inside a pig’s intestine. This dish provides a unique combination of flavours and is eaten as a Saturday lunch staple by the locals.
- Cutters: A popular snack food in Barbados, cutters can be said as a more flavoursome version of our sandwich. The Bajan cutter sandwich substitutes a traditional bread with a delectable salt bread and fills it up with your choice of filling – fish, egg, ham, pork, cheese – and serves it with some Bajan pepper space. This dish is the perfect snack to satiate your hunger while you’re on the go.
- Mauby: Some days, the temperature in Barbados can be too high and the heat can be hard to bear, especially if you’re not accustomed to such high temperatures. To beat the heat, sip on a glass of Mauby to quench your thirst and cool down. It is a traditional Bajan drink made from the bark of the Mauby tree native to the island. It is brewed with cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg and cloves and sweetened to taste. It possesses a unique bittersweet flavour and leaves a bitter aftertaste. Mauby makes a great accompaniment to all the other Barbadian dishes.
- Sea-egg (sea urchin): As many as 17 different species of sea urchins can be found in the tropical waters of Barbados, but its steamed White Sea urchin which has carved out space for itself as one of the favourite dishes in the Bajan cuisine. They are picked up directly from the ocean floor and can also be eaten raw or in a fried form.
- Conkies: Conkies are a traditional Bajan dessert that can be found on the island from the time of Barbados’ Independence Day celebrations in November. The primary ingredients include cornmeal, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, raisins and coconut sprinkled with Bajan spices. It is steamed and wrapped in banana leaf before serving.
- Black cake (or Rum cake): Very similar to a Christmas fruitcake, the black cake substitute brandy with dark rum and adds dried fruits like dried cherries, spices, raisins, nuts, and prunes. The sweetness of the cake mixed with the bitterness of rum makes it a delectable dessert.
These are the 8 Barbadian dishes which you should definitely try out to gain the complete Barbados experience. But Barbados has a lot to offer in terms of their food options. Trying all the amazing cuisines in one visit is not possible, but you can try the best ones. You can also speak to the locals and try to find out more about their local delicacies. If you love to eat and drink, Barbados will not disappoint you. Read more exciting travel stories at my travel blog.