Eat Your Way Through Barbados By Trying These Foods
By Kelsey Marie
Barbados is an island known for gorgeous white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, rum, Crop Over Festival and the Queen of Crop Over slay — Rihanna.
What many sleep on, though, is the food. Did you know that Barbados is regarded as the ‘Culinary Capital of the Caribbean’ by restaurant insiders?
Bajan food tells the rich history of the island through the incorporation of various cultures that have influenced the island throughout time.
Meals in Barbados are made with fresh locally-sourced produce, an abundance of ingredients, and herbs & spices — creating the distinct Bajan flavor.
As with most places when traveling; get to know Barbados through your tastebuds.
These foods, you have to try!
Cou Cou & Flying Fish
This dish is an absolute must when exploring Barbados — it’s also their national dish. Cou Cou is made of cornmeal grain, fresh okra, and is similar to grits. Flying fish is deliciously stewed with onion, garlic, thyme, tomatoes, and pepper. This fish can also be prepared fried, steamed, baked or pickled.
Fish is an important staple in Bajan cuisine. You can find fish cakes at pretty much every food establishment on the island — whether it’s a high-end restaurant or a street food vendor. These bite-sized delicacies are made with codfish, herbs & spices and then deep-fried until golden brown.
A cutter is the Bajan version of a sandwich. Instead of regular bread; salt bread is used and the sandwich is filled with savory ingredients such as fish, ham, pork, cheese…etc. For a kick of spice, sprinkle a few drops of Bajan pepper sauce.
Rumor is: the favorite version of a cutter is called ‘The Bread and Two’ which is made with salt bread, two fish cakes, a slice of cheese and pepper sauce.
Pudding & Souse
This dish is a traditional Sunday household staple in Barbados. Souce is made with parts of the pig which is picked — including pig feet, snout or ears. Pudding is made of pounded sweet potato, onions, salt and pepper. It is then stuffed into a sausage casing. Together, pudding & souse are a heavenly match.
Much like macaroni & cheese, macaroni pie is a comfort food and is widely loved across the island. It is made with tubed macaroni noodles, cheese, herbs & spices, onion, ketchup, and yellow mustard. This gooey, flavorful dish is often accompanied by meat or flying fish.
This dish is traditionally made around Christmas — so if you’re in Barbados during the holidays, you’re in for a treat. Jug jug is made with mashed pigeon peas, pork, beef, hot peppers, onions, corn, thyme, and occasionally includes chopped okra. It is accompanied by boiled ham.
These are small delicacies eaten with fishcakes. Bakes are made with flour, salt, and water. Unlike its name, it is fried into golden perfection.
Rice & Peas
This is a popular dish amongst West Indians. It is made from rice and pigeon peas and is served with most meals.
Bajans have their own distinct spices for their curry which gives their chicken curry dish an earthy, spicy flavor. It is commonly served over roti.
This fruit is abundant on the island. It is prepared boiled, baked, mashed, fried and even made into chips. It is both nutritious and tasty.
This hearty, stew-like dish is made up of pork, beef, lamb and seasoned with spices. You can eat pepperpot with rice or bread and butter.
Contrary to the name, there is no dairy included in this food. Instead, it is a jelly and usually spread on salt bread.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try sea eggs — and this time, it’s exactly as it sounds. Sea eggs are sea urchin which are taken from the ocean floor and then fried, stewed or eaten raw. It’s definitely an acquired taste.
Sweet bread is made by taking regular bread and sweetening it with coconut, sugar, raisins and dried cherries. Enjoy a slice with a cup of tea or coffee while watching the epic Bajan sunset.
Bajan Black Cake
This is a traditional Christmas staple in Barbados with a boozy kick. Black cake is made with fruits like prunes, raisins and dried cherries. Bajan rum is added, making it a distinct Bajan black cake.
This gummy sweet treat is made from cassava root and sometimes carrots or raisins are added. It’s not as rich as most Bajan desserts, so this is the one to try if you’re not big on decadent desserts.
This snack is traditionally eaten in celebration of Independence Day celebrations in Barbados. Conkies are made with flour, coconut, sugar, pumpkin, and spices. The ingredients are then wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed.
If your mouth is now watering (like ours) — book your ticket and taste Bajan flavor!
Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.