With its colourful, flavourful cuisine, it’s no surprise that Barbados is referred to as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. Read on to find out more, including how you can save up to £1,012 per couple on a 7-night trip this year.
Famous for its turquoise-blue seas and lush vegetation, Barbados is a feast for the senses, and, thanks to its diverse cuisine, a feast for your taste buds too. Whether you’re after traditional street food or beachfront fine dining, Barbados has plenty to tantalise the taste buds, with influences from Europe, Asia and the US, all delivered with a special Bajan twist. Its national dish, flying fish (usually fried or steamed) with cou-cou (corn meal and okra), can be found all over the island, but for an all-round taste of what the culinary capital of the Caribbean has to offer, here are some other dishes to look out for…
NOSE TO TAIL
To get a true flavour of Barbados, try to seek out a traditional Bajan buffet. Go along with an open mind and an empty stomach, and sample Bajan favourites such as sweet potato pie, pepperpot (a thick, spicy meat stew) and fried flying fish. For an authentic buffet experience, visit Fisherpond Plantation House or Brown Sugar Restaurant on the south coast.
Another local delicacy, and a Saturday staple in Barbados, is pudding and souse, which is pork meat pickled in lime juice, cucumber and onion (souse) served with grated breadfruit-stuffed pig intestine (pudding) and, sometimes, ‘with features’ (the snout and ears etc). Visit The Village Bar at Lemon Arbour in St John to enjoy this delicacy with the locals.
For something a little lighter, try a cutter – essentially a sandwich but made with a thick salt-bread bun – filled with anything from cheese or egg to fish, and always dressed with a generous dollop of Bajan pepper sauce. Try the famous blue marlin cutter at Cuz’s Fish Shack, a tiny wooden hut on Pebbles Beach in Bridgetown that was listed in Newsweek’s 101 Best Places to Eat Around the World in 2012.
Another Bajan favourite is a deep-fried fish cake, served piping hot and dipped in a peppery marie rose sauce. You’ll find Hot Legendary Fish Cakes stands all over Barbados, serving up these increibly moreish, crispy treats for only 25p a pop.
If you’re after a really buzzing street-food experience, head to Oistins on the south coast, where, every Friday, they hold a fish fry, with street vendors cooking up a variety of seafood dishes, including the famous flying fish with cou-cou.
Barbados is rightly proud of its rich food and drink culture, and, every November, the island holds a festival to celebrate its gastronomic talents. Established in 2010, the annual Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival welcomes international and local chefs, as well as wine experts and mixologists, to celebrate the island’s colourful flavours. Along with cooking demonstrations, there’ll be plenty of rum and wine events, and the opportunity for visitors to sample local specialities such as flying fish and Mount Gay rum.
The Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival runs from 17 to 20 November 2016. For more information visit foodwinerum.com
Island flavours: six foodie hangouts in Barbados
Barbados is home to more than 100 restaurants, and its renowned fine-dining establishments, such as The Cliff, Cin Cin and The Tides, are well worth a visit. But for something a bit different, here’s our pick of the island’s best culinary hotspots…
Tucked away in St James, this trendy bistro has a fun vibe and one of the best cocktail lists on the island. Try the Basilique cocktail and the honey-glazed salmon skewers. scarletbarbados.com
The Fish Pot
This little beachfront restaurant is part of a family-run hotel in a quiet fishing village on the north-west coast. Head there for lunch and enjoy the long, scenic drive up the coast before sitting down to sample the catch of the day. littlegoodharbourbarbados.com
Café Luna at little Arches
Little Arches is a boutique hotel on a white-sand beach (known locally as Miami Beach), and its quaint rooftop restaurant is perfect for an intimate dinner date. Go on a Thursday or Friday evening, when the sushi chef is in residence. littlearches.com
This buzzing restaurant on the south-coast boardwalk is perfect for groups, and offers an array of delicious tapas dishes, including deep-fried calamari and Thai fishcakes, alongside an extensive wine and cocktail list. tapasbarbados.com
Patisserie Bistro Flindt
With a café in Holetown and a takeaway on the south coast, this popular lunch spot offers healthy, light and tasty dishes (such as basil chicken salad) as well as an array of tempting, more sinful, desserts. flindtbarbados.com
This hip, music-themed bar and restaurant on the south coast pulls in the crowds, particularly on a Friday and Saturday night. Its recently revamped Chopping Board Kitchen turns out delicious soul food, including the famous Mojoan Burger.
The re-DISCOVER programme
Visitors to Barbados can now enjoy the island’s first-class food and drink for less, thanks to the re-DISCOVER programme, which offers discounts on lunches as well as a special BDS $99 (£35) three-course dinner menu (including wine) at many of the island’s top restaurants. re-discover.com
SAVE UP TO £1,012 PER COUPLE ON A SEVEN-NIGHT TRIP THIS YEAR
Where: Four-star Sugar Cane Club Hotel & Spa, one Garden View Suite
How much: From £999 per person
When: Trips booked departing on 5, 10-12, 16-19 May, 6-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-29 Sept and 3-6, 10-12 Oct 2016
Tour Ref: CB0043
Flights: Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick
Also includes: A glass-bottom boat trip, a 30-minute spa message per room per stay, upgrade to All-Inclusive from an extra £399pp and an upgrade to Premium Economy from an extra £399pp. Book by 15 May 2016
This article was first published in the spring 2016 edition of Squaremeal Lifestyle magazine