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Eat and drink Barbados

15/09/2014

Foodies will find a veritable feast of Caribbean delicacies just waiting to be discovered on the island of Barbados

Caribbean cuisine

 

If you think that Caribbean cuisine is just about jerk seasoning, then think again. The delightfully diverse island of Barbados has some unique dishes of its own and a food history that it’s rightfully proud of.

 

Sugar, spice and all things nice

Like all Caribbean islands, Barbados enjoys a good dose of spice in its cooking. While Jamaica favours the famed jerk seasoning, Barbados has its own spice-based rub: makrut lime alongside a multitude of other herbs and spices including onions, thyme, garlic, coriander, cumin, marjoram and fenugreek, makes Bajan seasoning stand apart from the crowd. It’s used in almost every dish and packs quite a punch when the island’s ubiquitous Scotch Bonnet chilli pepper and lemon juice are added.

 

A fiery obsession

Barbados is the birthplace of rum and you can learn about its history at the atmospheric Sir Frank Hutson Sugar Museum and the giant 17th-century Morgan Lewis Sugar Windmill. You can also visit the Mount Gay rum distillery opposite Brandons Beach, a 30-minute walk from the cruise terminal, which opened in 1703 and was the island’s first commercial distillery. Cocktail bar Weisers, just opposite, is the perfect place to enjoy a classic Bajan rum cocktail.

Or you can visit one of the island’s many rum shops, where people hang out, listen to music and talk cricket. They’ll also serve food cooked to order and you can buy rum by the shot or the bottle. Keep a look out for local labels you can’t get back home. The St Nicholas Abbey distillery is also worth a visit: here, rum is produced on such a small scale that they still stick the labels on each bottle by hand.

 

Cutters to kill for

In Bajan dialect, sandwiches are called cutters and those served at Cutters café on Crane Beach are legendary. Order fried flying fish, roasted lemon chicken breast or baked hickory ham piled high on soft wedges of homemade bread, then sit back and admire the coral pink sands and the surfers riding the huge swells. Sides include macaroni pie and spiced pumpkin soup with green peppercorn paté, both famed dishes in Bajan cuisine.

 

Don’t leave without trying…

Experience the unique atmosphere of one of the island’s outdoor fish fries where you can taste the island’s emblem: flying fish. Explore Oistins, a collection of wooden huts next to the south coast fish market, which dish out bargain-priced paper plates piled with freshly fried fish served with cou-cou (cornmeal and okra).

Barbados has a strong Scottish heritage too, which can be heard in the language and tasted in the food. There’s a Scottish district and a parish of St Andrew, where you’ll probably find that Jug Jug is served – a version of haggis made from peas, corn and meat.

And be sure to try pudding and souse too, a traditional and versatile weekend dish made with black pudding or sweet potato and a pickle of various offcuts of meat in a spicy sauce.

 

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