Totally Barbados highly recommends the infamous Oistins Friday Night Fish Fry. It’s an entirely authentic Bajan experience.
You can bet you won’t be on the island very long before someone recommends the infamous Oistins Friday night Fish Fry. It’s a ‘must visit‘ during your stay in Barbados.
Oistins is a historic town located in the parish of Christ Church, on the south coast of Barbados. This quaint little village saw the battle between the Royalists and the Roundheads resulting in the Charter of Barbados (Treaty of Oistins) being drawn up on 11th of January 1652 and then signed between locals and The Crown. From this came the establishment of the Barbadian Parliament – the third oldest in the Commonwealth.
Today, Oistins remains a bustling fishing town, with the Oistins fish market open seven days a week and selling the freshest catch of the day. It is also where the annual Oistins Fish Festival is held and is home to the beautiful Oistins Beach.
The town has a unique charm and is locally renowned as a lively Friday night hotspot.
From around 6 pm onwards, locals and visitors alike come together in Oistins to enjoy some of the freshly cooked fish, sample the local rum and enjoy the party vibes and music. There are shacks lined up next to the fish market selling newly grilled fish, salad, and the traditional Bajan dish of macaroni pie, amongst other things.
Oistins is a no-frills experience, but one bound to leave a lasting impression. Seating is on picnic benches dotted around the car park, entertainment is free, and the food is cheap – around BBD 25 per plate.
A DJ is playing a variety of tunes to get you up and dancing the night away under the stars. At one end of the compound, the music caters towards the older generation. While the other purpose plays a more current mix of music – anything from disco through to reggae, to hip hop and all the latest chart-toppers. You’ll see break dancers and even a Michael Jackson impersonator with all the rhythmic moves of the late great King of Pop.
Set up just behind all the action, you’ll also find art and craft stalls selling locally produced goods at reasonable prices. You can find handmade bags, beach wraps, clothes, jewelry, and other souvenirs or unique gifts for loved ones.
So grab yourself a table, order a plate of food, and get your dancing shoes ready for a night of fun and frivolity at the Oistins Friday night Fish Fry!
Hint: Although Friday night is the traditional night for the Fish Fry, Oistins is busy most nights of the week. Locals sell freshly cooked Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Kingfish and Flying Fish, for you to sample away from the hustle and bustle of Friday’s festivities.
Wait, There’s More!
If you’re looking for a fish fry that’s a little more ‘low key’ than Oistins on the south coast, head to the north of the island. As you get to Speightstown in St. Peter, keep heading north, and you will reach a fishing village known as Half Moon Fort in the parish of St. Lucy.
The Merton’s Fish Fry is an excellent alternative to the Oistins Fish Fry and is also a hive of activity on Friday or Saturday nights.
Once again, this is a no-frills experience, but you can enjoy freshly caught fish, chicken, or pork cooked by the roadside. There are small wooden stalls, set up in between make-shift bars, for you to relax, eat and enjoy the atmosphere.
Once you arrange some tables and chairs, order some drinks, and decide on your cuisine of choice – fish, chicken or pork with a selection of sides of macaroni pie, chips, breadfruit, eddoes, rice, and peas. You can kick back and enjoy the perfect blend of local character mixed with foreign charm.
Tip: Other fish fry alternatives include Six Men’s Bay in St. Peter and Baxters Road on the outskirts of Bridgetown. Again, both are no frills but allow you to mix it with the locals and sample a fresh Bajan dinner menu.
Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow their businesses online with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.