Barbados Food Vacations
If you love food and want a vacation that is packed with culinary delights, then Barbados offers some mouth watering delights to tickle your taste buds.
Barbados is renowned throughout the world for it’s first class cuisine and for such a small island you are spoilt for choice when it comes to fine dining restaurants.
For a complete list on the best restaurants in Barbados then please click on the link to our restaurant guide.
There are also many local delicacies in Barbados that you won’t get too easily in other parts of the world, so we have compiled a comprehensive guide in alphabetical order of the food you must try while you are in Barbados.
Great food to try in Barbados:
Ackee is a fruit, which grows on trees that get up to 30ft tall, the fruits are bright red and open to reveal a pod of green balls.
You will see men on the side of the road, holding clear plastic bags full of these small green balls and they will shout ‘Ackee’ at you as you drive by, the bag will set you back about $1USD and are well worth trying.
This Ackee tree is a popular Caribbean tree and in Jamaica the national dish is Ackee and Salt fish.
Bajan Pepper Pot is a popular Barbadian dish that is served at most Sunday Brunch buffets at restaurants across the island. It is made from stewing steak, pig’s trotters, ox tail, garlic, onions, scotch bonnet peppers, cloves, cinnamon, basil and thyme.
You can also find out how to make this dish by clicking on the link to the Bajan Pepper Pot recipe.
Breadfruit is grown locally in Barbados and is a very versatile starch vegetable. The appearance of breadfruit is a large green ball, which you peel and then cook. It can be baked, roasted, boiled or fried as its taste is somewhere between a potato and fresh bread.
There are a number of forms in which you will find breadfruit in Barbados, some people like to mash theirs with coconut milk and fruit, or a savoury dish you will find it cooked again with meats, which flavours the flesh.
Christophene is a vegetable that looks like an oversize pear, it can be eaten raw if sliced up in salads, and the flesh is actually quite bland but can be flavoured in many different ways.
It is really good for you as it is filled with Vitamin C and amino acids. It also is reputed to have diuretic, cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory properties.
You will find christophene served in Barbados with other vegetables, but if you are preparing it yourself then just peel it, slice it and simmer until soft, then add butter and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
Conkies are a sweet vegetarian Barbadian delicacy, which are traditionally made in November to celebrate independence. Originally they were made in November to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night when Barbados was still a British colony.
They are very heavy to eat and some people find it puts them straight to sleep as the filling is so heavy to digest. A conkie is made from a filling of corn flour, flour, sugar, pumpkin, sweet potato, coconut and spices all wrapped up in a banana leaf.
Cutters are sandwiches made from Bajan salt bread – which are essentially the closest thing in Barbados that you will get to freshly baked bread.
Bread sold in Barbados is generally sliced loaves, which is made with sugar and is quite sweet for most people’s palettes.
If you want a fresh sandwich, where you decide on the width of the slices then the best thing to do is buy a pack of salt bread. They are like European rolls and if you see a sign that says Ham Cutter or Cheese Cutter, then try one, as salt bread is very tasty.
Dunks are a fruit that grow locally on trees. Again you will see men by the side of the road with clear plastic bags selling them. They are similar in shape and size to a cherry, you bite in to them and they are juicy with a pip or stone in the middle.
Fish Cakes are very popular in Barbados and can be bought from most rum shops and side of the road vendors. They are made from salt fish mixed in with a batter and deep-fried. They are delicious and are a very popular local dish.
Fish Fry‘s are held at all the fish markets on the island, and here you will get to taste freshly caught fish prepared in the Bajan way.
Fish Fry’s are a great cultural experience as well as a culinary one and you have to go to at least one during your stay. You can expect to pay about $15USD for a plate of food, which is usually a choice of fish including flying fish, mahi mahi (dolphin), kingfish or marlin, this is then served with another Bajan favourite Macaroni Pie and salad.
Fish Fry’s are held on most nights and especially on the weekend and are a good mix of locals and visitors, it is great social outing with music and entertainment.
It is a white fish, which in taste is quite similar to cod. There are many ways to prepare flying fish, it can be boiled, roasted or fried. More commonly you will find it flat, and is often cut into flying fish fingers.
Another version you may come across is buckled flying fish where it is rolled up with the head on. It is traditional to serve flying fish with Cou Cou, this is made from corn meal, okras, onions, garlic and herbs, which is a great complement to the fish. For details on how to make these two dishes at home yourself please read our recipes guide.
Hog Plums grow locally in Barbados and are bright yellow in colour. The fruit is very sweet but has a rather large stone inside, meaning that you don’t get much fruit from each plum.
It can be quite time consuming to use this fruit for baking as you have to pick of the flesh of so many hog plums to get any substantial amount but the results are very rewarding especially if you use them to make a cheesecake.
Macaroni Pie is a hit with both locals and visitors alike, it is along the lines of Macaroni cheese, however it is not runny, it is solid and cuts like a pie.
The secret to the Bajan Macaroni Pie is that is contains hot pepper sauce, which really gives it a kick. Macaroni Pie is sold all over the island so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding some to try.
Mangos grow locally in Barbados, with many people being lucky enough to have a mango tree in their garden. The mango’s are yellow when ripe and contain a big stone, the flesh is juicy and sweet and readily available in Barbados, especially in January when they are plentiful.
Pudding and Souse is sold every Saturday all over Barbados in restaurants, by the side of the road and in rum shops.
It is not to everyone’s taste as it contains various parts of a pig from the head through to the feet, but those who try it seem to love it and if you would like to try making your own then please try our recipe.
The pudding is made from sweet potato, seasoning such as onions and chives and the souse is a pickle of onions, cucumbers and hot peppers all served with the succulent pork.
Roti’s are also very popular in Barbados, and can be enjoyed as a snack or made as a main meal. They are available island wide, but if you fancy making your own then please read our recipe.
A roti is a flour wrap, slightly thinner than a tortilla wrap. Then inside you can have chicken curry, chicken and potato curry, beef curry or beef and potato curry. They are delicious and you should try one while you are in Barbados.
Salt fish is a very popular dish in Barbados, and used to make Bajan fish cakes as described above or served with Cou Cou, also described above. The fish is salted Cod, which can be purchased in any supermarket and if you need some recipes try our Stewed Down Salt Fish Recipe or Stewed Down Salt Fish and Cou Cou Recipe.
Sea Eggs are a local delicacy that can only be harvested at certain times of the year, usually September or October. The eggs or roe are similar to caviar and come from Sea Urchins, however these are such a popular Bajan delicacy that the Ministry of Fisheries monitors the amount of Sea Urchins on the seabed and decides if there is enough to allow the fisherman to dive for them.
For the last 3 years, the Ministry has banned the annual collection of the urchins to allow the population to grow. So if you are visiting the island in September or October you may be lucky enough to try them, if the Ministry lifts the ban.
Seafood is obviously a very popular dish on an island like Barbados, with fisherman going out daily to catch lobster, crabs, and barracuda. For larger fish such as mahi mahi (dolphin), kingfish, and tuna the fisherman go deep-sea fishing.
There is some fantastic seafood restaurants in Barbados or you can go to any of the local fish markets and cook your own.
Contributor: Brett Callaghan.