Barbados is high on my foodie radar...
Barbados first really hit my radar at the beginning of the year, when I did a post about thebest places to travel in 2015. Barbados got a glowing review! But funnily enough it was another warm weather destination that convinced me I had to ramp up my travel plans. Our March visit to Hawaii reminded me of how much I love to connect with the ocean, with the gardens, and - of course! - the food in tropical locations.
Our winter escape to Hawaii was so wonderful that I was immediately planning our next trip and I couldn't imagine a better spot than Barbados. Everything I've ever read about the country, the climate, the culture, and the cuisine has me convinced I've got to go and even to check some flights to Barbados.
Since it never hurts to start planning a trip in advance, I thought it wise (purely in the name of research, you understand) to start compiling a list of the best food the country has to offer.
Fish is one of my favourite things to order when I travel. All food tastes best when it's local and this is especially true of fish. If you're lucky, you can buy it directly from the fishermen (and fisherwomen!) at the dock. There's no better deal or better taste around!
But I'm also a bit picky about fish. I don't like it in chowders, stews, or curries. I really just like it served fairly plain - either grilled or baked or fried with some simple seasonings like lemon or herbs.
And that's why I'm putting Barbados' famous flying fish on my foodie wish list. It's perfect in it's natural state and tastes fantastic. I can't wait to eat it in every possible way! My friend Christina has a great blog post here about some of the best places to find flying fish - I can't wait to try them all!
Of course, no main dish is complete without some succulent sides and, in Barbados, there are plenty to chose from. Christina recommends cou cou and macaroni pie. Macaroni pie is pretty self explanatory. It's like a kind of seasoned baked macaroni and cheese. Some recipes call for ketchup in the sauce that binds it all together. This rocks in my books, as I'm a firm believer in putting ketchup ON mac and cheese. Putting it IN the mac and cheese is even better!
Cou-cou is an entirely new dish to me. A mixture of cornmeal and okra that is cooked together with the assistance of a special stirring stick, it's the preferred side dish for flying fish and (so I'm told) ideally served with a lot of gravy!
Tamarind has been one of my favourite flavors for a while now. In the form of sauce and chutney, it's been my go-to condiment at Indian food restaurants - the perfect thing for dipping your poppadoms! Its tangy, savory, sweet and sour taste is absolutely delicious and for the longest time I couldn't imagine eating it any other way.
But all of that changed when I first had tamarind juice in Myanmar. It was offered to us as a welcome beverage at a guest house and, after a hot and dusty day, it was the most refreshing thing imaginable. It was cold, tart, and tangy, with just the perfect amount of sweetness to make it drinkable.
In Barbados, tamarind juice is mixed with other flavors, like apple and cherry, and a generous amount of sugar is added before being served up to visitors as a great road side treat. Sounds perfect after a long day in the sun!
Of all the foodie treats in Barbados, the one that I'm most hesitant to try is roasted corn. I've seen it all over the world (most recently just in Istanbul) but I've only tried it once. That time was in Malawi, over 10 years ago, and I actually HATED it! So why do I want to give it another go?
I think part of the reason why I hated my first ear of roasted corn is because I didn't know what to expect. I'm a huge fan of boiled corn on the cob (and specifically the sweet, buttery, salty favors) and I assumed roasted corn would taste similarly. Instead, it was dry, tough, and burnt tasting. Nope!
But lately I've considered giving roasted corn another try. People rave about how good it is in Barbados and I've seen roasted corn all around the world. Can such a huge part of the population be wrong? And roasted corn would make for a very affordable snack - always a plus in our book. I think it's time roasted corn and I got reacquainted.
There's an awesome restaurant in Ryan's home town of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, called "Muio's". And Muio's is famous for serving broasted chicken. No, that's not a typo -I don't mean roasted (or baked-roasted or breaded-roasted or broiled-roasted). Broasting refers to a cooking method using a pressure fryer and it tastes delicious!
Turns out that broasted chicken isn't just a Sault Ste Marie thing- it's all over Barbados too! Chefette's is a great place to pick some up, but there are plenty of independent shops as well. And for bonus points, the best way to wash down some authentic Barbados broasted chicken is with Banks beer. I'm not a beer fan but Ryan definitely is and he will absolutely appreciate testing a famous local brew.
PS - If you get a chance to visit Muio's, make sure to leave enough room for pie. Their chicken is great but the homemade pie is divine!
Yep, I think Barbados is my kind of place....
There's a reason I love dreaming about travel and planning a trip nearly as much as the trip itself. It's one delicious past time! I can't wait till we take off to Barbados and I'm not even sure we should wait for the cold weather to return. All that food isn't going to eat itself!
What's your favourite food to eat in the Caribbean?
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