White Caribbean beaches, warm tropical sea, and sublime sunshine are most travelers' reasons for visiting Barbados. But what they may not know until they arrive is that this tiny little country has its very own delicious cuisine that nowhere else in the world is able to authentically replicate. The result of an idyllic location, eventful history, and vibrant culture, Bajan food is inarguably some of the most distinct and flavorsome in the Caribbean, and shall indeed make up a major part of each holidaymaker's vacation to the pint-sized picturesque paradise known as Barbados. It's only in Barbados that people can enjoy genuine Barbadian delicacies cooked and served in their most authentic fashion, with some of the most outstanding being those featured on this mouth-watering list of treats.
10 Flying Fish & Cou Cou
Think of this flavourful fish dish as the Bajan version of a Sunday roast dinner or the UK's fish and chips, but with a twist - it's a plate featuring flying fish caught locally in the Caribbean waters and seasoned with traditional Bajan herbs and spices. After being fried or steamed in a rich gravy, the fish is then served with Cou Cou - a delightful offering made from okra and cornmeal that completes this national dish of Barbados.
9 Sea Eggs
Deceiving the name is indeed, for sea eggs are in fact not eggs at all, but rather, sea urchins - one of the marine species that thrive in large numbers in the tropical waters surrounding Barbados. Fresh sea eggs are not available all year because local conservation regulations determine when they can and cannot be hunted. However, w=when it's time to collect them, local divers go out in their numbers to grab them from the ocean floor. Not quite a dish for everyone, sea eggs are indeed an acquired taste and may not be the most obvious choice for picky eaters. However, given a chance, they are a distinctive Bajan seafood delicacy with a unique flavor. Delicious stewed or fried, anyone who likes seafood will love sampling sea eggs, but foodies with a bit more courage can also try them in the true local fashion that many Bajan people enjoy - fresh and raw.
8 Black Cake
Barbados is world-renowned for its fine rum, thus leaving no surprise that its top tipple is lovingly used as a cooking ingredient - and one of the island's celebrated desserts that uses this rich spirit made from local sugar cane is Black Cake. A must-try for anyone lucky enough to holiday in Barbados, this traditional Bajan cake is baked with prunes, raisins, and dried cherries with a splash or two of delicious rum thrown into the mix (make sure it's Barbados's legendary Mount Gay rum for extra authenticity!)
7 Jug Jug
This sumptuous traditional Bajan dish is a Christmas delicacy although it can be sampled all over the island outside of the festive period too. A particularly loved favorite among the island’s older generations, Jug Jug is a warming, hearty casserole made from beef and pork mixed together with pigeon peas, onions, corn, thyme, and hot peppers - a culinary collective that's stewed in a meaty stock made from boiled bones, meat, and customary Bajan herbs and spices.
Peckish bellies that aren't quite ready for a large meal but would prefer a light bite or small snack will love sinking their teeth into a cutter - an exclusive Bajan sandwich found all over the island. Not just like any old sandwich, a Barbadian cutter is different since it's made using fresh salt bread - a staple food of Barbados. A cutter comes in a variety of flavors featuring different ingredients, like cheese, ham, egg, and salad garnish that are used as tasty fillings. The final touch that makes them identifiable Bajan is of course a hot dollop of Barbados pepper sauce.
Interestingly, Conkies are somewhat connected to Barbados's colonial history; they were a Bonfire Night delicacy eaten during celebrations on November 5th. Even after independence from the UK, Conkies have remained a strong part of Barbados’ Independence Day celebrations on November 30th. Healthy yet sweet, Conkies are made from corn flour, raisins, pumpkins, and coconut mixed with cane sugar and potent spices. After the mixture has been formed, it's wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed until cooked. When it's ready, one can unwrap the banana leaf and tuck it into the taste bud-teasing contents.
4 Bajan Macaroni Pie
Unlike other countries around the globe, pie means only one thing in Barbados: the Bajan macaroni pie. It's chunky, rich, and irresistible, oozing ample amounts of macaroni, cheese, onion, herbs, and spices, all mixed together with a serving of ketchup to create a gooey sensation that's frequently used as a side dish with fish or chicken. Widely available at eateries and stores all over Barbados, some macaroni pie recipes also include mustard or mayonnaise. What is sure-fire though is that they're all sprinkled with crunchy breadcrumbs and baked in the oven 'til crisped for consumption.
3 Fishcakes & Bakes
The iconic Bajan Fishcake is extremely popular throughout the country and is notably different from those that can be found in traditional fish shops - like those in the UK. Essentially it's a Barbadian take on the British delicacy, with the key difference being apparent in the batter; it's made using flavorful and aromatic herbs and spices, which give the indulgent deep-fried cod fishcake its special flavor and scent that make mouths salivate. Furthermore, the Bajan fishcake usually goes hand in hand with bakes - a unique kind of bread produced when frying flour, salt, and water. Some locals even like this dish as a spicy variant, dipping it in classic Bajan hot pepper sauce.
2 Pig Tails
Holidaymakers in search of wholesome street food with high levels of taste need to seek no further than the pigtail. As the name suggests, this Caribbean treat is the meaty part of a pig's tail, which is salted and barbecued and either eaten alone or served with a side of rice and peas. This food can be tried all over Barbados, although some of the best places to find it are festivals and street food vendors. It's also a BBQ treat popular on other Caribbean islands as well, such as Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.
1 Pudding & Souse
"Pudding" usually evokes sweet taste bud memories of sugary desserts, however it's actually a savory soul food in Barbados. A traditional Sunday dish, the souse is often made from cheaper cuts of pork meat and offal, such as the pig's snout, ears, and tongue, which are all cooked and pickled with cucumber, onions, parsley, and sweet pepper. The pudding part is made from tasty mashed-up sweet potatoes seasoned with Barbadian spices, which are then stuffed inside pig intestines like a sausage before being steamed to perfection. Next: Caribbean Islands: A Guide To Each Major Destination (So You Can Choose Easily)