Barbados street food
One of the best ways to experience a culture is through its food, and though Barbados has many fine-dining restaurants that shouldn’t be missed, it’s through its street food that you not only make new discoveries but get to know the island’s food history and culture more intimately
Having said that, one of the things that makes Barbados’s street food culture a bit tricky to discover as a visitor is that the best vendors don’t sell in tourist areas because they cater specifically to the local population and are often known only by word of month.
Don’t worry, though—if any of the dishes below pique your interest, we can arrange for one of our chefs to whip it up for you, or our concierge would be happy to locate a local food vendor for you. Now let’s get started:
Coucou & Flying Fish: This is our national dish. Coucou is similar to polenta and is made by combining okra and cornmeal. The flying fish that accompanies it is either steamed or fried, and the meal is pulled together with a rich fish sauce and accompanied by pickled cucumber on the side.
Pudding and Souse: A Saturday lunch staple in Barbados, pudding is sweet potato mixed with onions, salt and pepper and other seasonings, formed into a blood sausage and steamed, while souse is essentially pickled pork. The combo is often served with pickled breadfruit on the side.
Fishcakes: A savoury mix of shredded salt cod, flour, onion, fresh pepper and various seasonings that are formed into a ball and deep fried until golden brown. Best eaten with a dipping sauce created by combing ketchup, mayo and hot pepper sauce.
Roti: A Caribbean-Indian dish borrowed from our neighbour Trinidad and Tobago, roti has become very popular in Barbados over the past 40 years or so. It is made by wrapping a filling of curried chicken, beef, goat, shrimp, chick peas, or vegetables in a thin, pliant sort of skin made from flour.
Cutters: A cutter is in essence a sandwich, but instead of using sliced bread, the Bajan cutter uses a bun-like bread called salt bread which is then filled with cheddar cheese, ham, fish, egg or fishcakes and served with a few drops of Bajan Pepper Sauce.
Conkie: Eaten as a sweet treat, conkies are a seasonal dish that is usually prepared in November around the island’s independence celebrations. Conkies are a mixture of grated fresh coconut, pumpkin, sweet potato, cornmeal, sugar and spices and sometimes raisins. The mixture is wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed until cooked.
Cassava Pone: Cassava is a root vegetable that was a staple food for the indigenous populations of Latin America and the Caribbean. It is still used extensively throughout the Caribbean, and here in Barbados, cassava pone is a huge favourite. Pone is a very heavy, moist type of bread made from grated cassava, pumpkin, sweet potato, coconut, sugar, nutmeg, butter and milk.
Guava Cheese: This is a sweet, firm jelly made by boiling the guava fruit with sugar and water. When the mixture has attained the right consistency, it is poured into a shallow container, left to cool, cut into squares and sprinkled lightly with sugar.
Mauby: A drink made by boiling the bark of a local tree and combining the liquid with sugar and spices.
Plus: A delicious local soft drink created by the makers of our local beer company, Banks Brewery.