1. Cou cou
What it is: Similar to grits, this is part of the national dish of Barbados – flying fish and cou cou. It’s made with cornmeal and okra, and is served with flying fish and gravy.
Why you should try it: On its own, it’s a staple dish that can be added to most any meal with meat and fish to give it a bit more heft.
2. Pudding and souse
What it is: The “pudding” in this dish is made with pounded sweet potatoes that are mixed with onions, salt, and pepper. It’s then stuffed into a clean pig intestine and tied off — similar to a sausage. It’s then cooked in a boiling pot of water. The “souse” is made up of parts of the pig that are pickled – the feet, snout, or ears. It’s sometimes served with a picked cucumber on the side.
Why you should try it: It’s a delicacy that makes sure no food goes to waste.
What it is: This may be a strange looking fruit, but it’s a very nutritious, starchy one. Breadfruit is plentiful around the island – there are trees on almost every corner. They’re often served as a side to steamed fish.
Why you should try it: Whether it’s boiled, baked, crushed or made into chips, breadfruit can be transformed in a number of ways – all ones you should try.
4. Sea eggs
What it is: A species of sea urchin, sea eggs (also referred to as “white sea eggs”) are plucked right from the ocean floor. They can be eaten raw, but most folks fry or stew it. It’s an acquired taste.
Why you should try it: It’s a very unique dish that’ll expand your palate.
5. Jug jug
What it is: Said to be a derivative of the Scottish dish haggis, jug jug is made up of smashed pigeon peas which is then mixed with pork, beef, hot pepper, corn, onions, thyme, and sometimes includes chopped okra. It’s a rich and savory dish that’s popular with older generations of Bajans and usually served with boiled ham.
Why you should try it: Traditionally, it’s served around Christmas time, which makes it an instant reminder of the holidays.
6. Cassava pone
Why you should try it: It’s not overwhelmingly sweet, which makes it a good dessert for those who want something with a little less richness that Bajan food is known for.
7. Chicken curry
What it is: What makes this chicken curry extra special is the Bajan seasoning, which is used in many other dishes for meat, as well as a stuffing. It’s usually served over rice or with roti, a flat bread.
Why you should try it: Bajan curry chicken has the kick of curry with the signature earthy, oniony, peppery taste of Bajan seasoning that makes this dish special.
8. Fish cakes
What it is: Fried, spicy goodness made with salt fish and Bajan herbs and spices. Old school folks make them into little discs, but most make them into little fish balls and fry them. They’re served along with hot pepper sauce for dipping. Either way, they’re delicious.
Why you should try it: They’re cute rounds of delightful fish fritters that make bread and two – two fish cakes in between a sliced roll of salt bread.
What it is: Cooked by steam and wrapped in a banana leaf, conkies are a traditional Bajan dish. Corn flour mixed with coconut, spices, sugar, pumpkin, and the optional raisins or cherries make up this sweet treat. Originally, they were prepared on Guy Fawkes Day. Now, it’s eaten any time but especially when celebrating Barbados’ Independence Day.
Why you should try it: It’s a filling, sweet snack and staple that has ties to Bajan culture and history.
What it is: Always on salt bread, a cutter is a sandwich with either egg, ham, or fish inside. If you want to get fancy, you can dress up your cutter with lettuce, tomato or even cucumber.
Why you should try it: It’s an easy, delectable treat that can be a snack or a meal.
11. Macaroni pie
What it is: Macaroni pie is a rich, baked mac and cheese. Instead of elbow macaroni, it’s made with tubed macaroni noodles that are broken and mixed with cheese, herbs and spices, onion, and a mix of ketchup and yellow mustard. Some people substitute the ketchup mix with diced tomatoes and also incorporate chunks of meat into it. It’s usually served as a side to flying fish or meat.
Why you should try it: It’s mac and cheese x10 – a decadent, baked pasta and cheese dish.