Bajan Food And Where to Find It

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Ins & Outs of Barbados

July 19, 2023

Support Our Farmers

Barbadian farmers produce a suprising variety of very nutritious meats and vegetables as well as some delicious fruit.  Here are some of my favourites that are easily available with easy-to-follow Bajan recipes.  Support our farmers, support our island, support our planet!

The Slow Food Buyers Guide shares information about farmers, local produce, sustainable fish supplies and markets where you can shop.

Pumpkin 

Where to buy: Available island wide.

Season: Year round.

The belly pumpkin is best for soup and the long garden pumpkin is delicious steamed or roasted and makes great pumpkin fritters

Fresh Local Fish

Where to buy: The fish markets dotted around the island; Oistins, Bridgetown, Weston, Speightstown and Six Mens. Smaller markets are located in Paynes Bay, Tent Bay, Martin’s Bay and Consett Bay but they are not always open. 

Happily, the 4 most sustainable  fish are also the tastiest; flying fish, lion fish, red snapper and dolphin, (mahi-mahi/dorado – a scaly fish that is not in any way related to porpoise), these fish are often enjoyed fried. The fish that are not sustainable are shark, parrot fish (chub), marlin and Atlantic Big Eye tuna. There are several other varieties available locally which can be sustained with best practices but are somewhat at risk including yellow fin tuna, wahoo, turpit, congalie, barracuda and king fish. 

Melvin Mayers, Tent Bay, showing a flying fish

Breadfruit

Where to buy: Roadside vendors, markets and sometimes in large supermarkets.

Season: More plentiful in August and September and again in March and April but usually available year round.  

Having kept starvation from many a door in Barbados, the humble breadfruit is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. It is wonderfully nutritious, low on the glycemic index and versatile. Chips and cou cou are popular but my favourite is a tangy combination of cucumber, lime juice, onion and salt over thinly sliced pre-boiled breadfruit referred to as ‘pickled breadfruit’. 

Plantain

Where to buy: Sold island wide.

Season: Year round

Masquerading themselves as very large bananas, they are unpalatable unless cooked, and can be prepared at all stages of ripeness, with stark contrasts of texture and flavour. When green, they can be thinly sliced and fried into chips. Ripe and yellow they can be baked for 1/2 hour in a moderate oven, either whole in their skins or peeled and wrapped in bacon. When they are yellow with black spots, they are best sliced and shallow fried.  

Finger Squash

Where to buy: Available island wide.

Season: September to January. 

These delicate little squash have a delicious buttery flavour. Cut off top and tail and boil for 10 minutes in lightly salted water or steam. 

Yam 

Where to buy: Available island wide.

Season: Harvested in October, they keep very well so can be bought for much of the year. 

Yams were discovered in the Caribbean when Columbus arrived. This root crop comes in various sizes and many strange shapes, with a rough dark brown skin and white or creamy coloured starchy flesh. Not to be confused with the starchy Caribbean sweet potatoes which are sometimes referred to as yams in North America. The delicate and slightly nutty flavour of yam is perfectly suited to this very simple recipe. 

Avocados

Where to buy: Island wide.
Season: August to December
Local avocados are huge, creamy and very flavourful.   

Mangos 

Where to buy: Available island wide but street vendors usually have the best varieties.
Season: July to December 

A wide variety of mangos are grown in Barbados and they vary from the small Pawee to the large Imperials. Most people’s favourite is the Julie, medium in size and deliciously creamy.  A mango's delicate sweetness makes for a great mousse.

Passion Fruit

Where to buy: Markets and street vendors.

Season: Sporadically throughout the year but most plentiful in the rainy season. 

Pork

Where to buy: Locally produced pork is available islandwide. The butcher section of the Cheapside Market in Bridgetown is a good place to go for leg roasts and other specialty cuts. 

Local pork is very good quality and Barbadians eat it nose to tail. Soused pigs head is a popular Saturday tradition, served with black pudding. The flavour of a traditional Sunday roast pork leg is enhanced with a generous amount of Bajan seasoning and many Bajan cooks have perfected the knack of crispy crackling. 

One of our favourites are the slowly stewed pork chops in a tomato based gravy.

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Things to do

From swimming with sea turtles, partying under the stars, exploring the rugged east coast to enjoying the island’s duty free shopping, Barbados has something for everyone.

Bajan Food And Where to Find It