Barbados is not only known for its stunning beaches and vibrant culture but also for its rich and diverse culinary scene. The island’s cuisine is a melting pot of flavors influenced by various cultures, including African, Indian, Portuguese, and more. With an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients and unique spice blends, Bajan food is a delight to the senses. In this article, we will take you on a culinary journey through the top foods and drinks you must try when visiting Barbados.

Flying Fish: The National Dish of Barbados

When it comes to Bajan cuisine, flying fish takes center stage. This iconic dish is the national dish of Barbados and can be found in various forms throughout the island. Whether steamed, baked, fried, or pickled, flying fish is a must-try when visiting Barbados. The fish is often seasoned with a blend of Caribbean spices and served alongside Cou Cou, a traditional side dish made with cornmeal and okra.

Best Popular Foods to try on Vacation in Barbados
flying fish and cou cou

Cou Cou: A Taste of Bajan Comfort

No Bajan meal is complete without a side of Cou Cou. This dish, made with cornmeal and okra, resembles the texture of polenta or grits. Cou Cou is a staple in Bajan cuisine and is often served alongside flying fish or other seafood dishes. The combination of creamy Cou Cou and flavorful fish creates a harmonious blend of flavors that will leave you craving for more.

Pudding and Souse: A Surprising Savory Combination

Pudding and souse may sound like a dessert, but it is actually a savory Bajan dish. Pudding refers to steamed sweet potatoes mixed with onions, salt, and pepper, while souse is a pickled pork dish. The pudding is stuffed into the souse, creating a unique flavor combination that is both savory and tangy. This dish is often enjoyed on Saturdays and is a beloved part of Bajan cuisine.

Chicken Curry: A Burst of Bajan FlavorsBest Popular Foods to try on Vacation in Barbados

Chicken curry is a popular dish in many cuisines, but Bajan chicken curry stands out with its unique blend of spices. Bajan curry is known for its rich and aromatic flavors, thanks to the use of local spices and herbs. The chicken is cooked in a flavorful curry sauce and is best enjoyed with rice, baked macaroni pie, or in a roti. The burst of Bajan flavors in this dish will transport you to the heart of the Caribbean.

Pepperpot: A Hearty Stew with Caribbean FlairBest Popular Foods to try on Vacation in Barbados

If you’re looking for a hearty and flavorful dish, Bajan Pepperpot is a must-try. This stew is made with a variety of meats, including pork, mutton, and beef, cooked with Bajan spices and hot peppers. The result is a rich and spicy stew that is often served with rice or bread. Pepperpot is a popular dish during holidays, but you can also find it at local restaurants throughout the year.

Jug Jug: A Seasonal Delight for the HolidaysBest Popular Foods to try on Vacation in Barbados

Jug jug is a traditional Bajan dish that is often enjoyed during the holidays. This flavorful dish is made with guinea corn flour, pigeon peas, salted beef brisket, ham or other salted meat, pork or chicken, onions, herbs, and spices. The ingredients are cooked together to create a dish with a consistency similar to Cou Cou. Jug jug is a labor of love, often prepared in large quantities and enjoyed with family and friends.

Mahi Mahi: Fresh from the Caribbean WatersBest Popular Foods to try on Vacation in Barbados

When visiting Barbados, you can’t miss the opportunity to indulge in fresh seafood, and mahi-mahi is a popular choice. Known locally as dolphin, mahi-mahi is a delicious white fish that is commonly served pan-seared or blackened. The tender and flavorful fish pairs perfectly with a side of seasoned rice, lentils, and a fresh salad. Don’t miss the chance to savor the taste of the Caribbean waters with this Bajan favorite.

Roti: The Caribbean BurritoBest Popular Foods to try on Vacation in Barbados

If you’re looking for a delicious and filling meal on the go, Bajan roti is the perfect choice. Roti is a type of unleavened flatbread that is filled with a variety of ingredients, such as curried potatoes, vegetables, chicken, beef, or fish. The flavors and spices in the filling create a burst of Caribbean flavors that will satisfy your taste buds. Roti is a popular street food in Barbados and can be found at local roti shops or food stalls.

Barbecued Pig Tails: A Unique Culinary ExperienceBest Popular Foods to try on Vacation in Barbados

For a truly unique culinary experience, try barbecued pig tails in Barbados. Despite the name, barbecued pig tails are not as unusual as they may sound. The tails are boiled, barbecued, and slathered in a delicious barbecue sauce. The result is a flavorful and tender meat that is reminiscent of barbecued ribs. This Bajan delicacy can be found at street vendors and local food spots, and it’s definitely worth a try for the adventurous foodie.

Brown Stew Chicken: A Caribbean ClassicBest Popular Foods to try on Vacation in Barbados

Brown stew chicken is a classic Caribbean dish that is beloved in Barbados. This flavorful chicken stew is made with a blend of Bajan spices and seasonings, creating a rich and aromatic dish. The chicken is slow-cooked in a savory sauce until tender and served with rice, peas, and vegetables. Brown stew chicken is a staple in Bajan cuisine and can be found at local restaurants and food stalls across the island.

Rice and Peas: The Perfect Side DishBest Popular Foods to try on Vacation in Barbados

Rice and peas is a classic side dish in Barbados, as well as throughout the Caribbean. This flavorful dish is made with pigeon peas and rice, cooked with a blend of herbs and spices. The peas are cooked first with seasonings, and then the rice is added to create a delicious and aromatic blend. Rice and peas pairs perfectly with a variety of Bajan main dishes, adding a comforting and flavorful element to your meal.

Macaroni Pie: A Bajan Twist on a Comfort Food FavoriteBest Popular Foods to try on Vacation in Barbados

Macaroni pie is a Bajan twist on a beloved comfort food favorite. This cheesy and creamy baked dish is made with tubed macaroni, grated cheddar cheese, evaporated milk, Bajan spices, and breadcrumbs. The ingredients are combined and baked to perfection, resulting in a rich and indulgent side dish. Macaroni pie is often served with fried fish or as a side for curried or stewed meats. The combination of flavors and textures in this Bajan classic will leave you craving for more.

Salt Bread: The Versatile Bajan BreadBest Popular Foods to try on Vacation in Barbados

Salt bread is a versatile bread that is enjoyed in various forms in Barbados. This delicious bread is made with water, yeast, salt, and a touch of sugar, giving it a slightly salty taste and a soft, pillowy texture. Salt bread can be enjoyed as dinner rolls, sandwiches, or even as a snack on its own. One popular way to enjoy salt bread is by making a “cutter,” which is a sandwich made with salt bread and fillings of your choice, such as fish cakes or ham.

Cutters: The Ultimate Bajan SandwichBest Popular Foods to try on Vacation in Barbados

Cutters are the ultimate Bajan sandwich made with salt bread. This popular street food is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. The salt bread is cut in half and stuffed with a variety of fillings, such as egg, sausages, ham, or fish. Cutters are perfect for a quick and delicious meal on the go. You can find them at local food stalls and shops throughout the island. Don’t miss the chance to try this unique Bajan sandwich during your visit to Barbados.


Barbados is a culinary paradise with a rich and diverse food scene. From the national dish of Flying Fish and Cou Cou to the savory delights of pudding and souse, Bajan cuisine offers a unique blend of flavors and spices that will tantalize your taste buds. Whether you’re a seafood lover or prefer hearty stews and curries, there is something for everyone in Barbados. So, embark on a culinary journey and discover the flavors of this beautiful island.

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