Discover Barbados Culture & Heritage Cuisine

A tantalizing blend of the old and new, Bajan cuisine brings together the influences of African, Caribbean, West Indian and European delights to create a unique and authentic culinary experience.

Expectantly, fish is a mainstay of the Bajan diet, with the surrounding waters providing an abundance of saltwater delicacies including tuna, shark, salmon, cod, red snapper, kingfish, and dolphin fish as well as shrimp, lobster, crabs and sea urchins. But moreover, flying fish, a national symbol of Barbados, is the species that most graces the plates of diners throughout the island.

Aside from seafood, a variety of meats such as chicken, beef, pork, turkey and duck fulfill the recipes of many Bajan dishes, and are served fried, grilled, baked, roasted and pickled. Traditional favourites such as cou-cou, rice and peas, pelau and macaroni pie complement most meals along with an assortment of fruits and vegetables such as breadfruits, papaya, cassava, mangoes and pawpaws.

life lessons: cou-cou


Consisting mainly of cornmeal and okra, cou-cou, when paired with flying fish, is the national dish of Barbados.



4 okras thinly sliced

4 cups boiling water

2 cups cornmeal

2 cups cold water

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp butter

1. Cook the okras in boiling water for 10 to 12 minutes. While they are cooking, mix the corn meal and cold water to a smooth paste.

2. When the okras are soft, lower the heat, add salt and corn meal mixture, stirring constantly with a "cou-cou stick" (wooden spoon) until the mixture becomes fairly stiff.

3. When mixture breaks away cleanly from the side of the saucepan, the cou-cou is ready.

4. Butter a bowl; turn the mixture out neatly onto it, shaking it so that it takes on the shape of the bowl. Turn it out on to a serving dish, make an indentation in the top and place a knob of butter in it.

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