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Slow Food is a new movement that is sweeping across the world. Despite it’s rising popularity, many people are probably still unaware of what slow food actually means. We all know what fast food is. McDonald’s, Burger King, all of the foods we can get quickly and aren’t necessarily good for us, the world, and the local economies. Slow food is the opposite of that. It’s local, often organic, healthy food. Slow Food Barbados described it as Good, Clean, Fair food. It doesn’t travel far to get to you and it is not processed. I’m proud to say all but one of my meals in Barbados was considered slow food. I learned a lot about the value of slow food to the local economy and community and I tried a few new delicious foods as well during my journey!
Slow Food Barbados
One of Barbados’ biggest problems is Lionfish. This destructive fish eats just about anything and has no local predators. It’s ruining the local reefs and fishing populations. To avoid senseless killings of these beautiful fish, they are encouraging locals and tourists to eat a lot of it. I saw it on menus grilled and fried. I opted for the grilled special at Marco Polo Restaurant, just across the street from the Crane Resort. Marco Polo Bar & Grill is owned by Marc and Sally, two British expats. They source all of their food locally and prepare it in a Caribbean style at an affordable price. This was my first slow food meal, and it was a great way to kick off the tour.
While not as destructive to its habitat as the Lionfish, Flying Fish are found in abundance off the shores of Barbados (and my readings suggest they’ve been a local favorite for over 100 years!). It’s one of the most common fish to eat in the area. My second experience with slow food was on my snorkeling day trip where they served up some delicious fried flying fish and several Bajan sides. The chef on my Balador cruise prepared this lovely meal on the boat while I was swimming with a baby turtle!
Dining at the Crane Hotel
After a long day on the water, I decided to dine at the resort that evening. They were having their weekly BBQ special at the Carriage House. I opted for the shrimp and veggies. Another splendid choice. In addition to the food, there was also lovely live music for the evening.
For lunch the next day I opted for a lobster roll from L’Azure, the cliff side restaurant with views of the Atlantic Ocean. It had a unique Bajan taste, a lot of flavor, and very fresh.
Oistin’s Fish Market
Every Friday night, tourists and locals flood the fish market. Several different vendors are serving up their freshest catches, there’s live music, and a great vibe. If you ask anyone what to do in Barbados, this is at the top of everyone’s list.
I visited one of the first fish stands on the street, LaAmor’s Delights. I ordered a crab cake which was quite different from the ones I am accustomed to in the US. It was flat, without much meat. I also had my first taste of local favorite Macaroni Pie. It’s basically a macaroni and cheese casserole! While I did find Barbados to be a very safe and friendly island, I was a bit overwhelmed attending the fish market alone as a solo female traveler. I went with a group from my hotel, but they broke off upon arrival to find their friends. It’s very much like a large crowded street fair.So I enjoyed my dinner and retired to the hotel for an early night.
The next day I hired Andy, a local taxi driver to give me private tour of the island. Along the way Andy took me to Celestine’s where we ordered fresh juices, fishcakes, and coconut bread! This little road side restaurant is a favorite among locals, but her fresh breads can often sell out, so beside to go early! Everything I had from Celestine was absolutely amazing. Andy suggested mixing the juices. I had Mango, golden apple, and sour sop. They all tasted amazing on their own, but mixing all three together really made for a tropical delight! This little spot was truly off the beaten path and exactly the kind of place a traveler would hope to find.
The Cutter (Fish Sandwich)
I’m not a huge fan of eating food from a truck, but the New York food truck scene is breaking me in little by little. After a few underwhelming meals at my last hotel, I decided to give this fish sandwich truck a shot. The sandwiches, known as cutters, are made with fresh fried flying fish (how’s that for a tongue twister?) It was pretty good considering the price, convenience, and sustainability.
The Last Supper
I called Andy one last time to give me a lift to the airport. Once again he showed his hospitality and asked me if I was feeling hungry. I did just eat that fish sandwich, but after the previous day’s local treats, I wasn’t going to say no. Andy took me to a parking lot at a local beach, where a woman was selling food out of the back of her van. Since I just had a sandwich, I loaded up on sides. You’ll see below I had a fabulous macaroni pie, Bajan rice, and cassava, a local root vegetable.
I don’t always practice the slow food lifestyle, especially not in the fast paced environment of New York. It was amazing to see how easy it really was in Barbados though. The only reason I ate at my hotel the one evening was because I had a voucher for food that I was not going to waste! I learned a lot about the locals and their food preferences and cooking styles. I learned about the lifestyles and how hard they’re working to make food sustainable on the island. Something else I learned about Barbados is that it is considered the foodie island of the Caribbean. There are several well known restaurants on the island (L’Azure included) The Cliffs, one of the island’s most famous and most expensive restaurants also sources foods from local farmers and fisherman! I plan to explore them in my future visits while maintaining the slow food approach!
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