May 17, 2019

A Helpful Guide To National Dishes In Oistins Barbados

pudding and souse oistins barbados
One of the many things I enjoy about having Caribbean heritage is the food. No matter the country all of the islands in the Caribbean have their own signature flavour, spices and national dishes. With my family hailing from Jamaica, I absolutely love Jamaica's national dish of ackee and salt fish (a must try if you go to Jamaica). Since my wife is Bajan, over the past 10 plus years I have been introduced to many specialty dishes that come from Barbados that I absolutely love. If you go to Oistins Barbados these are must try dishes. The first being Coucou and Flying Fish .

Coucou and Flying Fish

Coucou and flying fish is a meal that consists of just a couple of ingredients which include cornmeal, okra, flying fish and some vegetables. The coucou or turned cornmeal is made by having the cornmeal in a pot with some water to start the process. After boiling some okra in a separate pot use the “okra water” to smooth out the cornmeal with a coucou stick (a long stick which looks like a small replica of a cricket bat). The end product is a smooth paste that has the consistency of a less hardened version of polenta.

Coucou is usually served with flying fish, which is Barbados' national fish and is part of the official logo of The Barbados Tourism Authority . Barbados is known as the 'land of flying fish' because of the plentiful amount of flying fish found in Barbados' waters. This fish can be fried, baked, or stewed. When I usually have this fish, it is usually fried which also makes it perfect for having a fish cutter (flying fish in salt bread). The flying fish got their name not because they actually fly but that they use their fins to “fly” or leap as they skim their bodies when moving through the water. The spices used with the fish and the blank canvas of the coucou makes it easy for the flavours of the fish especially (in stewed form) to soak into the cornmeal. A definite must try if you are on the island.

A Bajan staple that is usually eaten on a Saturday, pudding and souse is a delicacy that is made with sweet potato and herbs and traditionally served with soused pig heads and feet. The pork is pickled in cucumber, onion and lime juice and is also served with breadfruit. While traditionally the pig heads where used, in modern time these have been updated with other portions of the pigs body. The pudding portion is made with sweet potato and herbs and is put inside of a casing traditionally pig intestine and to get a black pudding the blood of the pig would be included. However, in modern times browning can be substituted for the pig's blood. This is a great dish if you are looking for a real Bajan staple to eat on a Saturday afternoon.


The mauby drink is one of the defining drinks in Barbados. Mauby is made from the bark of the Mauby tree, boiled with cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg and cloves, and sweetened to taste. I tried it many years ago and I did not like how it tasted. It wasn’t until I was introduced to mauby syrup that this changed for me. Mauby has some bitter notes when tasted, and it can be sour at times. The syrup makes things a bit more pleasant and much sweeter than making it with the traditional bark. I personally enjoy the syrup more so than the bark but I am sure true Bajans prefer the bark to the syrup.


If you decide to go to Barbados, experiencing the local culture is important. Having some of the national dishes go a long way towards experiencing what it is truly like to be Bajan. Coucou and flying fish, pudding and souse and mauby are all dishes anyone travelling to Barbados should experience to enjoy true Bajan culture.

Have you tried any of these national dishes? Let us know!

Island Greetings,
Thoywell & Shanelle
T&S; Barbados Rentals
P.S. We would love to have you; please book with us below!
book now