By Robert Lynn
Walk into almost any restaurant in Barbados and you will find flying fish on the menu. After all, not only is it a ubiquitous national symbol, it’s part of the national dish — cou-cou and flying fish. But for the best flying fish, with the most authentic Bajan feel, the Oistins Bay Gardens Friday night fish fry is not to be missed.
A fishing town on the southern end of the island, Oistins is well-known on the island for its Friday night ritual. Mismatched canopies, plastic tables and chairs, and picnic tables sit crowded together next to the permanent shacks where some vendors cook their food. (Others have their grills just feet from the tables.) It doesn’t matter where you sit; you’re going to enjoy the best fresh-caught flying fish on the island. Tourists and locals sit elbow to elbow enjoying their meals and a Banks beer, Caribbean music rising above the din of the happy diners. Sides of breadfruit, macaroni pie, sweet potato, garlic potatoes, peas, and rice fill out your plate.
In other parts of the island you can find flying fish broiled, barbequed, steamed, and even beer-dipped, but here, it’s fried or grilled. It isn’t the only main dish on the menu at Oistins Bay Gardens, but it’s the one you want.
Plates are cheap, about Bds$30 ($15), and afterward, you can listen to music, enjoy ice cream, and shop for arts and crafts. Although they have food available on other evenings, Friday is the big night. Go early and enjoy the sunset, then enjoy the best flying fish in the country with just the right atmosphere.
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