Flying fish

A trip to Barbados

Fresh fish is not a pipe dream in Barbados. Fishing boats swing numerous in the bays, and in any town or village, large or small, there is a fish market. The one in Oistins is the most famous, mentioned in every guidebook. Large, shiny-skinned mahi-mahi are displayed whole and sold by the slice or freshly filleted on benches dripping with water, along with marlin, swordfish and a host of other unfamiliar-looking fish.
Mecato del pesce Barbados

Fish market – Barbados | Photo by P.L. Paolini

The national fish, however, is the flying fish, a kind of sardine with wings that also somewhat resembles the taste of sardines. From the market stalls to the fry shops next door between the street and the beach, it’s a short step: with the wings and center bone removed, the flying fish flies straight into hot oil or onto the grill, but not before being flavored with herbs and spices. It’s good and cheap; a plate of fried flying fish and a beer at the market stalls costs no more than 7 to 8 Barbados dollars (about 4 USD).
Oistins Barbados

Oistins – Barbados | Photo by P.L. Paolini

At the Oistins market, there is always a few stalls in operation at any time of day, but it is at sunset that the atmosphere becomes more animated, though in some ways more contrived. The climax is reached on weekends when, as at village fairs, crowds of tourists flock to mingle with the locals. Smoke rises from large oil-filled pans, music is blaring, and beer and rum, needless to say, are flowing: welcome to Friday Night Fish  
freccia rossa Rum Shop

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