Monday, December 21, 2009

This is a Post...

...In which I prattle about my Caribbean vacation and what I ate there.
Let's get the obvious out of the way: Barbados is beautiful.

Moving on!

Their system of agriculture is VERY different from that of the US. I had a whole list of fruits I wanted to try, but only got to some because my host's friends and family didn't have any at the time. And we couldn't just go to the store and buy some. According to my friend, if you want breadfruit, soursopp, etc. you don't go to the store. You go to your neighbor, who cuts some off the tree for you. One person seemed offended we went to the coconut guy (below) instead of getting our coconut water from him.

That's the coconut guy. He (or they) park their truck on the side of the road with a big mass of coconuts, still on the branches. You have the option of buying a bottle of coconut water (filled from a coconut right in front of you) or a coconut, which the dude hacks the top off of with an enormous cutlass, so you can drink from it:

Sometimes they provide straws, so you can be tidy. If not, you just pour it all over yourself (or I did, anyway, the first time we went, but we don't have photos of that).

Then they cut a piece off the side to be used as a spoon and chop it in half in half so you can eat the jelly (until now, I had no idea coconut is so squishy when fresh. I always thought it was hard!).

Speaking of food you eat standing by the side of the road, one of the best things I had in Barbados was Doubles:

It's served out of the back of a van, and it's basically two roti topped with a chickpea curry kind of thing. I had mine with cucumber relish and tamarind sauce (hot pepper is also an option). Yes, you're expected to eat that standing at the side of the road without getting it on yourself. Ha! I got it on my pants, shirt and messenger bag.
The only thing that was better than double was my friend's mother's home cooking:

Clockwise from the top, it's rice and peas with lentils, steamed vegetables, sweet potato pie and salad.

When she said sweet potato pie, I expected something like this, not the awesomeness you see there. It was really sweet, but not cloying and it's really simple to make. Sadly, Bajan sweet potatoes are not at all like our sweet potatoes, so it won't come out the same here (unless I find their kind in a specialty store).

Kind of, sort of similar to sweet potato pie, but totally different was conkie, which I did not get a picture of, but it's DELICIOUS (the one I had was non-dairy). It's kind of sort of like a big, sweet tamale and is another thing I'm going to try to make for myself.

After reading this blog post, I told my friend I wanted to try golden apples, so she got them (and even peeled them!) for me (I'm not that lazy, I swear):

As you can see, the pits are spiky and easily get caught in your teeth:

Saturday night was karaoke at dinner at St. Lawrence Gap. I got a really nice grilled vegetable sandwich from Pun De Grill. The only thing nicer than the sandwich was the fact that we were able to comfortably have dinner outdoors in the middle of December (hence the crap lighting).

I also really liked the Twist Shandy.

I made my friend take me to see the giant Baobab in Queen's Park because I've been fascinated with them ever since reading The Little Prince. While there, we got coconut snow cones.

Check out all the amazing flavors he had! Sadly, he was out of tamarind (which most people seemed to want).

One night, we were hungry after most of the shops had closed, so we went to Chefette, Barbados' fast food chain.

I got a veggie burger, chips and Mauby. The burger and chips were great, but I could not drink the Mauby. Luckily, my friend anticipated that, ordered pineapple juice for herself and we swapped. But enough about that. Look at this burger:

We also went to an Indian restaurant called Sitar that was really good. We all rolled out of there, thoroughly full. I packed up half my curry to eat on the plane, but forgot it, so my friend was able to have a bit of extra deliciousness.

Of course, the most important part of any trip is what you bring home:

So I can do some relatively authenticish Bajan cooking at home, I got coconut essence, rum punch, passion fruit, lemon and sorrel syrups, Indian Girl Corn Meal (which I haven't been able to find in the US) and a cou cou stick (my hand is in the picture because I bought that ring in Barbados, but it has nothing to do with cooking).

Sadly, I only got to see part of the island, so I'd really like to go back and I definitely recommend visiting, if you can.

1 comment:

Mihl said...

Wow that sounds like and awesome trip! I wish I could stand next to the road and drink coconut water.