EXOTIC CARIBBEAN CUISINE AT THE WATERFRONT Café
Barbados was known as "The land of the Flying fish." Today it remains part the island's official national dish, Flying Fish and Cou-Cou (see below). The once abundant flying fish migrated between the warm coral-filled Atlantic Ocean surrounding the island of Barbados and the plankton-rich outflows of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. Flying fish have remained a coveted delicacy in Barbados. In recent times the flying fish have also been gaining in culinary popularity in other islands.
The most striking feature of the Flying Fish is their pectoral fins, which are unusually large, and enable the fish to take short gliding flights through air, above the surface of the water, in order to escape from predators. Their glides are typically around 50m, but they can use updrafts at the leading edge of waves to cover distances of at least 400m.
Many aspects of Barbadian culture are centered around the flying fish: it is depicted on coins, as sculptures in fountains, in artwork, or even as part of the official logo of the Barbados Tourism Authority, which features a flying fish in flight.
Served as a Sandwich or as Part of a Main - see our menu page
Coo-Coo or Cou-Cou
Consists mainly of cornmeal (Corn flour) and okra (ochroes / lady's fingers). The cornmeal which comes readily packaged and is available at supermarkets island wide and the okra which is accessible at supermarkets, vegetable markets and home gardens, they are very inexpensive ingredients. It is because these main components are inexpensive that the dish became so common for many residents in Barbados' early colonial history. Cou-Cou derives from the island's African ancestry and was a regular meal for those slaves who were brought over from Africa to Barbados.
A unique cooking utensil called a â€˜cou-cou stick' is used in its preparation. A cou-cou stick is made of wood and has a long, flat rectangular shape like a 1 foot long miniature cricket bat. It is believed by Barbadians to be essential in stirring the cou-cou as it takes on a firm texture and the cou-cou stick makes it easier to stir in a large pot. Flying fish are seasoned with green / Bajan Seasoning and are fried or steamed and served with a Creole Sauce.
Served with Flying Fish as a Main or with Fish Broth as a Side - see our menu page
Flying Fish Melts
There has been much discussion as to exactly what are Flying Fish Melts. Many Barbadians will tell you that it is Flying Fish Roe. There are 2 types of roe: hard roe and soft roe. In the case of Flying Fish, the hard roe is known as Tobiko, a very crunchy, reddish orange in colour, and enjoyed in Japanese cuisine. The Soft roe is MILT (fish sperm) which comes in a soft edible sack. We believe that this is what in Barbados we call MELTS. These long tubular sacks are deep-fried and are a favourite delicacy on the island.
Served as an Appetizer - see our menu page
SALT FISH (normally Cod or Pollock)
The drying of food is the world's oldest known preservation method, and dried fish has a storage life of several years. Drying preserves many nutrients and is said to make the codfish tastier. Salting became economically feasible during the 17th century, when cheap salt from southern Europe became available to the maritime nations of northern Europe.
The production of salt cod dates back at least 500 years, to the time of the European discoveries of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland. It formed a vital item of international commerce between the New and old World, and formed one leg of the so-called triangular trade. Thus it spread around the Atlantic and became a traditional ingredient not only in Northern European cuisine, but also in Mediterranean, West African, Caribbean, and Brazilian cuisines.
In the Caribbean our Fish Cakes tend be made from a batter of Flour, Salted Cod, Seasonings, Eggs and Milk and traditionally fried in a pot or coal pot. In Trinidad they are known as Accra and in Jamaica Salt fish Fritters. In Barbados they are served island wide and are enjoyed at any time of day, but especially with Rum Punch. They are a favorite at the Waterfront Café along with Frizzled Salt Fish or Creole Salt Fish on our Tuesday night Buffet - see our menu page
This is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meats are dry-rubbed with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Jerk seasoning is traditionally applied to pork and goat. Modern recipes also apply Jerk spice mixes to chicken, fish, beef, sausage, and tofu. Jerk seasoning principally relies upon two items: allspice (called "pimento" in Jamaica) and Scotch bonnet peppers (among the hottest peppers on the Scoville scale). Other ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic.
Jamaican "jerk" ties well into its first people; American Indian (Tainos) roots, since of all the modern barbecueing processes, in its purest form it corresponds the closest to historical descriptions of the Tainos' method. A grill over an open fire suffices in the modern rendition.
At the Waterfront Café we have adopted this very popular Jamaican dish and you can enjoy Grilled Jerk Pork which is featured on our menus.- see our menu page
An Amerindian dish made popular in Guyana. It is traditionally served at Christmas and other special events; it is also Guyana's national dish. Pepperpot is typically a stewed meat dish, strongly flavored with cinnamon, hot peppers, and Cassareep - a special sauce made from the Cassava root. Beef, mutton, and pork are the most popular meats used.
In Barbados and at the Waterfront Café we also add chicken and it is served with dense bread and butter or with rice - see our menu page
Cassareep, n. (kas"sa?*rep)
A condiment made from the sap of the bitter cassava (Manihot utilissima) deprived of its poisonous qualities and concentrated by boiling, and flavored with aromatics and Molasses. It is a natural preservative.
This is a crop in the genus Musa and is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana (which is sometimes called the dessert banana). All members of the genus Musa are indigenous to Southeast Asia and are grown in many tropical regions. It is assumed that the Portuguese Franciscan friars were responsible for the introduction of plantains from Africa to the Caribbean islands and other parts of the Americas.
Plantains tend to be firmer and lower in sugar content than dessert bananas. Plantains usually require cooking or other processing, and are used either when green or under-ripe (and therefore starchy) or overripe (and therefore sweet). Plantains are a staple food in Barbados, treated in much the same way as potatoes and with a similar neutral flavour and texture when the unripe fruit is cooked by steaming, boiling or frying.
Plantains can be used at any stage of ripeness. As the plantain ripens, it becomes sweeter and its color changes from green to yellow to black. Green plantains are firm and starchy and resemble potatoes in flavor, which in Barbados we steam or boil and serve as a starch or with cucumber and lime juice as a pickled salad, or even fried as Plantain chips. Yellow plantains are softer and starchy but sweet.
The ripe plantain are sliced raw, tossed in breadcrumbs, fried and served as an accompaniment to some of our dishes at the Waterfront Café - see our menu page
Breadfruit was originally propagated in Polynesia and it is said that Commanding Lieutenant William Bligh on a quest for cheap, high-energy food sources for British slaves in the Caribbean, collected and distributed the botanical samples collected by HMS Bounty in the late 18th century.
Breadfruit is a staple food in the Caribbean islands. They are very rich in starch and can be eaten once cooked. They are roasted, baked, fried, or boiled. When cooked the taste is described as potato-like, or similar to fresh baked bread (hence the name).
In Barbados we also make Breadfruit Cou-Cou similar to its Cornmeal counterpart and Pickled Breadfruit, both can be enjoyed at the Waterfront Café's Tuesday night Caribbean Buffet. Whole fruits can be cooked in an open fire, then cored and filled with other foods such as coconut milk, and butter or cooked meats - see our menu page
This is the authentic Arawak name of this pungently scented fruit which is eaten raw when ripe or used for making the popular Guava Jelly and tinned guava nectar.
In Barbados at the Waterfront Café it is served stewed with Ice Cream, in our Bread & Butter Pudding and our delightful BBQ Sauce - see our menu page
The segmented pod of the tamarind hardens on maturity into a brittle shell which houses three or four small seeds embedded in a tart pulp. It is an important ingredient in chutneys, curries and sauces, including some brands of Worcestershire, HP sauce and barbecue sauce. The ripe pulp is mixed with sugar to make tamarind balls, a popular confectionery, and can also be mixed with water, and sugar or honey to make a rich drink.
At the Waterfront Café we often offer Tamarind Juice and we use tamarind in some of our sauces and serve Tamarind balls occasionally on our Tuesday night buffet - see our menu page
The oblong or ovate-shaped fruit is the largest of the plum family, is green in colour in its unripe stage, but golden to yellow when ripe. It is considered to be a good source of vitamin C and rich in iron. The flesh has a crisp, juicy and acidic taste and has a somewhat pineapple-like fragrance and flavor. Golden apple can also be made into a sauce and when flavoured with spices, is reminiscent of apple sauce. Additionally it is used to make jelly, jams, pickles or relishes, or used for flavouring soups and stews.
At the Waterfront Café we serve it mainly as a refreshing non-alcoholic juice, but sometimes it is made into Salads or steamed when green and eaten with other vegetables.