I ended my 2018 and started 2019 on a beautiful Caribbean island, called Barbados. I knew about this island because my in-law decided to retire and live the rest of their life there. They love this place so much and so do I.
First thing first, visa information.
If you are on the list of countries which require a visa to Barbados, please give it at least two months for the visa process. In my case, I have a Vietnamese passport so I need to apply for the visa and it took me around 5 weeks. Visa information to Barbados can be found here https://www.foreign.gov.bb/foreign-relations/travelling-to-barbados/visa-information-for-travel-to-barbados
There is no direct flight to Barbados. My flights included one transfer in Miami. I always tried to get some pastries from the Cafe Versailles inside Miami airport, and of course, paired with the Cortado.
Pandebono from Cafe Versailles, so good with a cortado 🤤
The Crane Resort.
We stayed at The Crane Resort for five days before moving to our parent’s guesthouse. It was a lovely resort with a long history of being Barbados’s first resort dates back to 1887. The junior suite was lovely with colonial style wood furniture. The resort was very green, full of palm trees, koi fish ponds, fountains, and hidden gardens.
There are restaurants, gyms and a general store inside the resort. The general store is very convenient for groceries and emergency goods. The price is also reasonable. I came here early in the morning to get fresh hot roties and patties. The junior suite has a fully stocked kitchen so I was able to cook some simple breakfast with egg, bacon, and sausages from the general store.
Lovely breakfast with stuff from the general store.
Rum punch and flying fish cutter, a must have when staying in Barbados.
Restaurants inside the resort are decent, but after a couple of days, we got tired of the menu. My parents in law, particularly love the Zen Sushi inside The Crane. The menu is decent with varieties of Thai and Japanese foods. I have to warn you that, while the atmosphere is lovely, the price is expensive for what you will get. I lived in a Japanese town in LA so I couldn’t help but compare the price of the sushi we got. It was almost as twice as expensive. It is just because of the cost to import fish from Japan to this island. It may sound funny to go to eat sushi on a Carribean island where the local fish is plentiful and fresher but the restaurant was always busy with both local Barbadian and tourists. The service and the foods were good and we had a very good time with family at the Zen. I just wish they were more creative and including some local fish to the menu. For example, the flying fish which is Barbados national fish could be terrific tempura. I wouldn’t come here for sushi because I already had so many good sushi in LA, I just came here to please my family. So you won’t miss anything if you don’t try out Zen.
Some sushi and appetizer at Zen
My favorite was the baby octopus cucumber salad – crunchy, flavorful and refreshing!
The local foods
Outside the resort are Delon’s Roti and Bar and Marco Polo Bar and Grill. They are in walking distance from The Crane. I love Delon’s baked. My favorite was the saltfish baked. It was a freshly fried bread which was slightly sweet, stuffed with cooked seasoned salt fish, just $3 each. Their roti was also very good and affordable.
Salt fish bake and Jamaican meat patty paired with Bajan hot sauce. So good!
I often visited the local deli by the gas station and the food court inside the groceries store, to pick up some local foods. Daily on the menu usually including macaroni pie, baked veggies, mash potatoes, French fries, and meats, including fish, pork, beef, lamb and chicken. There are also patties, pastries, and roti. They are all delicious. Keep in mind that the meat isn’t cheap. I found that chicken was more expensive than in the US. For example, a fried chicken wing was $6 Barbados – $3 USA dollar. A whole rotisserie chicken was $24 Barbados – $12 USA dollar. Although it was expensive, the chicken was raised on the island, smaller than American chicken. The local ham was very good, not too salty. Lamb was cheaper than in the US. Fish was the cheapest. A swordfish steak was $10 Barbados – $5. Patties and samosas are cheap and tasty.
BBQ meats, pork chop, and fish steak at the Food Deli!
Variety of side dish. Macaroni pie is a big thing over there! It was very tasty but a bit sweet and heavy.
Variety of patties and pastries! They made them fresh every day. They were so good.
The first time I had pigtail BBQ. It was good but also really fatty and heavy. The BBQ sauce was sweet for my taste.
A local vegan food stall! Vegan foods are very good over here. Most of the locals are very friendly, honest and polite.
Vegan chickpeas and tofu dish.
Fish cake! The best thing I ever had in Barbados, was from this lady. She made the best fish cake. I tried different places but I always came back to her stand. You can find her in front of Garrison Savannah. I was more excited to get fish cake from her than watching horse racing.
Ostins fish market, for me, so far was the most favorite place to visit. On the daytime, we I could get different variety of fresh fish from the fisherman. Mahi mahi which was expensive in the US, was very affordable over here. Barracuda and tuna were also plentiful. On the New Year Eve, we went to the fish market and got some red snappers, mahi mahi for the grill. Everything cost just $30 and we got fish for a couple of dinners for a family of four.
Oistins fish market
Mahi mahi, barracuda and shark, Yellowfin tuna and tuna.
Parrotfish – a local favorite but it’s too pretty to be eaten.
At night time, Ostin Fish Fry is a place where food vendors gather to offer their foods to the locals and tourists. I didn’t like it too crowded on Friday night, but the other days of the week were fun. Try to avoid those vendors who following and hassle you. I found them weren’t very honest. My parents in law like Roslin Fish Fry vendor. You can tell that they are beloved by the local. Loyal costumers patiently waiting for the man to fire up his cast iron stove and fry the “catch of the day”. He doesn’t need to ask or hassle. The “half dinner” meal was very affordable. A lot of food for $15 Barbados, around $7.50 USA. A full meal $35 Barbados, can feed two or three people.
This medium size lobster was $70 Barbados -$35 USA. I didn’t like it because it wasn’t very fresh. I think we got ripped off. Stay away from the food vendors which following and hassling.
Fried swordfish at Roslin Fish Fry. Very tasty and cheap. We paid $15 Barbados – $7.5 USA for a “half meal” including fried fish, macaroni pie and salad.
Rum, more rum!
I wasn’t the Caribbean if there was no Rum. For some reason, rum tasted so good over there. I would have a rum drink three times a day. There are several Rum factories in Barbados. The famous are Mount Gay, Four Square. We visited Four Square and tasted different rum at their factory and ended up brought home couple bottles of amazing rum. It was a lovely distillery with friendly people. I like it more than touristy Mount Gay distillery. The rum tasting was $30 Barbados – $15 USA dollar, for 6 glasses
Varieties of Rum for tasting.
Rum punch at Four Square
(To be continued)