Posted by Renee | Filed under Tips
There used to be a time in my life when I traveled. Of course this was all pre-marriage, pre-babies and pre-adult life. I relish the days when my trips around the globe consisted of me eating my way through an unknown land, drinking like it was 1999 and having no responsibilities. Well, that has all changed.
Fast forward a few years and now my only “big” trips are those yearly trips down South to visit my folks; in the land of white shoes, Bermuda shorts and early bird specials. Long gone are the trips to Italy, where the wine, cheese and meat consumption was almost pornographic. Now, we are pretty pumped to even go out past 7pm to grab a beer on the beach.
I know you probably don’t feel sorry for me, nor do I expect you to. And I know that you will definitely not feel sorry after I tell you about my latest trip.
Barbados; the land of rum, sun and Banks beer. Yes, I got to spend a leisurely week on this gorgeous island thanks to one great husband who let me tag along on one of his business trips, and to my loving parents who took both of our kids.
I will admit that right off the bat, I was a wee bit leery of the food as all we could find near our hotel was super touristy fare, but luckily with my nosy and feisty demeanor, I was able to wrangle my way into getting some hard core Bajan food. Fried chicken, plantain fritters, macaroni pie, flying fish and pickled hot peppers soon became my staples. Hitting up the local market in Bridgetown also proved to be fruitful as I returned to the hotel bearing custard apples, fresh turmeric root and some house-made pickled Habanero peppers.
Not only did the market have tons of local produce, meat and fish, but above the main hall you were able to find food stalls that served delicious food geared towards the locals, not the tourists. We opted to try the Rastafarian stall that served us some cheap, fast and delicious food and drink. I had the anise-infused tamarind juice; sour and thick with pulp, while Doug tried a local juice made of Golden Apples. Our vegan fare was pretty damn good too, considering I am a huge carnivore. We ate fried breadfruit, cou-cou, Bajan rice and beans, okra stew and much more.
Overall, this trip packed a much needed punch. I can now boast that I have had the “Worlds Best Rum Punch”, ate barracuda, and got to meet some amazing chefs and farmers.
This trip was a success on the food front because I decided to follow a few simple rules. Here they are:
5 ways to find “food gems” when traveling:
1) Get to know the local cuisine.
Do research ahead of time on the local food and what they produce. Knowing ahead of time what it is and what you’re looking for makes it easier than guessing.
2) Get off ‘the strip’.
Stay away from all the tourist traps on the main drag. Mosey down a side street or hop in a cab or on a bus a find a place away from the crowds.
3) Talk to the locals.
Ask them where they like to eat and what the best items on the menu are. Only the locals know where the best kept secrets are!
4) Hit up a farmers’ market.
Here you can purchase fruits and vegetables at a fraction of the price of the grocery store and you can mingle with the farmers and artisans who often run the stands themselves.
5) Be adventurous!
Remember, you never know what gems are out there unless you get out and explore.