- Flying fish, the icon of the islands is found on coins, bills, and menus. Flying fish is usually served lightly breaded and fried, with a yellow sauce. Be warned that this yellow sauce consists of very hot Scotch Bonnet peppers with onions in a mustard sauce.
- Coo-Coo and Flying Fish - is often considered to be the national dish. Coo-coo (or Cou-cou) is a polenta-like cornmeal and okra porridge, coo-coo pairs perfectly with flying fish, which is either steamed with lime juice, spices, and vegetables or fried and served with a spicy sauce. The Flying Fish restaurant overlooking St. Lawrence Bay claims to be the Barbadian national dish’s home.
- Pepperpot, a must, a dish of long tradition and great pride among the Bajans, a pork stew in a spicy dark brown sauce.
- Try cutters, a local sandwich made using Salt Bread (not regular sandwich bread). Varieties include flying fish cutters, ham cutters and the popular bread and two.
- Visitors seeking fast food will probably be disappointed; the burger chains of the US failed miserably upon introduction to Barbados (Bajans eat nearly no beef). However, chicken and fish sandwiches are wildly popular, so KFC and Chefette are ubiquitous.
- Bajan cuisine is a strange mix of spicy, flavorful treats along with traditional English fayre. So be prepared for meals where fiery stews sit side-by-side with beans on toast.
- Every Friday night the place to be is the town of Oistins (on the south coast) for the "fish fry". This is a market where you can buy fresh fish cooked according to local recipes. Locals stay there late and dance until the early hours of the morning. This is now the second most popular tourist attraction on the island, after Harrison's Cave.
- There are many fine restaurants on the island with the top two being The Cliff (on the west coast) and The Restaurant at South Sea (on the south coast). Both are quite expensive, but serve beautiful food and a wonderful dining experience, overlooking the sea. Still, you can find many hidden gems if you look hard enough.
- Fish cakes, BBQ pig tails, fresh coconut, and roasted peanuts are offered by the many street vendors.
- Sandy Lane, a luxury hotel on the west coast, serves an extensive Mediterranean-style buffet for dinner.
Barbados has some of the purest water in the world that can be drunk straight from the tap. Cruise ships are often seen stocking up on their water supplies while docked at the island.
Rum and rum drinks are featured at every bar. Perhaps the most famous domestic brand offered is Mount Gay Rum, which is very delicious. Modest cost tours of the distillery [www] are available on weekdays. They offer samples of all their rums, also sold at attractive prices.
Small establishments called rum shops can be found all over Barbados. They are where local citizens (95% men) meet to catch up on the local news. Drop in, and you can easily have a conversation with a real Barbadian.
Beer and wine is easy to find as well. Banks beer [www] is Barbados' own beer and very good. Tours of the Banks Brewery are also available. While the tour itself is very hot and only moderately interesting an unlimited amount of beer is provided to those waiting for the tour to begin. Try to show up a few hours early and take advantage of a very good deal. There are also tours of the three rum refineries which are informative.
10 Saints is the first craft beer to be brewed in Barbados. This unique lager is aged for 90 days in Mount Gay 'Special Reserve' Rum casks, combining the rum heritage of the island with a refreshing lager to produce a truly 'Bajan' beer. It is available at bars and shops, throughout the island.