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Eat like a Bajan: Cooking Bajan Sunday Lunch with Heather in Barbados

Heather, one of the chefs at The Club, who generously invited me into her home to teach me to cook Bajan food. Here with Mac Pie.

Heather, one of the chefs at The Club, who generously invited me into her home to teach me to cook Bajan food. Here with Mac Pie.

On arrival in Barbados, you quickly learn a few things. Things from Barbados are Bajan, and Barbados is affectionately known locally as BIM. The people here are so warm, friendly and very generous.

I am always asking lots of questions about food – as you know – as I try to understand what the local food culture is and where it comes from. This nosiness I am sure can annoy, but in Barbados people loved to share, and one lady, Heather, a chef from The Club where I am staying, invited me to her home to cook a traditional Sunday lunch.

How exciting. It is the best thing that I could hope for when visiting another country.

Local neighbourhood where I went to cook in Barbados

Local neighbourhood where I went to cook in Barbados

Heather lives in a lovely neighbourhood, calm, near the sea, and primarily composed of the traditional Bajan chattel houses, lovely wooden homes, usually small, some big, almost always colourful. Heather welcomed me with a traditional Bajan lemonade (recipe soon!) and we got started.

Mac pie, a key part of Bajan Sunday lunch

Mac pie, a key part of Bajan Sunday lunch

The traditional Sunday lunch here has mac pie (a Bajan take on mac & cheese, with lots of spice flavour, and long strands of macaroni), rice and peas (we used local green peas, gumbo peas or split peas are also used), Bajan fried fish, pork or chicken, butter sauce / gravy (a spicy fruity buttery sauce) and coleslaw. Again, a Bajan interpretation with some spice.

Bajan fried mahi mahi (dolphin but not as we know it)

Bajan fried mahi mahi (dolphin but not as we know it)

The macaroni for the mac pie comes in long strands like spaghetti and you break it as long as you want, ours were about three inches long. We cooked mahi mahi (known locally as dolphin), marinated first in lime and salt, as all meat or fish is here before cooking, then stuffed with Bajan seasoning, a Bajan chimmichurri of sorts but much thicker and not used as a dip. It was a wonderful time, I have taken notes on all of the recipes, and I will cook them and write my take on them when I get home.

Bajan lemonade - so refreshing

Bajan lemonade – so refreshing

Cooking a traditional Bajan Sunday lunch

Cooking a traditional Bajan Sunday lunch – loved these colourful curtains

So, watch out for that, and in the meantime, enjoy the photos. I leave Barbados today, on the red eye to London. Very sad to leave but excited to get home and cook, and share lots of Bajan recipes with you.

Stuffing mahi mahi with Bajan seasoning

Stuffing mahi mahi with Bajan seasoning

Seasoned flour to coat the fish

Seasoned flour to coat the fish

Butter sauce / gravy

Butter sauce / gravy

Macpie

Macpie

Bajan fried fish

Bajan fried fish

Heather in her kitchen

Heather in her kitchen

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I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

13 Comments

  1. Do you know if Heather (or anyone, for that matter) would be interested in cooking breakfast & dinner for my family and me while we’re in Barbados?
    Please let me know!

    Reply

      • We are coming to Barbados in January. I would love to hire someone to cook. I can only find sites online where the cuisine looks very gourmet with five course meals. I am more interested in someone cooking Bajan specialties, someone like Heather or even a Bajan mom. Any advice on how to make this happen in advance? We are not staying at a resort but a home.

      • Hi Derek. I found Heather by asking around, and via someone I know. I don’t know if she would like to do it again but I can send your email through via the friend that put me in touch.

  2. That would be awesome Niamh! And if she wouldn’t be interested, maybe she’d know someone who would?? Thanks so much for sending my email to her.

    Reply

  3. Hi Niamh, saw this site and was hoping for the same answer. Did you happen to find ouy if this is something Heather would consider for our family as well. We’re coming to visit Barbados and would love a local home cooked meal. Could you please share my email with her please?

    Reply

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