On Friday night I was invited to join some friends for dinner at Oistins Fish Fry. This is something that I haven’t done in many years and is a must do for all locals and visitors.
We set off on this adventure and I was so surprised to see that the car park was almost filled to capacity with cars and people walking in groups towards the actual eating areas. Wow, tourists and Bajans really do patronize the Fish Fry.
Oistins Fish Fry is situated on the seaside in Oistins in the parish of Christ Church. There are many small wooden kiosks each one with a different name, serving a variety of foods and drinks. They are long portable tables and chairs set up and a bevy of ladies trying to encourage you to sit at their tables.
They even have printed menus for your convenience to choose your desired meal from. It is a very festive atmosphere with soca music playing, hips swaying and people in a jovial mood as it is Friday night and the work week is done.
To add to the atmosphere they even have wild chickens walking about between people happily pecking at dropped morsels of food. You can smell the sea mixed with the aroma of frying fish. A light pleasant breeze was blowing keeping everyone cool.
There is a buzzing sound of all the voices as they eat dinner and converse about all things imaginable…the biggest topic around Barbados these days is politics.
My plate of grilled dolphin, pasta salad, plantain and tossed salad was absolutely delicious. Others at our table had macaroni pie, fried chicken, peas and rice. All delicious Bajan food.
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There is a small stage in the center of the forecourt which is used for live bands or dance displays. Last Friday some of the renowned personalities (some were under the influence of too much rum) were entertaining the crowd with their version of dancing. Quite a spectacle but so much part of the integral nightlife of the locals.
On one side of this event was a very intense domino competition. Table after table of men having a blast slamming dominoes, each one trying to slap down their domino louder and with more gusto than the next.
It seemed to be an official competition with people keeping score on a big blackboard. I am not sure if this happens every Friday but I am guessing it does. Again a very intimate part of Bajan culture.
The crowd was very diverse. They were tables of local people having dinner and drinks after a long week of work. They were also tables of sun burnt visitors enjoying a very Bajan cultural atmosphere. They were young kids and babies as well as tables with older teenagers.
It was a wonderful experience. Everyone just hanging out. Having some down time. My daughter and I have decided we are going to frequent Oistins more often on a Friday night as the atmosphere was very captivating.
I recommend that if you haven’t been to Oistins recently you decide to go and enjoy this experience. If you are a visitor to this island and you want to experience local culture at the fullest to make your way to Oistins and have dinner on a Friday night.
By: Anna Page