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  • Writer's pictureSarah Taylor

Barbados, the land of the flying fish

Barbados was nicknamed "land of the flying fish and indeed our national dish is Cou-Cou and Flying Fish.

Many aspects of Barbadian culture centre around the flying fish: it is depicted on coins, as sculptures in fountains, and in numerous pieces of artwork in artwork. The Barbadian coat of arms features a pelican and dolphin fish on either side of the shield, but the dolphin resembles a flying fish

Flying fish can be seen jumping out of warm waters as your cruise along the coastlines of Barbados. Their torpedo shape helps them gather enough underwater speed to break the surface, and their large, wing-like fins give them flight. Flying fish are thought to have evolved this remarkable gliding ability to escape predators, of which they have many. Their pursuers include mackerel, tuna, swordfish, marlin, and other larger fish. Flying fish themselves feed on a variety of foods, including plankton. The Flying fish itself is small in size only growing up to 45com in length Flying fish have been recorded as reaching heights of over 4 feet and gliding long distances of up to 665feet. Flying fish have been recorded stretching out their flights with consecutive glides spanning distances up to 1,312 feet. Flying fish can soar high enough that sailors often find them on the decks of their ships.

When one thinks of fish in Barbados one’s mind cannot help but think of Oistins. Oistins is the best place on the Island for visitors to experience the local culture and flavour. By day the public fish market is bustling with fishing boats bringing in their catch and the vendors cleaning and selling the fish. At night especially on Friday’s the large adjacent open area becomes a hive of activity. The aroma of fresh fish sizzling on the grill or frying in the pots delights the many visitors who come to dine, lime, dance and maybe even sing a tune or two. A vibrant festival is held in Oistins every year. The Oistins Fish Festival is a celebration of fishermen and their skills where fresh fish is cooked, the fisherman show off their skills, music is played, karaoke enjoyed and a fun time is had by all! Bajan's love karaoke but this Bajan stays far away from it. Lets just say I would not make it through the door of any show like Britain's got tallent but I would be perfect for a spin off of Worst Cooks of America .... We could call it. "The worst singers of the Caribbean"..... Hey I would probably even win "The worst singer's of the universe" show lol lol lol

The Oistins Festival commences every Easter weekend and last 3 days. Visitors can expect live calypso and reggae music, craft fairs, family games and stalls selling delicious seafood dishes. Popular events and attractions include the fish boning tournament, boat races and the fun grease-pole competition.

It was in Oistins that the Round Heads and Cavaliers were set for battle in 1639. Operations moved from the west coast of the island to the south coast. On a bluff overlooking Oistins Town preparations were made for a full scale land battle. The Parliamentary army numbered some two thousand and were opposed by Lord Willoughby's three thousand strong army. After small scale forays heavy rains intervened, lasting three days. This certainly saved the island from a major disaster. Willoughby recognised that in the long run he could not win, as desertions and the command of the seas guaranteed the upper hand to Parliament's forces. On 17th January, 1652, the Charter of Barbados setting out the conditions of surrender was ratified at Ye Mermaid's Inn, Oistin's Town. The Articles of Agreement drawn up were the third oldest in the Commonwealth. Thus ended an unusual chapter in colonial history, when for a brief moment a few people on a tiny island openly defied a strong imperial power..... No Flying fish story would be complete without a Flying fish recipe. In keeping with that here is a recipe for Fried flying fish, this Bajans opinion on the best way to prepare and enjoy Flying Fish

. Fried Flying Fish Fried Flying

10 flying fish steaks 2 limes

2 TBSP Salt 1.5 Cups Water

3 TBSP Bajan Seasoning 3 Eggs

1 Cup Flour Canola Oil

2 Cups seasoned Bread crumbs


Combine the raw fish, juice of the limes and the fruit them selves, salt and water in a bowl.

Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse the fish and cover in the Bajan Seasoning.

Place the flour in one plate, the bread crumbs in one plate and the eggs (beaten with salt & pepper) in another bowl.

Pour the canola oil in a frying pan to just cover the bottom (about a 1/8-1/4 inch layer) and heat.

Dip the fish in the flour, then egg, then bread crumbs and finally in the oil to fry.

Repeat with all the fish and enjoy.

Flying Fish hot out of the pan with a fresh salt bread and a little hot sauce is my favourite way to eat it. What is you favourite way to eat Fried Flying Fish?

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