Oistin’s Fish Fry – Experience the real Barbados
All the locals were asking if we were going to Oistins…the only thing was…I didn’t know what it was. Now I do.
Oistin’s Friday night fish fry is a chance to experience the real barbados. Before the tourists started coming along, Oistin’s was the local hangout on a Friday night. By day, this is the local fish market, seven days a week. Come Friday night and welcome to food fest. Grab a bite and a beer at one of the many stalls selling fresh fish served up Bajan style. You can have it grilled or fried…serve it up with local specialties such as sweet potato pie, macaroni pie or breadfruit salad. Watch the hot sauce – it is potent! It’s a street market atmosphere and it is the place to be on a Friday night in Barbados!
No need to rush…the party goes all night. If you are there too early, the lines are long for food and the tables are crowded. But not to worry, there are more than enough distractions with flea market style stalls selling Barbados mementos, jewelry and classic tourist t-shirts. There is even a guy walking around with a monkey on his back! For a donation, you can hold and feed the cute little guy.
Everyone was so friendly and happy to squish down to make more room as we found a table to fit our group of 4. We devoured our food, washing it down with more beer and Mount Gay rum before wandering around to the main street. The place was packed. It was shoulder to shoulder as we wandered along, stopping to watch a Michael Jackson impersonator, boom box and all, get upstaged by an 80 year old woman who had moves on her like you couldn’t believe! Everyone stopped to watch…local police included.
Everywhere you went, locals and tourists were milling about, banks beer and rum punch free flowing, the sound of music and chatter filling the air. We made our way back to the heart of Oistins. It was time to let the hair down as the music was in full swing. There was something for everyone as we passed a traditional dance area before hitting the main stage. They say that Rhianna got her start here at Oistin’s. The music was electric and inhibitions were quickly lost. According to locals, it is quite common for tourists to get up on stage, although the talent in the spot light was so crazy, I couldn’t imagine getting up there. The dance floor was packed and the party raged. It is no wonder Oistin’s is such an institution – we danced the night away.
Everyone was so friendly. We ended up dancing with some locals who gave us more tips on places to see on the island and parties for Saturday night. The battle of the paper vs smart phone ensued as we tried to figure out where to go next! (Paper won!) Funny how the best way to figure out what to do is to be out with the locals…they always know the best places.
We arrived at Oistins after dark, although I have heard that the sunset is particularly beautiful at the beach. If you get there early, grab some fish scraps and you may even be able to feed the turtles. We also organized with our taxi driver to wait for us and bring us back to our hotel at the end of the night. (I did the same in Antigua when I went to the party at Shirley’s Heights. I am guessing this is common practice on the islands!) I would also suggest comfy shoes and cash…I didn’t see any credit cards used here. They do take both Barbados and US dollars.
- Barbados: Oistins Fish Fry http://www.barbados.org/oistins-fish-fry.htm
- Great tips at: Parlour magazine
- Turtle Cruise with Silver Moon: the most memorable day in Barbados