Oistins Fish Mar­ket By Day

Arti­cle reblogged from Uncom­mon Caribbean

Vis­i­tors to Bar­ba­dos who miss the weekly fish fry Fri­day nights (and Sat­ur­day nights too, but Fri­day is gen­er­ally bet­ter) in Oistins are miss­ing what has become the best weekly, open air par­ties on the island. But don’t be so quick to dis­miss Oistins as a one trick pony. For Uncom­mon Caribbean trav­el­ers, a visit to Oistins any day of the week dur­ing the day offers a spe­cial, more authen­tic cul­tural expe­ri­ence… And as a bonus, bet­ter prices.

Before the weekly par­ties came along, Oistins was already a major fish­ing com­mu­nity in Bar­ba­dos’ Christ Church parish. On any given day for a cou­ple hun­dred years, an armada of small, tra­di­tional fish­ing ves­sels have bobbed in Oistin Bay, fish­er­men have weaved nets on the shore, and stands have pro­vided fresh fish for lucky patrons.

Your best bet to recon­nect with this tra­di­tion, is to hit the Berinda Cox Fish Mar­ket (just west of the col­or­ful shops that host the fish fry fes­tiv­i­ties) early. Shel­tered from the hot Bajan sun beneath some sim­ple roofs, you’ll find a bus­tle of activ­ity. A cou­ple of men in bright blue aprons will be effi­ciently clean­ing all man­ner of sea life with rapid knife cuts, quick scrapes to remove entrails, and blasts of water from hoses hang­ing from the ceil­ing. Around them, patrons will alter­nate between hail­ing up friends, idle chat­ter, eye­ing the cleaner’s actions closely and offer­ing stac­cato shouts of instruction.

Fish Cleaner, Oistins Fish Market By Day, Barbados by Patrick Bennett
FISH CLEANER, OISTINS FISH MAR­KET BY DAY, BAR­BA­DOS BY PATRICK BEN­NETT
“Save dem bones.”

“Yeah, yeah, mus have de head fo soup.”

“Das my fish!”

While hang­ing a lit­tle fur­ther back on the edges of the shade, hun­gry cats and oppor­tunis­tic egrets await their own moment to sam­ple the market’s catch of the day.

Your first incli­na­tion might be to approach a fish cleaner to inquire about a tasty morsel for your­self, but that’s not their job. Instead, look on the perime­ter for some­one near a bag full of bags with a hand­ful of cash. He’s the man who han­dles inquiries, man­ages pric­ing and doles out fish for the clean­ers to pre­pare to your specs. Just don’t for­get to tip the cleaner when he’s done.

On a recent visit, we got a large dol­phin fish (or mahi-​mahi) cleaned, de-​boned and sliced into per­fect steaks for $56 Bar­ba­dos dol­lars. That’s just $25 US! Think how much just one of those mahi-​mahi cut­ters costs at restau­rants across the island and now do the math.

If fry­ing or grilling up some fish for your­self isn’t your thing, Oistins dur­ing the day still offers much to the Uncom­mon Caribbean traveler.

Playing in the Surf, Oistins Fish Market By Day, Barbados by Kathleen Bennett
PLAY­ING IN THE SURF, OISTINS FISH MAR­KET BY DAY, BAR­BA­DOS BY KATH­LEEN BEN­NETT
A walk along the shore offers an end­less amount of pho­to­graphic oppor­tu­ni­ties. Chicken lounge in the shade, dozens of pic­turesque fish­ing boats inno­cently sport­ing women’s names float rest­lessly in the bay, chil­dren splash in the surf, some fish­er­men catch a few Z’s atop coun­ters in the rel­a­tive shade of their closed fish stands, while oth­ers make (or lose, as the case may be) a few extra dol­lars at card tables.

Lexie's Bar Oistins Fish Market By Day, Barbados by Patrick Bennett
LEXIE’S BAR OISTINS FISH MAR­KET BY DAY, BAR­BA­DOS BY PATRICK BEN­NETT
Smack in the mid­dle of it all, is Lexie’s bar which proudly pro­claims on its unchar­ac­ter­is­ti­cally unpa­tri­otic Heineken sign to be open 24 hours! Here, you can snag a Banks (or Heineken if you want to be swayed by adver­tis­ing) bright and early — first thing in the morn­ing just like the other fish­er­men prop­ping up the bar. To accom­pany your bev­er­age, try the fried fish for break­fast with a healthy dose of pep­per sauce.

Close your eyes with these tastes lin­ger­ing in your mouth and you just might feel like Oistins is throw­ing you a pri­vate fish fry!

This arti­cle reblogged from Uncom­mon Caribbean

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