Oistins and Friday Night Fish Fry
Ask anybody what you should do on a Friday night in Barbados, regardless of which part of the island you are on, and they will reply “Oistins Fish Fry“.
By day Oistins is a quiet, sleepy town that consists of just main road with a few bars facing the sea, and a few fast food places nestled against the hill behind the town. Old boats that have seen better days litter the foreshore and groups of men sit around in the fading sun playing dominos whilst drinking rum. The fish market is bustling with the days catch being prepared, before being shipped off to some of the top restaurants on the island. The by products of the fish being filleted are thrown off the pier for the turtles.
It isn’t exactly a tourist destination during the day, but that all changes on Friday night. Friday night is fish fry night and the night the town comes alive. The street kitchens open, there is live music on the bandstand, and every one meets up for a night of great food and dancing.
Lots of the vendors will suggest you come and eat with them but they aren’t aggressive and if you say you haven’t decided yet, or don’t know if you are going to eat at all, they will leave you alone (or say you have already eaten). If we might suggest you head to Uncle George’s stall we don’t think you will be disappointed. The menu is a simple, choose your fish, and then choose your “carb” (the garlic potatoes were to die for, by the way). Then sit back and let the ladies cook your dinner for you right in front of you.
You can even choose your lobster tail, which is then weighed so you know the price, before it is cooked on the grill.
This really is a great spot to people watch. To see the locals having a great evening and to see tourists really finding out what Bajan nightlife is really about.
If you arrive around sunset you will be guaranteed a table, it gets busier later on so you will have to queue, and you can start your evening by walking down the pier.
Ignore the signs that say authorised personnel only, nobody will mind if you are mindful of men with large knives and greet everyone with a smile. You can wander to the end of the pier and watch the turtles enjoying a snack from the fish market. The fish is thrown into the water to ensure it makes a slapping noise as it hits the surface. The turtles hear this and come to find the foot. It is mesmerising and a free event!
Just make sure you have your cameras at the ready!