16 September 2010

Cock's Bajan Restaurant & Bakery

BARBADOS

Walking into this place on a hot evening is certainly no respite from the heat and humidity of summer, as it is at least five degrees warmer with all the foods steaming from the kitchen. Gazing up at the menu and all the covered prices is just proof that a better way of approaching the meal you are about to eat is by simply asking what is cooking tonight.

A rooster eyes you as you eye the menu.

A small case advertises the ghosts of many forgotten pastries, some on offer (but from when?) and some not. The good stuff though, is hinted only by the smells coming from the back kitchen, and ordering a hot meal is the reason to come. It seems that the place does mostly takeout, as three or four guys might come in and pick up their orders as you are still bumbling through the options. The ladies here handle it all in stride though, answering questions with a smile and informing you what some Bajan specialties are, all the while serving the regulars who know what they want.


After much deliberation, it seemed necessary to order the coucou w/ fish, Bajan style ($12, below), as it sounded the most exotic and untested by my mouth at least. Coucou is part of the national dish of Barbados, and there is even a special kitchen utensil in the country called the coucou stick used for its preparation. Mainly a mix of cornmeal and okra, the concoction is very sticky and gummy in the end, but provides an excellent base for sauces and meat much like rice does in other types of cooking.

The fish in this case was flying fish.

To compare the cuisine with more familiar Jamaican, we also ordered a small stew chicken ($9, below) and were very happy with the result. The sauces and spices are similar, possibly more juicy than thick, and served over rice with some pickled vegetables just like its counterpart. The chicken meat is well stewed obviously, falling right off the bone and into your mouth.


Don't forget to wash it down with a ginger beer.
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