Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fabulous Fried Chicken at a Fish Market in Barbados

Oistins in Barbados is known as a fishing village. It has the country’s best known fish market, which is the site of the Friday night Fish Fry, an all night outdoor party. However, just across the street from the market nestled among a small group of stores that have seen better days is Granny’s, which serves what many believe is the best fried chicken on the island. I haven’t tried them all but after going to Granny’s for a few years I’m not going to argue.

I never met Granny but I think I’m in love with her. The restaurant isn’t much look at—neon lights, white walls, tile floor—but it is clean and bright as full-size windows bring in lots of sunlight. It’s cafeteria style steam table service. You get your tray, walk past the food that sits behind glass and tell smiling women behind the counter what you want. The food is served in Styrofoam containers. You eat on Formica tables and padded metal chairs scattered about outside.

The restaurant serves a full menu of Bajan food, including the national dishes of Cou-cou (made of cornmeal and okra) and flying fish (which actually has wings and can glide above water to avoid larger predator fish).

But it’s the fried chicken that makes Granny an annual trip for me and Maria. Its skin crackles with crispiness. The flour is well spiced. The meat is moist. It is simple food with texture and flavor done incredibly well. It’s how I imagine fried chicken should taste. And the place doesn’t discriminate. The entire bird is fried—including gizzards, livers and necks. Our sides on this trip were a creamy, comforting macaroni pie (a Caribbean version of baked macaroni and cheese) and a crisp, light coleslaw, perfect for a hot afternoon.
I’m hungry.

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