Wednesday, 2 September 2015
Barbados makes rum. It makes all sorts of rum, dark, white, spiced, vintage, cheap. It's so cheap that you can buy a bottle for 17 BDD in the supermarkets and that's under £6 a bottle. Rum is one of Barbados' major exports, not only that but it seems also to be the national hobby. It's everywhere.
There are Rum Shops, or Rum Shacks, all over the island. The coast roads are lined with them, every village has at least one or two shops, you come across them on deserted roads, hidden away behind stands of palm trees, at crossroads, even at the top of hills. It's the Barbadian version of the local pub; just a lot cheaper.
Of course like pubs there are all sorts of rum shops - tourist only shops, beach rum shacks, mixed shacks, and what might be local only rum shops. The hard thing is working out which is which and the only way to find out is to go in and have a few, a hardship I know, but it has to be done.
We visited a few and they were all friendly places where you could have a good chat and, if I am honest, I never found a local only rum shop. They might look a bit daunting, a bit cliquey, but inside they are all pretty much the same - shady and cool and full of rum.
Many cook and sell food - grilled chicken, flying fish, macaroni pie, conkie, coucou, pepperpot, and the popular pudding and souse. Pudding and souse is a traditional Saturday lunch. The souse is pickled pork, often made into a sausage. But the pork is ears, tails, snout, trotters and tongues and can be bought in the supermarkets. The pudding is steamed and shredded sweet potato. Both the pudding and souse are delicious - or so I am told.
Anyway, if you go to Barbados forget your Britishness and visit a rum shack or three, you won't regret it.