by Tuere Randall
One of the best things about visiting St. Lucia is the warmth and hospitality of its people. A prime example of their friendliness and good cheer can be found at a local fish fry. The most popular ones take place in Anse La Raye, Gros Îlet, Rodney Bay and Dennery. I went to the one in Gros Îlet a few years ago with my girlfriend while we were on vacation, doing the island hopping thing over from Barbados. Everyone told us that we had to go to the Friday night fish fry at Gros Îlet. I’m glad we took their advice — it was nice lime for a Friday night with music blaring from speakers in the streets while different local cooks sold food from makeshift stalls and people bought bottles of beer from a bar and then came back on the street to eat and listen to music. It was more like a giant block party than anything. Native St. Lucians said that the food was better at the fish fry at Anse La Raye, but it was more low-key and the night ended earlier. The fish fry at Gros Îlet was a better scene for the social interaction because it lasted until later into the night.
While we were there, we also went to a fish fry in the fishing village of Dennery. Although the festivities start in the late afternoon, we didn’t get there until well after dark with a few St. Lucian friends that we had just met. The food was better in Dennery, probably seafood is the primary business of the town dwellers there. There was lots of music and it seemed that the popular stalls ran out of food early leaving us to scramble and take a chance on some of the vendors who had not been sampled previously by our friends. Normally, I’m adventurous when it comes to food, and even though I’ve eaten escargot before, I had to draw the line at eating one of the welks that was offered to me. This giant sea snail looked a little too much like what it was, and I couldn’t get the image out of my, head so I passed on that one. There were some nice seafood soups, and a few pieces of crisply fried fish accompanied by a shandy or two hit the spot perfectly. Once again, the music was blaring and it was easy to get caught up in the moment, the fresh air mingling with the smoky aromas wafting overhead.
Next time I visit St. Lucia, I intend to go to the fish fry at Anse La Raye, but I will certainly try to make my way back to Dennery if I can help it. Any seafood lover should consider a pilgrimage there.