Hi, im new to florida and im in the miami area... and was wondering if anyone knows anything about Jamaican food and where i might go and have a try...i keep hearing about the "jerked" meat...im afraid to ask if its like "beef jerky"... any bit of help would be appreciated...thank you in advance...David
Jamaican restaurants are ALL OVER North Miami and
south Broward county, especially along 441 from
Opa-locka to Hollywood. They are quite specialized
and offer intriguing combinations like Jamaican-
Chinese and Jamaican-East Indian. There are Jamaican
bakeries, seafood shops, butcher shops and grocery
stores. Also places that specialize in roti (curried
goat, most excellent) or jerk (spicy grilled meats)
fungi (spoon bread, not fungus) and ice cream flavored
with tropical fruits you never heard of. Try 'em all
and pick a favorite. Jamaican food is long on flavor
and variety with a tendency toward heat.
it's been years, so i don't know if this place is still open or if the food is still as good, but when i lived in miami, my favorite spot for jamaican was a placed called ISLAND DELIGHT. as with the dim sum post, i can't give a specific address, but it was on kendall drive in a strip mall. it's across the ave from home depot. other stores in the mall, at the time, included an el dorado furniture, a sizzler and a popular sub shop.
(speaking in the present tense) the place is a mini-market for jamaican products w/ a kitchen in the back. you order from the folks up front, who take it back to the kitchen. usual jamaican choices, including jerk, stew chicken, oxtail, and some fish. also a pea soup that's very popular, but i've never tired it b/c it contains pork. by far the best jamaican food i had down there. the jerk is of the dry rub variety, and it's served w/ a little container of hot sauce. if i remember correctly, the hot sauce looks a bit watery, with only a tinge of green/brown, but quite quite spicy. another excellent dish is the fricassee/brown stew chicken....long simmered gravy with a bunch of onions...so scrumptious and very tender chicken. all dishes served with some lettuce and tomato, the best rice and peas i ever had in miami and a few pieces of plaintain. can't remember if they're sweet fried or plain.
i would not recommend the patties there, though. those were awful. for patties, a place that's highly recommended by others is sonia's on 104th across from mdcc. in, natch, a strip mall w/ a bank, burger king and a bike shop. they make serveral varieties, in regular and cocktail size. i've only tried the patties a couple of times...i think the chicken and shrimp. i didn't think the filling was so great, but the crust was good...flakier than most, and a little salty which i liked.
sorry i don't have any more current recommendations, but if island delight is nearly as good as it used to be, you're in luck.
Jerk refers to a kind of spiced and roasted meat. The spices vary from powdered rubs to spicy pastes to sweet/hot sauces. don't be afraid, the stuff is great and nothing like beef jerky. Think spicy caribbean BBQ. "peas and rice" or red beans and rice are staples, as well as their great cabbage and other veggies. meat patties/pies and empanadas, all refer to the same delicious deep-fried pastry pockets filled with spiced mea. not to be missed! Roti refers to a kind of flatbread filled with rice, meat, etc. haven't eaten any of that yet, but sounds good. Lots of good curried goat and chicken, but always beward of shards of bone--- they crush their bones to cook in flavor in stews and sauces. can be a real pain.
I live in Tampa, so have no places for you in Miami, but explore--- and don't expect fast service. Caribbean places usually tend to be insulated (mostly caribbean customers) and slow paced. If they act like they don't want you there, then never go back. see my review of "golden Touch (tampa)" in the fla message board.