South Charleston is becoming a veritable playground for the tastebuds it seems. We recently reported that Pho Vinh Long, a Vietnamese restaurant, is opening on October 10, and we have more good news: The area’s first Jamaican restaurant will be opening Tuesday, October 14th.
Although the South Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau was unsure of the name of the eatery, they could tell us that it will be located at 228 7th Avenue. The owner already has two restaurants in Jamaica to his credit.
Most people are already familiar with one of Jamaica’s most beloved exports, jerk. Jerk is a method of cooking rather than a dish itself. It originated with the Arawak Indians cooking marinated meat over a fire of pimento wood. Pimento berries yield allspice, which is an essential ingredient in jerked dishes.
Speaking of fire, watch out for the scotch bonnet pepper, another traditional Jamaican ingredient. Akin to the habanero, the scotch bonnet is one of the hottest peppers in the world. Scotch bonnets impart the heat in a Jamaican-jerked dish. Other seasonings common to jerked meats include cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme and garlic.
Fried plantains may make an appearance on the menu as well. A plantain is similar in appearance to a banana, however plantains are firmer and have a lower sugar content. To enjoy them, plantains are usually cooked or processed in some way, many times in ways similar to the potato: steamed, boiled or fried.
Don’t be fooled by the name of another well-known Jamaican dish – rice and peas. The “peas” are actually pigeon peas, red kidney beans or even cowpeas. None of which are “peas” to me! (The black-eyed pea is a subspecies of the cowpea.) Rice and peas is a staple of the Jamaican diet and is traditionally eaten with the Sunday meal.
By combining native ingredients with influences from Spain, England, Africa, India and China, the unique Jamaican cuisine was developed.
Experience a taste of the island and make summer last a little longer by checking out the Jamaican restaurant soon.