'Family Circle' serves up some tasty faves
Jamaica has, by far, one of the richest, most tantalising cultures around! So, welcome to Street Eatz, where we will hit the road and feature all things local that are uniquely savoury and sweet to our way of life.
Our first stop is Heroes Circle in Kingston at the famous crab spot. Brandishing a sea of bandannas with splashes of red, topped with a wave of blue tarpaulin for protection from sun and rain, the sidewalk is filled with smoke, claws and cobs, even yams.
Many Jamaicans, and foreigners alike, love crab, and while Heroes Circle is known for supplying tasty crustaceans to satisfy eager taste buds all year round, it is the stories of those behind the pots which makes their one-stop cook spot so one-of-a-kind.
Meet Precious Stewart, affectionately known as Kay. She explained to Food that she pretty much grew up at that very crab spot, "I've been out here since childhood days, with my mother, and now I'm 54 years old, so it has been a long time," she expressed. Getting their crab all year round from Westmoreland, Clarendon, and St Thomas, Kay said business is slow right now; but since June is the high season for crab, it is high season for them as well. Stewart also added that foreigners love crab, too, as they stop whenever they pass by.
Kay specially prepares her crab by boiling it with scallion, thyme, and about two pounds of pepper, because "pepper takes out the rawness from the shellfish".
Normadelle Raymond, better known as 'Day Girl', said she decided to follow her grandmother when it came to cooking and has never looked back. "Back in the day, we would go to market at 2:30 a.m. or 3 a.m., just to get everything ready by morning. Over time, when we nuh get nuh work, we usually come out here. Things and times change, because when we would often stop selling at 10 p.m., now we go in at 7 p.m. We sell to everybody, doctor, lawyer, even thief," she declared, with a laugh.
Day Girl cooks up boiled crab as well, but she also offers roasted and boiled corn to her customers.
Makeisha Walker, also known as 'Munchie,' started out by asserting that Munchie's soup - chicken foot with cow skin and beef - is the best soup around town! Munchie has been selling soup for more than 10 years. She speaks of her job with great pride and joy as she is continuing the family tradition. "My sister, Racquel, is also out here. She does salt fish and roast yam, but she isn't here today. It has its ups and downs but it puts food on the table, pays the bills, and is sending my two girls to school. My mother was here, but now that my mother and father have died, we are still going and keeping the family tradition alive," she revealed.
So if you want a taste of tradition, be sure to make that stop at Heroes Circle, where you can indulge in the likes of boiled crab, roasted and boiled corn, soup, and cooked-down salt fish with roasted yam. Until next time, keep it 'street' and eat responsibly.