Wed | Jun 28, 2017

Street Eatz | Mama Bev's Soup Shop: Food from the Heart

Published:Thursday | February 23, 2017 | 2:00 AMKrysta Anderson
Mama Bev (left) serves up her signature red peas soup to Tachoy Bennett, while Paula Williams already indulging in hers.
Mama Bev always greets her customers with a warm smile.
You have never truly had boiled corn unless you have had it straight from the soup!
Mama Bev shares out a cup of her red peas soup.
If soup isn't what you desire, dig into some of Mama Bev's freshly prepared fried fish with fried breadfruit.
Or maybe you would like to try a serving of sprat with a side of bammy.
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For this week's Street Eatz, Food ventured outside the busy streets of Kingston and took a rural approach to spicing up our palate. So buckle up, because you're in for a bumpy ride.

In Photo: Mama Bev always greets her customers with a warm smile.- Patrick Planter

If you've ever travelled from Kingston to St Mary or Portlan,d through Junction, then you would know first-hand that it is a long and winding road. And just when you think you couldn't take another corner, you are greeted by a vibrant blue and yellow shop on the left. That should definitely be a sign to pull over, take a break, and see what Mama Bev's Shop has to offer.

As you take in a breath of fresh air, you are greeted by the sweet aromas permeating the atmosphere, inviting you to take a sip or a bite. And Mama Bev's warm smile is all the more convincing for you to see what's bubbling on the fire.

In photo: Mama Bev shares out a cup of her red peas soup -Patrick Planter.

 

SPECIAL STOP

 

Mama Bev's Shop sits adjacent to Oriental Fried Chicken, and is the first of four soup shops along the strip. So, what makes her soup so special? Let's tell you.

Beverly Dunn, affectionately called Mama Bev, has been cooking from the heart for over 35 years, and has loved every minute of it. "I love to cook and I know I can cook, so it was only natural that I followed this path," she told Food.

She originally started doing just corn, but later started selling soup, too. Her signature soups became such a hit with those in the community of Friendship Gap and commuters that pretty soon, they began demanding more, and she began offering fried fish, bammy and fried breadfruit as well.

In photo: Mama Bev (left) serves up her signature red peas soup to Tachoy Bennett, while Paula Williams already indulging in hers. -Patrick Planter.

Just as our team arrived on the scene during the lunch hour on Monday, we saw a few customers placing orders and got to witness Mama Bev in action, serving her customers with a smile.

Her signature soups - red peas and mannish water - are not only filling, they're also heartwarming. And her red peas soup is not just any red peas soup: it's red peas with chicken foot, cow skin and peanut soup? Don't knock it 'til you've tried it - the burst of unique flavours fused with the heat will send your taste buds straight to 'Happyville' and back! Her 'secret' ingredient to her soups is the cow skin and customers love her for it.

In photo: If soup isn't what you desire, dig into some of Mama Bev's freshly prepared fried fish with fried breadfruit. -Patrick Planter

Thanking God for the business opportunity her culinary expertise has provided, she said that because of this blessing, she has been able to save towards her family's future. Jamaicans often say 'Every mickle mek a muckle', and Mama Bev has made this concept her mantra.

So the next time you happen to find yourself on the Junction main road in St Mary, make a stop at Mama Bev's Shop: your palate will be in for fresh awakening and she'll have you joyfully sipping in no time.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com