Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Crazy for crabs - Heroes Circle, home of the best crab meals in Jamaica

Published:Tuesday | May 10, 2016 | 5:00 AMAndrew Harris
Marcia 'Bunny' Gregory, a crab vendor at the National Heroes circle in Kingston display her crabs at her stall in this 2011 photo.
US President Barrack Obama laying a wreath at National Heroes Park on Thursday April 9, 2015.
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Just over one year ago they made the front pages after their stalls were demolished and they were forced to relocate in preparation for the visit of United States president Barrack Obama.

Now they are back with the area slightly improved and more plans in place to ensure that people who visit what is arguably the best crab spot in Jamaica, will leave satisfied.

For these crab vendors in Heroes Circle, St Andrew, every patron will enjoy their meal because it is prepared with love.

"It is seasoned and cooked with love," said Makeisha 'Munchy' Walker, a crab seller who has been in the business for more than 15-years.

According to Munchy since the visit of Obama the crab sellers have enjoyed more attention and even customers from overseas even though they remain upset at how they were treated when their stalls were destroyed and they were forced to relocate.

"Since the US President has come here and left, business has been going well as usual. We were told that we could stay and do business, but no permanent structures are to be set up. We must just come and do our business and then leave nothing set up when we leave in the evenings," said Walker.

She said she started out in the business by watching her father, mother and aunts who prepared crabs for sale and she is carrying on the tradition.

"As children we use to play over Heroes Circle and watch our parents and when the crabs would try to get away we were the ones that would catch them," said Walker.

The crab vendors, who offer their meals all year around, get their supplies from all over the Island with most of the crabs coming from Clarendon, Portland, St Mary and St Thomas.

According to the vendors, the best of everything can be found at Heroes Circle, including boiled crabs, curried crabs (done-to-order), roast yam and salt fish, roast corn and soup.

Odette Stable who has been in the business for more than seven years, shared with the Gleaner team that she works another job, but being in the roast yam and salt fish business has provided an additional income which allows her to send her children to school with all their needs taken care of.

"Business has been going good and we gone worldwide now," said Stable. "More people from all over the country and overseas come to tell us that they saw us on TV and read about us in the papers.

'When they moved us off the road, it was bad for business, but it has been doing some good for us now," added Stable.

She believes the best roast yam and salt fish is at Heroes Circle, because the recipe has been passed down from her grandfather and she has made it better.

Nichols Campbell Bell was purchasing roast yam and salt fish when our news team visited. She said her mother started taking her to eat at the spot when she was eight years old and now she takes her young son, a student of Kingston College, to get roast yam and salt fish there.

"This is the tastiest, sweetest and nicest yellow yam and salt fish. It is very good. The roast yam and salt fish sell off!" said Campbell Bell.

She added that she never understood why the vendors were moved during the visit of the US president, as the crab business is a part of Heroes Circle.

"It is like a landmark. if this is taken away from Heroes Circle then it would affect the people's view of the area," declared Campbell Bell who noted that customers can get a meal for as little as $150.