by Ira “The Calypso Epicurean” Claxton
Sun and Soca, are typically what comes to mind as carnival goers descend on South Florida for Miami Carnival, arguably the best Caribbean Carnival in North America. Just don’t forget the FOOD! Whether you’re a novice or a carnival veteran this is definitely the opportunity to sample some of the Caribbean’s most cherished flavors. To fuel the days of fete’n (partying), J’ouvert (early morning party) and to add to your Carnival day, attendees of Miami Broward One Carnival will be exposed to the many flavors and foods of the Caribbean. Let me, “The Calypso Epicurean” introduce you to some of my must have favorites.
Corn Soup (Trinidad) – Arguably the #1 soak up the libations after the party food. Corn on the cob, broth,dumplings, carrots and seasonings? Yes please! The non-initiated may say “Why would you eat soup after a party in the heat of Miami?” Trust me on this one. As someone that has been to a few fetes and had a few cups of corn soup…it works wonders!
Bake N Shark/Bake N Saltfish (Trinidad) – Yes shark. If you can find a food vendor selling true shark, you can thank me later. The seasoned, fried, filet of goodness between a bake (fry dumpling) topped with extras like slaw, tamarind sauce and pepper sauce (yes peppa sauce not Tabasco) will have your mouth singing soca. Saltfish made from salted cod usually soaked overnight, is cooked, shredded then mixed with oil, onions, peppers and other seasonings. The saltfish is served between fry bakes and also goes well with peppa and tamarind sauce.
Jerk Chicken/Oxtails (Jamaica) – Served with red beans and rice, mixed vegetables and sweet fried plantains. For something more filling I would recommend either of these options, because after a few hours or days of partying, you definitely need to refuel.
Note: True Jamaican Jerk chicken should always be cooked on a grill. There is something about the aroma and dry heat from the grill that does something special to chicken seasoned with scotch bonnet pepper, garlic, scallion and pimento seasonings. It makes the mouth water.
Pate’ (Virgin Islands)/Patty (Jamaica) – No it’s not a misspelling of the same word. Most people are familiar with a Jamaican beef or chicken patty, sometimes served with baked Coco Bread. I would also like to introduce you to a pate’ which is similar to an empanada, fried to a nice crisp golden brown. These are traditionally filled with chicken, beef or my personal favorite saltfish. In the Virgin Islands we are also known for shrimp, salmon, lobster, and another popular one conch pate’ as well.
Johnny Cake & Fried Fish (Bahamas/USVI/BVI) – “Johnny Cakes” are also called “fry bake” or “fry dumpling” depending on where you are from. This simple combination of a freshly fried Johnny cake and well-seasoned fried fish (or chicken) is always a crowd pleaser.
For the inside scoop on the must try food spots for during carnival, follow Ira https://www.facebook.com/The-Calypso-Epicurean.
Sponsors for the Miami Carnival include: Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Jet Blue, Cox Media Group, 99 Jamz, Hot 105 and “With the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.”
Miami Carnival Parade of Bands and Concert
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Location: Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds
10901 Coral Way | Miami, FL 33165