102 - Portable Island Heat from Jamaica
By Mary Luz Mejia
September 7, 2005
If you had to pick a street eat from Jamaica that's as popular there as the venerable hamburger is here, you'd be hard pressed to pick anything but the Jamaican Patty. These half-moon, turnover-like parcels are filled with savoury, spicy beef and gravy that are enveloped in a golden crust.
Patties are a favourite snack food anytime but the kind of crust, level of spice and gravy are all up for debate. The biggest divide stems from the dry versus juicy camps. Some like their filling drier — all meat, and paste-like. Others prefer a juicy gravy filling, not so much that it spills out, but enough to pack a spicy kick.
If you're on the juicy side of the discussion, then Randy's Take-Out in Little Jamaica has the flavourful ticket. Their patties have just enough Scotch Bonnet peppers to give them some smouldering heat and enough gravy to deliver the flavour. And just in case you want to catch any drop of errant gravy, Coco bread (an oversized hamburger-bun- looking bread that's sweeter in taste, but has no coconut in it) can be wrapped around your patty in true Jamaican style.
Since there is no single recipe for patty fillings or the crust, its flavour remains the sole discretion of its maker. The only constant in this debate is that one person's perfect patty is not necessarily another's.
Any way you bake it though, the Jamaican patty is the perfect portable street eat that now calls Toronto its home away from home.
1569 Eglinton Avenue West