102 - Shopping for Caribbean Food

By Mary Luz Mejia

Jamaicans love to eat their national dish -- codfish and ackee, particularly for breakfast meals. For lunch and dinner you'll find an array of jerked meats (chicken and pork are the most popular), Johnny cakes, curried goat and callaloo soups.

So where does one find the ingredients to make some of these Jamaican staples here in Toronto? For the food adventurous who wants to take a bash at preparing these recipes at home, you'd be wise to start at Nicey's Food Mart. They have seven locations scattered throughout the GTA and they sell just about any Caribbean foodstuff your heart desires.

Nicey's imports as much fresh Jamaican produce as it can, when it's available. From young coconuts that contain refreshing coconut water and jelly to the world's hottest pepper, the fiery scotch bonnet, Nicey's has you covered. Callaloo, or the green spinach-like leaves of the dasheen plant are brought in fresh when it's in season. Otherwise, it's found canned, as are the ever-popular ackee that resembles scrambled eggs when cooked.

A huge selection of spices, from the sweet to the seriously hot line the shelves, as does numerous salted fish varieties -- cod and snapper are two of the most common. For those who'd rather just eat than toil away in their kitchens, you can stop by Georgia Hamilton's Caribbean Queen of Patties on Bloor West where some of the most authentic codfish and ackee await you with a side order of dumpling, festival, plantain or anything else your taste buds are calling for.

Nicey's Food Marts
visit www.niceysfoodmart.com for a complete location listing.

Caribbean Queen of Patties
1279 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario

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