106 - Double Your Guyanese Flavour

By Mary Luz Mejia

Typical Guyanese foods and dishes are a direct reflection of their three hundred year colonial past. Like Trinidad, Guyana's favourite dishes are a terrific fusion of East Indian, Chinese, Portuguese and African recipes and ingredients.

No one bats an eyelash when they're offered curries, chow meins and Spanish rice at a Guyanese function, which helps explain why the culinary traditions of this country are all embraced in one happy melting pot. If you find yourself wanting to make some West Indian treats, you most definitely want to make your way to Charley's West Indian Food store for the freshest and tastiest ingredients around.

You can grab green bora beans (also called bodi beans in Trinidad, and sometimes yard-long beans, snake beans and Chinese beans elsewhere), which are a much longer version of our string beans and are sold by the parcel or bunch. Tasty in stir fries, soups, noodle dishes or in curries, whatever you choose to call these beans, they're a crisp, flavourful addition to any dish.

Charley's also carries fresh wiri-wiri (aka meri weri in Guyana) peppers that resemble bright red cherries on steroids. They're almost as hot as scotch bonnets or habaneros, but their flavour is reputed to be a bit sweeter and much more distinctive.

Whole cassava or yucca, spicy mangos, yams, tamarind in the pod and numerous hot sauces are also on hand to help replicate the taste of Guyana. But if the thought of all that cooking is enough to make you tired, then head down a few doors to Charley's Exotic Cuisine where a tantalizing plate of Guyanese style chow mein awaits, along with lo-mein, fried fish and numerous rice dishes with Chinese-style curries. Who says you can't have your meri-wiri and eat it too?

Charley's West Indian Food & Charley's Exotic Cuisine
1154 Morningside Ave.
Scarborough, Ontario
(located in the same strip mall)

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