While this is not really one of those draft posts awaiting publication, I thought as I was going on vacation out of the region, I could highlight a few dishes I have had recently that are part of my Guyanese foodie experience. I think I have previously delivered somewhat of an ode to my favourite Bajan foods, but this post is perhaps overdue.
I have made reference to fish cakes before, in talking about the Trini snack accra, the Bajan fish cake which is very similar (both made of salt fish) and I believe I posteda picture of a fish cake from Suriname, which perhaps speaks to the Javanese roots of that country. I ordered in lunch recently from Windjammer‘s lunch specials and the meal of the day was rice, dhal and fish cakes. Hmmm. I hadn’t heard of Guyanese fishcakes before, so I was intrigued. Was it going to be like accra, Bajan, Surinamese or those sometimes overly moist or dense Thai cakes? The Guyanese fishcake (or at least Windjammer’s version) seems to be made from fresh, not salted fish, and is a moist, well-seasoned mixture of mostly fish (not too much batter), deep fried. Despite it being fresh fish, the seasonings were familiar, common to the Caribbean, with a hint of the Guyanese married man’s pork or sweet basil. I liked these. Even though they weren’t nice and doughy like my accra. But for eating with rice, dhal and callaloo (spinach here, not the Trini callaloo) it was excellent.
Now, fried plantain in various forms is quite common throughout the region. We have twice-cooked green plantains from our latinamerican neighbours, fried ripe (oh so deliciously caramelised) plantains and of course the ubiquitous plantain chips (thinly sliced plantain deep-fried and salted crisps). But while normally I’d envision fish’n chips as being fish with chips made of potato, fried sticks of plantain seem to be popular here. The first time I had it I was unsure. The texture is not as soft as potato, and it is a bit drier, but I am getting a taste for it. It probably needs the ketchup (I have mentioned before that Guyanese love ketchup – not that Trinis aren’t known for slathering it over pizza…) but I don’t like chips and ketchup. Maybe some other sauce or condiment. However, I still do like it as a change from the regular French (Belgian) fries that is the normal fast food fare.
In Barbados and Jamaica for example, the street grills serve up fried breadfruit as sides to their barbecue and fish. I like them a tad more seasoned, but again, a nice alternative to potato. And I probably just need some sauce to go with them. And the fish? Seasoned so good, and when hot hot hot, it is great (I love fish). I think this is usually banga-mary (sp?) seasoned with some sweet basil, thyme and a hint of turmeric I believe (among other regular green seasonings). I do admit I will be enjoying some British battered fish and chips with mushy peas, but salt and vinegar cannot always compare to well seasoned Caribbean fried fish.
Alright, Guyana didn’t invent chocolate cake. I know everyone has it. But this is chocolate cake made from cocoa produced by the Amerindians on the Waini River. IN GUYANA. And this cake served up in Oasis Cafe in Georgetown (post coming soon on that establishment) is my absolute favourite. I don’t know if it’s the rich cocoa taste. Or the fact that it is made with just the right touch of sweetness to balance the chocolate but not overpower the dark feel. Or maybe it’s just atmosphere. But no, I have had other chocolate cakes here and don’t care for them this much. This I have everytime I am in there for dessert. Ah. Waini River Chocolate Cake. Organic too.
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