Tuesday, April 9, 2013
This is very serious business. Like Democrat or Republican, White Sox or Cubs, Stones or Beatles, choosing your favorite Jamaican pattie helps determine your direction in life. Patties are such an integral part of Jamaican culture that everyone nibbles an a version of the savory stuffed pastries at one time or the other. I journeyed through the north coast of the island to document the rivalry between the two most popular pattie companies and uncover the best pattie.
If you ask a Jamaican about their favorite pattie, you will get one of two answers: Tastee or Juici. So what's the difference? Juici is supposed to offer more varieties, Tastee, more flavor. So I investigated (in a highly scientific sampling). Around Montego Bay, Tastee seemed to be the clear favorite, boasting more stores and longer lines. In Ocho Rios, Juici earned more visibility and outlets.
Although the classic pattie is stuffed simply with seasoned beef, I saw a myriad of non-traditional flavors from shrimp to callaloo and saltfish. To make comparisons easier, I sampled curried chicken and callaloo patties from both stores.
The Tastee pattie was flaky and the filling was well seasoned. The Juici patty was thicker, with a bread-like consistency.
The callaloo pattie, above, which is like spinach, was flavorful but wasn't so well seasoned at Juici.
I like my pattie crusts flaky and the fillings spicy so sign me up for team Tastee.