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How to Eat a Jamaican Patty

The patty is probably the best known fast food in Jamaica. This meat- or sometimes vegetable-filled meat pie is favored by rich and poor, young and old – for lunch, or a snack or sandwiched between a coco bread, a soft buttery roll, a meal.

Said to be a direct descendant of the Cornish pasty, the Jamaican patty is made most often with beef, which is enclosed in a

Jamaican Patty

Jamaican Patty

flaky shell that has been brushed with egg yolk or tumeric, depending on the baker, to give it a reddish-yellow color.

The patty has evolved over the years and now comes in a variety of fillings – chicken, shrimp, lobster, fish, vegetable, callaloo, ackee and cheese. Beef, though, still remains the favorite.

Patty is big business, with as you can imagine, hundreds of patty shops around the island and in Jamaican communities abroad. Many popular eateries, like Juici Beef here, began as patty shops. (Juici Beef is now in all fourteen parishes and has a factory in Canada. Tastee, another popular patty place has several locations on the island and distributes in the Caribbean.) Golden Krust, which started in New York and now has about 120 franchises in the U.S. credits a substantial portion of its revenue to patty sales. It now supplies patties to Wal-Mart, the New York Public Schools, and correctional facilities.

There’s an art to eating a patty. Fresh from the oven, it is hot enough to cause burns. In fact, some restaurants in New York, display a sign right above the patty oven to warn customers.

My preference is to let the patty cool a bit before digging in. But usually by the time I reach for a patty, I’m quite hungry and maybe because I’m hungry, I think I convince myself that my hunger will insulate my tongue. No such luck. I’ve been burned several times!

A friend of mine opens hers up so the filling can cool faster, then she eats it with a knife and fork.

So the key to eating a patty, is to take your time. And if you’ve made a patty-coco bread sandwich or, as we used to call it in high school, a coco-pat, go even slower — the coco bread doesn’t cool the patty down any faster.

If you’ve had a Jamaican patty, do share your tips for eating it.

Comments

  1. A Jamaican patty with coco bread is pure heaven. Hard to find though…
    J9 STYLE recently posted..Vintage Love: RetromendedMy Profile

  2. Jamaican patty? New to me, thanks.

  3. Andrew Graeme Gould
    Twitter:
    says:

    Nice variety of fillings, I see. Better be careful, then!
    Andrew Graeme Gould recently posted..Santiago, Chile: Gratiferia — free flea marketMy Profile

  4. I haven’t had the opportunity to taste a Jamaican patty but we have versions of that here. Usually I just blow on it to make it cool and eat a small bite at a time haha Yes, do add me in the Blogger Relay. Appreciate the invite!
    Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com recently posted..Capture the Colors of EuropeMy Profile

  5. Sounds good enough to eat.

    What is the coco bread?
    Tree Girl recently posted..venturing into places where women should not goMy Profile

    • A coco bread — not sure how it got its name — is soft, like a butter roll and spongy. It’s probably baked flat then folded over so we usually open it and slip the patty between the folds. I’ll see if I can find a photo.

  6. When I taught elementary school in the Bronx, my kiddos would get SO excited on patty day…seriously, they liked it more than pizza day! It’s quite the hit with all age groups:-)
    Jess recently posted..Treasured Tables: The Back-To-Work SpecialMy Profile

  7. totsymae1011
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oh, you don’t have to tell me how to eat a Jamaican patty. I love these! I always got the chicken and the spices…Yummm. I want one now.

    I’ve never known them to be in the schools in GA. We’re so slow down here. But it’s a filling little meal. Because I’d always eaten mine from a Jamaican restaurant, the temp was always just right after coming out of a toaster oven.
    totsymae1011 recently posted..We’re Off to the Races, FolksMy Profile

  8. I love patties but haven’t had one in a while. I eat it like a sandwich and love it when spicy. :-)
    ElizOF recently posted..Reflections: A Moment Of Happiness…My Profile

  9. I have been visiting various blogs for my dissertation study. Actually i am a food bug, especially i like meat type food, bring me a lot of rubs and marinades but have never tried this brand.