Little Ochi Seafood Restaurant in Alligator Pond Manchester is reputedly the best restaurant on Jamaica's south coast, and has also been mentioned as the finest seafood establishment on the entire island; it was certainly the finest we tried. Evrol "Blackie" Christian started it up in 1989 and ran the place himself; now it employs over thirty people from the community. You pick your fish out, choose from various preparations (jerked, grilled over pimento wood, steamed, curried, in brown sauce, and so forth), then sit by the water and enjoy.
Jerked conch, in foreground above, was the tastiest conch dish I've ever had -- a beautiful marriage of onions and Scotch bonnets upon it. Curried lobster was lip-smacking too, the sauce spicy with a touch of coconut sweetness.
fish were delicious as well, although I wasn't crazy about the conch
fritters. Everyone else at the table liked them, but I took one of the
leftover pieces to feed to the cat downstairs, and, hungry as he was,
he picked out just the scant few pieces of conch and left the rest
uneaten. I went upstairs and told the group that the cat agreed with me
-- too little conch encased in unimpressive batter. I felt vindicated
in my judgement.
Festival is the Jamaican version of zeppole, or fried, sweetened dough.
Not my favorite, really. Ochi's bammy, however, was steamy moist and
the best we had.
Our rasta friend and unofficial driver/guide Glenmore had steam fish --
the rastas we encountered here all ate seafood. In between tokes.
Glenmore was a wonderful person, and got along great with the kids
("little souljahs").. He let them choose the tunes on his iPod to play
in the car, and asked them if they could download some CD's he had into
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the iPod using their computer. Turns out his taste in music ran far and
wide -- everything from South Park stuff to Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts
Club Band. Seriously. But it was all reggae in the car.
Tomorrow: Peanut hominy and other good stuff at Howie's Healthy Eating.