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Jamaican Me Hungry, Part 3: Lunch at Little Ochi

Cooking at Little Ochi
Cooking at Little Ochi

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.

Jamaican Me Hungry, Part 3: Lunch at Little Ochi
Ochi dining room
Ochi dining room
Our lunch tray
Our lunch tray

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.

Dining room view
Dining room view


.

Curry lobster straight from the sea
Curry lobster straight from the sea

Fried

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.

I don't deny the conch fritters look good.
I don't deny the conch fritters look good.
Fish fry
Fish fry

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.

I'm not a festival guy.
I'm not a festival guy.
Steam fish with some whammy bammy
Steam fish with some whammy bammy

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

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.


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