Best of Miami

Miami's Five Best Jamaican Patties: The Power of a Proper Pastry

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Throughout history humankind has focused on what divides us. Wars have been waged over skin color, land and religion. Despite these differences people from Latin America to Asia all stumbled upon the idea of putting seasoned some meat or vegetables inside a tasty crust and serving them at all hours of the day.

One could argue that in Miami the empanada is the standard bearer for savory pastries. Yet you can also find samosas, a fragrant Indian pastry stuffed with meat or curried vegetables and either baked or fried. Our Jewish friends offer the knish, most commonly filled with potato but sometimes meat. Yet large Jamaican populations in South Florida, particularly in the northern part of Miami-Dade as well as Broward, brought us the patty.

We're happy to take down half a dozen spicy patties for lunch, but recognize all patties aren't created equally. You might have seen them as limp, unnaturally yellow things sitting under a gas station heat lamp. Yet the real thing is far different than the frozen, reheated hockey pucks.

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Zachary Fagenson became the New Times Broward-Palm Beach restaurant critic in 2012 before taking up the post for Miami in 2014. He also works as a correspondent for Reuters.
Contact: Zachary Fagenson