Jamaican Restaurants in West Broward: Hidden Gems Everywhere

For a slideshow of Auntie I's Jamaican Restaurant, click here.

Wayne and his brother Richard "came up through the ranks" of cooking and took over the business in 1997, when their parents retired. The Hammonds are known for their patties.

Some people know Jamaican patties, also called turnovers, only as eerie yellow things in gas station heating cases. "Now most of [the patties] come out of New York and are made by a machine," Hammond lamented. Homemade ones, however, are the ultimate portable fast food.

Hammond's makes its own savory patties and sells 1,800 to 2,000 patties a day, all made by hand, with fillings ranging from ground beef spiced with scotch bonnet peppers ($1.70) to callaloo ($1.60). Callaloo, leafy greens found throughout the Caribbean that are similar to collard greens, comes from the top of a taro root , sometimes also called dasheen.

Aunt I's oxtail, prepared using Mom's recipe.
Aunt I's oxtail, prepared using Mom's recipe.

Location Info

Map

Auntie I's

1178 N. State Road 7
Sunrise, FL 33313

Category: Restaurant > Caribbean

Region: Sunrise/Plantation

Donna's Caribbean Restaurant

3294 U.S. 441
Lauderdale Lakes, FL 33309

Category: Restaurant > Jamaican

Region: Lauderhill

Hammonds' Bakery

4224 NW 12th St.
Lauderhill, FL 33313-5817

Category: Restaurant > Jamaican

Region: Sunrise/Plantation

Seminole Truck Stop/Cafe 27

4690 U.S. Highway 27
Weston, FL 33331

Category: Services

Region: Weston

Details

Aunt I's Jamaican Restaurant, 1178 N. State Road 7, Lauderhill; 954-321-0190.

Donna's Caribbean Restaurant, 3294 N. State Road 7, Lauderdale Lakes; 954-733-3353.

Hammond's Bakery, 4224 NW 12th St., Lauderhill; 954-583-3554.

Seminole Truck Stop/Cafe 274690 U.S. Highway 27, Weston; 954-434-0660.

For a slideshow of Auntie I's Jamaican Restaurant, click here.

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Jamaican breakfast fare can be as intimidating as cow foot for the uninitiated. A popular choice on a weekday morning was akee and saltfish, mixed together to create a breakfast hash.

Akee is a tropical fruit, thought to have come from Southern Africa, and has the color and texture of scrambled eggs but the flavor of a sweet mild squash. Mixed with it were sweet translucent slivers of onion and tender chunks of saltfish, juicy but also so salty that we felt our fingers swell as the mixture disappeared.

At Donna's Caribbean Restaurant in Lauderdale Lakes, the $9 dish came with firm boiled bananas, firmer than when raw, with a nuttier flavor, as well as fried plantains and orange-sized balls of that sweet Jamaican fry bread. Donna's website says the restaurant, which has five locations in Broward, opened in 1995. Owner Carl Gordon wasn't eager to talk about his business and how it got started.

"Not interested," he said before abruptly hanging up the phone.

Just as Jamaicans learned to create rich stews out of meats that typically never make it to restaurant tables, saltfish arose as a matter of necessity. Codfish was dried and salted to preserve the meat for use much later.

"When we're ready to eat it, we boil it to pull out all the salt," Grant says. The boiling also rehydrates the flesh, reverting its texture from a dry jerky to its natural state.

Donna's also has a short list of Chinese dishes, including vegetable fried rice ($5.99/$7.99) and shrimp lo mein ($7.99/$9.99), just like you might find at a utility Chinese takeout. If that seems out of place, know that in the mid-19th Century, a few dozen Chinese migrant laborers arrived on Jamaica directly from mainland China. More came from Panama, where they had worked building the country's railroads. Halfway through the 20th Century, nearly 10,000 Chinese were living on the island, and by 1998, that figure climbed to about 22,000, according to Andrew Wilson's book The Chinese in the Caribbean.

Colonization, slavery, mass exodus, and immigrations have all played a role in making Jamaican food what it is today. Grant of Aunt I's says from the Arawaks (indigenous Jamaicans), to the "Indian influence, the African influence, the Chinese, and of course the Europeans," all of these dishes are derived from a different part of a different culture.

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