What would you do if you lived somewhere and while there you fell in love with say their….world famous donuts. But upon relocating, you realise that no one quite has those donuts. You would probably complain and lament the lack of your beloved treat. You might post TBT shots on Instagram of you and your friends enjoying that donut. In time, you might learn to forget and look forward to trips back to that place so you can eat your beloved donut.
Like the man behind Island Bites, you will just start making the donuts yourself and start selling them too because you just can’t stand people not knowing about the bloody donuts.
Donuts here mean Caribbean food. Yup, that is the story of Island Bites. Us guys at For food’s sake eat are suckers for love stories about food so we dove in.
First, a bit of a brief. Carribean or Jamaican food includes rice, peas, goat curry, seasoned cassava, plantain. Pretty much what we eat here in Ug. And of course jerk chicken-which is prepared by first marinating the chicken in a blend of spices and then slowly smoking (roasting) it. Island bites prepares all of this.
It is so hard to put this into words…let me say; Expectation. ‘What could that be?’ ‘Get that wrapping off already’. ‘I can’t wait to see what’s inside’. This is what it smelled like, with a hint of herbs.
Looks like your rice, chicken with just a few beans. Can you see the onions? There were lots of onions. But then throw a lot of flash on it and see that there is this rich sauce lurking.
The flavour is rich. Hot but also slightly sweet. I asked the chef what i was tasting, is this a sauce they buy from the supermarket? Is it proprietary? Is it a blend? His answer? Zipper across the mouth emoji…so that means they are keeping the recipe under wraps. I get it. I would too if i was them. It’s good.
Caribbean food is all about the spice. But Island Bites is having to contend with a market that isn’t so spice/chilli friendly. I am exceedingly chilli friendly so i was glad for it.
The chilli did this thing where…you don’t taste it in your mouth…instead you feel it in your chest and then your tummy. Much like those drinks that are sweet like juice but get you super drunk.
This is how one of our chief tasters (we have tasters now) reacted to the flavours. Unlike me she is anti chilli so she ate a few fork fulls and paused.
‘You don’t like it?’
‘It’s spicy. I’m not into spicy.’
But minutes later, she was back.
‘There is something in there. I can’t tell what it is’. (More fork fulls) ‘Thyme?’ (Even more fork fulls)
‘It’s also in the chicken.’ (more fork fulls)
And then she summoned the other taster to try and break it down further. If this was an English exam and you were asked to summarise this experience, i’d give you top marks for this sentence:
Island bites’ rice and jerk chicken takes a minute to grow on those who are not experimental, but once it gets there, they become converts who insist that others share the experience.
Chicken that falls off the bone is a dream. May all other chicken have that ability.
Order a meal by calling 0702458804 or see their page. Jerk chicken with rice, coleslaw goes for 20k. You can also get it with a side of gonja.