22 Jun A Taste of Jamaica: Delicious Caribbean Cuisine To Try Near You
If there’s ever been a true “American Dream” success story, Golden Krust defines it. The beloved Jamaican food franchise traces its roots to its Jamaican island nation, making its flavor as authentic as can be. The family business started back in 1949 when Mavis and Ephraim Hawthorne started the Hawthorne & Sons bakery; churning out their bread and pastries for over five decades with the help of their eleven children, this would prove to be the perfect springboard for what would become restaurant history.
Immigrating to the United States, the family pooled funds to establish a new enterprise in New York City. There, founder Lowell Hawthorne and his siblings would use the money to open up the first Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery at 1381 E. Gunhill Road in the Bronx. It was 1989, and while the family dreamed big, they could hardly expect what would follow. Expanding to feature a restaurant, the key menu item of a flaky Jamaican patty would prove iconic. By 1993, the company started a manufacturing facility in New York. And by 1996, the first franchisee would open its doors in Brooklyn.
Since those ambitious early days, Golden Krust has blown up nationally. The Jamaican menu has attracted adoring fans for almost 35 years, fueling the growth that led to the opening of the 100th franchise restaurant in 2005. And in 2011, the Hawthorne family leveled up by selling their signature Jamaican patties microwavable style in the frozen food section of grocery stores nationwide, even gaining celebrity superfans like Lizzo and DJ Khaled. After increasing its other store products and expanding its restaurant menus, the only thing hungry patrons need to think about at Golden Krust is what dish to try next!
Best Caribbean Dishes To Try
You could hit up Golden Krust every day of the week and still keep finding new amazing dishes to try. That authentic family recipe vibe makes its way into every bite. With so many awesome foods to try at Golden Krust, which ones should you go for first? Here’s a list of our favorites, wholeheartedly recommended for those looking to hit that Jamaican sweet spot.
A true Jamaican classic, savory patties are the go-to at Golden Krust. Similar to empanadas and perogies, these treats are wrapped in flaky layers of golden crust and traditionally filled with spicy or mild meat. And there are even more options! Chicken patties make things a little lighter, while jerk chicken patties kick up the heat. Spinach and veggie patties will fill you with healthy green goodness. And Lizzo, a famous musician and passionate vegan, absolutely raves about Golden Krust’s Beyond Meat patties, giving major props on social media!
A dish that’s pretty much the poster child for Jamaican cuisine, jerk chicken offers the perfect blend of savory and spicy. Using a closely guarded family recipe passed down for generations, enjoy this slow-cooked chicken that delivers a special kick. The blend of native Jamaican spices, traditional African techniques, and a touch of home cooking flair makes this one stand out. There’s no flavor quite like it, and Golden Krust makes sure it’s all served up with impeccably crispy skin, bathed in a finger-licking sauce you will crave and keep coming back for.
Brown Stewed Chicken
It’s all about the gravy, baby! If you love a seriously tender chicken simply swimming in a rich and thick brown stewed gravy, then be sure to treat your palate to this one. Set on low heat for hours, the flavors blend in throughout the dish until the meat simply slips off the bone. Pair it with rice and peas to round out the experience, and experience what it would be like to enjoy a typical home-cooked meal in Jamaica. Trust us, you’ll be coming back for more.
If you’re ready to expand your culinary horizons, then turn your attention to this typical Jamaican pastoral dish. Goat is a favored meat in the island’s kitchens, something that folks in the United States might not always be ready for. But once you sink your teeth into these tender chunks of curry-covered goat, you’ll likely become a believer. Golden Krust takes care to stew this one slowly with potatoes and carrots for an incredibly satisfying meal. The rich, succulent texture is a serious belly filler and a nice change of pace for those looking for alternatives to beef, chicken, and pork.
Now here’s a dish that you will go bananas over! Once thought of as an exotic dish across much of America, sweet fried plantains are becoming more and more popular on many restaurant menus. But Golden Krust does it better than just about everybody, frying this favorite fruit to perfection until it’s nice and crispy on the outside while yielding a deliciously soft inside. A Caribbean mainstay from Cuba and Puerto Rico to Barbados and, of course, Jamaica, you might find these sweet treats on the side of your main course. Why not order a plate for the whole table?
Once considered a luxury dish for the British aristocracy, the introduction of oxtail to Jamaica upended the way this special cut of beef is enjoyed. Centuries of island tradition have transformed this dish into a Creole original, and Golden Krust has preserved this tradition in each and every bite. Unbelievably succulent, they slow-cook their braised oxtail until it’s as tender as can be. Drenched in a rich gravy—yet another protected family recipe—just wait until you see how it makes the rice and peas dance with your taste buds. While many versions have made it into many soul food kitchens here in the U.S., Golden Krust serves it up in authentic Caribbean style.
Golden Krust makes a lot of wonderful food to enjoy, but we all need something to wash the grub down! And they keep things typically Jamaican when it comes to their drinks menu. Sorrel is the local name for the hibiscus flower, long a favorite in floral teas throughout the Caribbean. But here, the beverage often enjoyed during holidays features the sorrel brewed along with ginger, allspice, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Stir in a little sugar and you won’t believe how tasty and refreshing this is. For best enjoyment, serve over ice, and use it to help tamp down some of the heat that many of Golden Krust’s meals might bring.
Bun & Cheese
Remember how we said Golden Krust started out as a bakery? Well, it still is, and its many doughy offerings are as sublime as everything else they serve up. But if you’re only going to try one of these oven-fresh goods, pick out the bun and cheese. It sounds simple: a slice of cheddar cheese between two slices of bun. But Golden Krust’s buns are spiced, packing an unexpected and instantly rewarding flavor punch. Loaded with plump raisins, this one makes for a delicious snack or dessert. If you love pairing the tang of a sharp cheddar with delicately sweet bread, you won’t want to miss it. Bring some home for the family, too—they’ll thank you for it!
Ackee & Saltfish
Welcome to Jamaica’s national dish! This meal has become so beloved across the island’s history, many songs and poems have been dedicated to it. A product of centuries of Caribbean fishing traditions melded with a Ghanian fruit, this buttery, creamy combo might look a little strange at first. But as soon as you bite into it, it literally melts in your mouth. Typically eaten as a decadent breakfast in Jamaica, it’s sure to level up your morning meal game. Carefully prepared salted codfish is boiled with ackee and bonnet peppers and is served with bananas. You won’t miss your bacon and eggs when you start your day with this selection!
Golden Krust has proudly made these and many other Jamaican cuisine dishes easy to access thanks to its exponential growth over more than three decades. By the time they enjoy their 35th anniversary in 2024, over 115 restaurants will count themselves among the franchisees of this wildly popular restaurant. From its original spots in New York City to Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, and many more states, it’s more convenient than ever to enjoy their Caribbean flavors.
Whether you want to sit down for a casual cafeteria-style meal or bring home the good stuff to your hungry family, you’ll get the same satisfying taste of Jamaica in every bite. And don’t forget to check grocery freezer sections for take-home patties. From spicy meat to pizza and vegan varieties, that same Golden Krust quality will be found in every package. We’re grateful to this family for bringing the joys of authentic island vibes to our hungry bellies!