One of my favorite Brooklyn traditions is to go to the East Indian Day parade with my friend Josh Fruhlinger. We do this every year without fail. We meet up around 11am, make sure we don’t have too much money in our pockets (too much cash leads to over eating), and head out to the food carts. It’s our one time of the year to get what we call “the real deal” and to experience the Caribbean influence on our Brooklyn neighborhoods in it’s full glory. If you live in Brooklyn you have to do this at least once for the shear visual craziness… trust me.
The Caribbean influence in Brooklyn is undeniable, from Canarsie to Prospect Heights, the Caribbean people have been such a strong part of the Brooklyn identity for the past 30 plus years. The people, music, culture and cuisine has seeped it’s way into every neighborhood of Brooklyn and livened them up. I remember having my first roti when I was 12 years old somewhere off of Eastern Parkway and falling in love immediately with the richness of the goat curry wrapped in a hand made flat bread. This was a cuisine I never experienced at home and was hooked from the start. But the one part of the Caribbean cuisine that back then, and every time I go to the parade, I yearn for is Jerk Chicken. A really good homemade Jerk Chicken has no other rivals as far as I am concerned. You can’t even step to it… period. The spice, aroma, char and juiciness is a perfect balance of island style and spirit in one simple dish. Each bite grows more and more complex and makes you feel like you are sitting on the beach even in the coldest North East winter.