Street Shak – Toronto, Canada
One thing I absolutely love about Toronto is the diverse culture. You can practically find any type of food simply walking around town.
While taking a stroll down Queen Street West, my friend and I felt a little peckish and decided to pop into a Caribbean place, Street Shak. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was sick of white people food.
Although SIN’s grown tremendously in terms of food options including a Trinidadian/Tobagoan restaurant. Comforting and slight familiar Caribbean cuisine is hard to find.
The food at Street Shak is distinctively West Indian with rotis, jerk chicken and a hint of Chinese-Jamaican. Yes, that is a thing. Read up on it.
Some of the sayings seem very Hokkien dialect to me. There is a saying that goes “没鱼虾也好” which roughly translates to, “no fish, but prawns will do”. Check out the phrase, “When you en got horse, ride cow”. Pretty similar eh? Look at me adding an “eh” to my sentence like a Canadian.
We had a total of three dishes the Bajan Macaroni Pie, Jamaican Beef Patties, and Beef Roti. As we were one of the first people in the shop, the macaroni pie was fresh out the oven – and it hadn’t set yet, but I wasn’t fussed.
Whatever is in bajan spice – a rempah of sorts from Barbados, I gather – it gave the baked macaroni and cheese a wonderful savoury lift, while the bread crumbs gave the dish a much needed crunch. Excellent. The golden pastry you see there is the Jamaican Beef Patty.
It kinda reminds me of an Indian karipap, which I suppose could be a Jamaican variation of it. The pastry was flaky, buttery and it encased a spiced beef patty reminiscent of the Malay rendang.
See what I mean when I say it is kind of familiar.
Ah yes, the Beef Roti. Think of an Indian chappati. Now fill it up with spiced beef and what I think is crushed dhal or chick peas, et voila. The Caribbean Beef Roti.
In comparison to the other two dishes, this one was slightly disappointing as the meat was a little dry. The crush dhal’s powdery texture made the dryness even more apparent. Perhaps I will try the boneless chicken next time.
While I was there, I meant to visit another Jamaican-Chinese place named Patois, but as (bad) luck would have it. There was a fire and the restaurant burnt down. What arse luck!