Food is my window to the world, giving me the option to travel thousands of miles without ever leaving the cozy circle of Indianapolis. Caribbean cuisine is full of plantains, coconut, sweet potatoes and spices like coriander, cumin and allspice. Allow yourself to be wowed by the authentic Caribbean dishes that these restaurants have to offer.
Jamaican Style Jerk is the epitome of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Located at 34th and Keystone Ave and attached to a liquor store, this carryout-only restaurant is completely legit. I’ve driven by on early mornings and seen someone tending the smoker out front, telling me that their jerk chicken is cooked low and slow. The simple menu let’s you know they only focus on what they know well.
Head north and you’ll find Patties of Jamaica of 52nd and Allisonville Road, another small restaurant with just enough room to order. The restaurant’s name comes from their cheap Jamaican “patties,” similar to turnovers or empanadas filled with minced beef and spices, can be purchased hot and ready or frozen so you can warm them up at home. I dare you to get one extra hot!
Jiallo’s African-Caribbean Cuisine is one of those strip mall gems you should take a chance on. What the decor lacks is made up in the flavorful, authentic menu. While baked tilapia and a whole jerk chicken are the stars, their paired with red beans, dirty rice and red couscous. While portion sizes may seem intimidating, don’t hesitate to ask to bag up the leftovers.
Taste of the Caribbean is a newly opened food truck, though they’ve already partnered with breweries like Flat12 and Upland for various events. Mixing traditional jerk chicken, ox tails and smoked fish with shrimp curry and beef, chicken, shrimp or soy patties. Of course, can you really go wrong with a truck that has “GOOD TIMES” painted on the side of it with images of people dancing? Sounds like my kind of truck.