Bangkok’s food scene offers local dishes alongside all kinds of international cuisine pretty much around the clock. In a restaurant scene that sometimes seems saturated, two guys from New York have just introduced something that Bangkok was sorely lacking: Jamaican food.
To be fair, Jamaican Eatz — newly opened in Phra Kanong’s W District — does more than just the beef patties and jerk chicken the island is known for. The owners say that their offerings are more like “Caribbean fusion soul food” with influences ranging from Cuban, to Trinidadian, to Puerto Rican.
Jamaican Eatz isn’t a totally new business. The partners have been testing the menu and taking booths at pop-up markets for nearly a year, asking tasters for feedback on the food. Their patties (or pies, as they call them) are for sale at Phrom Pong’s Roots and Thong Lor’s Bottle Cap, among other city spots.
We stopped by recently to try a few standards and get the inside scoop on developing the menu.
One of the backbones of their offerings are the roti sandwiches. Kinda like a Caribbean soft taco, these spiced meat wraps can be filled with Australian Beef, Island Chicken, Pork, or Jerk Chicken (THB120). We tried the latter and found it hearty, flavorful, and comforting though not particularly spicy.
When asked about that, co-owner Philip Akers said that many Thai tasters had asked for the spice to be dialed down in some of the dishes. That may sound surprising from a culture that invented dishes like somtam, larb, and nam phrik narok (chili paste from hell) but it may be due to Caribbean food being spiced with different kinds of chilis than what Thais are used to.
The minced meat of your choice is wrapped in a layered, soft pastry that tastes and flakes much like an Indian paratha.
Akers told Coconuts Bangkok that Jamaican food, as much of the food from the islands, is heavily influenced by Indian cuisine due to immigration, and British food because of colonization. It’s the Brit influence that’s responsible for the patty, which is based on that culture’s pies and pasties.
Of course, every Jamaican restaurant is judged by its patty, a simple meat-filled baked pocket that’s easy to make but hard to perfect. Jamaican Eatz markets their patties as pies in order to be easily understood by those unfamiliar with island food terms. Their Jamaican Beef Patty (THB40 for small, THB100 for large) is filling and tasty, featuring minced Australian beef flavored with green onion, thyme, allspice, and pepper in a satisfyingly crisp and chewy pocket. We recommend going for the larger one since the little bit of extra space in the pastry makes room for a lot more filling.
On the side comes homemade barbecue sauce that’s a sweet, smoky, and addictive affair touched with cardamom and nutmeg.
At Jamaican Eatz, there is life beyond the beef patty however. The owners have raised the pie game, offering a total of six kinds: Beef, Chicken, Pork, Apple Rum Raisin, Pina Colada, and, Akers’ personal favorite, Sweet Potato, based on his mom’s own recipe for American sweet potato pie. He recommends topping one with a scoop of Vanilla or Salted Caramel Ice Cream (THB80).
Pie prices are discounted if you buy a box. For the large pies, six will cost THB500 and the minis can be had for THB100 for three.
Guests can round out meals with sides of Coconut Rice & Beans (THB80) and Island Coleslaw (THB40). The rice is seasoned with cinnamon while the vegetarian beans are more like a light stew with tomato, onion, garlic and pepper. Instead of referencing a traditional dry Jamaican rice and pea dish, this place’s legumes are influenced by stew-like versions from Puerto Rico or Cuba.
The coleslaw is a light take on the mayonnaise-heavy classic version, going all in with red cabbage and carrot. Pro tip: Open the roti sandwich and spoon the coleslaw in to give the sandwich a gratifying crunch.
Overall, we enjoyed our food, with the sweet potato pie and beans being among our favorites. The owners have plans to introduce more dishes soon, and we’ll definitely stop back to try new offerings at this welcome addition to the city’s food scene.
W District, Pridi Banomyong Soi 3
BTS Phra Kanong
Open daily, 4pm-12am or free delivery via their website