On a recent trip to Essex Market for some hot pepper sauce, I wondered about shopping for Jamaican and Caribbean cooking supplies in the city. Where were some other places for picking up that hard-to-find seasoning, or fresh seafood and choice meats? So I did a little homework. It was like jumping on a plane to Kingston.
The Boogie Down Bronx
The only place to go to in the Bronx is S.Y. Grace West Indian Supermarket. They have EVERYTHING. From Ribena, to corn pork, to Grace instant cornmeal porridge. I think the most exciting part was the spice aisle. I would hazard a guess that there were about 20 to 30 different kinds of hot sauce alone. It’s also a great place to get all kinds of fresh seafood, snacks of every kind, and great produce.
4010 Boston Rd, Bronx, NY
“What Better Place to Find a Queen than the City of Queens?”
What are the chances, the place to find West Indian cooking supplies is in Jamaica, Queens. Singh’s West Indian Grocery and J & L Guyana West Indian Grocery on Hillside Ave are both great. You can get all the staples, and even a few treats, like an amazing variety of soda, and breadfruit.
Singh’s, 16407 Hillside Avenue, and J&L, 180-12 Hillside Avenue, Jamaica, Queens
The Fort Greene Farmer’s Market, held every Saturday from 8 am to around 4 pm, is a great addition to every weekend. The produce is fresh and you can find some of the veggies that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. Plus, there are tons of samples while you stroll and fresh bread and preserves for those continental breakfast mornings. Head further into BK and take a stroll down Nostrand Ave for the real Caribbean deal. Labay Market is small but well-equipped and varied. There’s seafood, snacks, produce, and a good little collection of spices. A A West Indian Grocery is a little bigger, and as they say, size does matter.
Labay, 1127 Nostrand Ave, and AA, 481 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn
If you can make it down to the LES, Essex Market is a great one stop shop. Fresh seafood and meats, great collection of spices, fresh produce, and the prices are super competitive for the city.
120 Essex Street (at Delancey Street), Manhattan
When all else fails, hit Chinatown. Produce so fresh there’s still dirt on them, and the fish are still moving. And if it’s one thing the Asians are good at, it supplying the masses with everything.