Photos: Rebecca Meek
Street food is a serious thing. In all cities, Cairo, New York, London, Japan, Nairobi, street food is a part of the landscape. Kingston is no different. In fact, it is perhaps even more serious in Kingston since the street is the most popular meeting spot in practically every community. The man selling pan chicken, the style of barbequing chicken marinated in herbs and spices, is usually at the centre of the action. Kingston's street food fans who know pan chicken, know about Don, the pan chicken man at Northside Drive and Hope Road in the Liguanea area of Kingston.
Worried the chicken might be too dry? Not possible. Hopeton's crew, including Courtney (below, right) and Indian (above, left), supervise a delicate balance between temperature and maintaining its moist texture. Ketchup and scotch bonnet pepper sauce are added at the very end along with two generous slices of hardo bread. Extra pepper sauce (made by Don of course) or ketchup? No problem.
How to prepare pan chicken like Don, the pan chicken man at Northside in Liguanea....
Cut it up.
Cut it in four.
Wash it, clean it up very good.
When we cut it up, then we cut up our seasoning - onion, pepper, pimento, all those natural seasonings.
When you finish it, you blend it up, very nice man.
You use a blenda and blend up di seasoning.
So when it go on di grill everything soak in di chicken and mek it nice.
ABSR: I see you squirting some liquid on it. Is that water?
Yeah. We put wata to cool down the fire, di temperature of di fire, to mek di chicken jerk and tenda and nice, yuh nuh? Yeah man. When di fire fire blaze we use di wata to keep down di temperature.
ABSR: Who made the hot sauce?
Mi, Hopeton, man mek di hot sauce! Pan chicken man mek di hot sauce himself, very nice.
ABSR: What is in the hot sauce?
Di hot sauce we use garlic, pimento, all di natural herbs you can tink of yuh nuh. In di hot sauce, pepper garlic and onion.
ABSR: Is there a jerk powder that you use?
No. We don't use di powder. We use di natural ting. Just natural spices.