Island Bites: Eating Fried Fish at Jamaica’s Hellshire Beach

By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon

IT’S THE Sunday-morning ritual every Kingstonian loves: venturing out of the capital to Hellshire Beach.

But the point of the pilgrimage to this St Catherine strip about 30 minutes from the capital isn’t sun, sea and sand. Rather, it’s all about the fish.

A string of rustic fish shacks line the caramel strand here, each with it’s own devoted following.

I’m partial to Aunt May’s, where for 40 years she’s been frying, steaming, roasting and stewing up to 200 pounds a day of fresh-caught snapper, yellowtail and parrot fish to ravenous city slickers.

Pick your fish from the cooler and order it prepared the classic way: flash-fried in a cauldron of bubbling vegetable oil until crisp and brown on the outside, moist and flaky on the inside.

Then, when its presented to your table in the sand on the traditional melamine platter, make sure you drizzle it with the tangy escoveitch pickle that’s made from white vinegar, Scotch Bonnet peppers and onions and cheerfully passed from table to table in a five-gallon bucket.

Enhanced with sides of festival (slightly sweet fried dumplings), bammy (fried cassava bread), The Sunday Gleaner and a few good friends, it’s the breakfast of champions, Jamaica-style.


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