As with all of the world’s many varied cuisines, not all tastes of the Caribbean appeal to everyone. Some treats are too sweet, others overly sour. Then there are the dynamic textures, exotic and even endangered ingredients employed in producing our more notorious dishes – acquired tastes at best for the uninitiated.
The biggest issue many of my non-West Indian friends seem to have with our food, though, centers around heat. A good portion of our typical West Indian diet is hot and spicy, of course, a definite no-no for many of my American and UK friends. Nowhere have I seen this play out to such ill-effect than with Solomon Gundy.
A Jamaican treat I’ve come to love over the course of my many visits to Jamdown, Solomon Gundy is made from a blend of smoked herring, hot peppers, and local seasoning, the lot of it fashioned into a thick paste so revered in some corners that it’s actually known as “Caribbean caviar.”
This stuff is REAL fishy, adding a smoky, deep-sea dimension to all sorts of pasta, rice, and seafood dishes.
Solomon Gundy is probably most regularly enjoyed as a snack spread over crackers, though, often with cream cheese mixed in. Personally, I prefer my Solomon Gundy spread solo on crackers, the better to savor the hot fishy Jamaican goodness.
At a recent party hosted by yours truly, though, I discovered that I may be alone in my preferred method of Solomon Gundy consumption, at least among my non-Caribbean friends. Initial curiosities followed by nibbles quickly gave way to napkins filled with the stuff piling up in my garbage.
Indeed, Solomon Gundy is spicy-hot, extremely fishy, and not for everyone (I guess). To me, though, it’s a heavenly reminder of so many things I love about Jamaica. To get a taste, order a jar here, or try this recipe.