Warehouse Turned Café In Japan Serving Up Jamaica jerk 🇯🇲

in ReggaeJAHM8 days ago (edited)

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Kinoshita Shoten Café & Goods

Blessed new week peeps. There is blood 🩸 in the streets, in the rivers and in the seas… even the skies 🌌 when looking at the current state of the crypto market. But if you’ve been around this space for some time and followed the rules, you probably feel calmer than most. Me personally, I was more stressed during those hyper inflated gains we were seeing.

To the meat of the matter

Last Thursday I stopped by my friends Indian café to get some intel on doing jerk chicken at events in the area. When I arrived, my friend and his wife were talking to another couple that owned a cafe as well ( its funny how cafe has basically replaced restaurant, it’s more classy I guess).

After the friend of my friend heard I was from Jamaica, he told me about a restaurant … sorry cafe, that serves jerk chicken and plays Reggae music. He quickly showed me the joint on Instagram. The first thing that caught my eye was that they transformed and old warehouse into a café. Now that’s #SDGs for yah.

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The owners of this warehouse café spotted a great opportunity and went for it. They grabbed a prime location as well, right by a station. So that means foot trafic. It’s a real small town and station, so this place actually uplifts the area. They also brought something socially unique to the table I will mention later.
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On the outside there was this wooden swing, just by the looks of it, I can tell the owners are woodworkers, the equipment in the back kinda gave that away as well. The café was packed and rightfully so as we got there just after noon. We opted to eat outside but the owner warned us that cats use the table as their bed ( I can imagine the kitty orgies that took place here) and yup, the puss smell was reeking. Not a big fan of cats 🐈.
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By the looks of it, all the furniture was either scavenged or made by the owners. People really like that look in Japan and it works with the warehouse transformation theme. The upstairs is where the socially unique concept comes into play. It’s a lounge for kids. The idea is students could stop by on their way from school and grab a muffin and a drink while doing their homework. Not sure how that is going but it is a good idea. But honestly, walking up there didn’t feel so safe, felt fragile and the squeaks of the wood when you walk …. Yeah screw you, I’m overweight 😆.

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Not only do they sell food but also accessories and even nail polish. “How about a pair of earrings and a summer orange nail polish with your jerk chicken order?” I get it though, sell what you can on the land you own.
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The place was buzzing with university students, mainly groups of females expect for this big group with mainly dudes in the pic below. So the foot traffic is there. We eventually got that couch seat back left in the pic below.
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In the pic below you can see my wife taking turns watching the kids in the kiddies lounge. I told her I would not be going back up there, I literally crawled down slowly so I wouldn’t break shit.
You can also see the owners ( a couple), prepping the meals and the other groups of ladies chatting over dessert. Spot the Jamaican flags yet?

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We ordered two large jerk chicken dishes with rice and peas as well as the jerk sandwich for the youngest. It was enough to feed the 5 of us as our kids are young and don’t eat much. The jerk chicken and rice & pease was a bit pricey by Japan standards but cheaper than the US. The regular jerk dish costs ¥1,280 and for the large +¥480. So that’s ¥1,760 ( USD 13.5 at the current rate of exchange).

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The jerk wasn’t bad, it wasn’t grill cooked but in a frypan and logistics wise I understand why they made that decision. It’s quicker and easier. The jerk sandwich is really affordable at only ¥600. The perfect price point for a grab and go or a uni student.

When we were leaving the chef said:

“Could your kids manage the spiciness of the chicken?”

“Yeah, I make jerk chicken for them sometimes, they are used to it, I’m from Jamaica.

“Oh…. Damn I feel ashamed serving you this jerk chicken.”

He knows that the grill and the smoke is what makes jerk … jerk. But I honestly didn’t mind his pan cooked jerk chicken at all. The rice and peas was good too. The jerk sandwich is a winner for sure. Next time I’ll be sure to go a little later when it’s not too busy so I can have a chat with the owners.

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Until next time, walk good.

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I had fun reading your story. At first, I thought it was sun-dried chicken in hot spices, after all, it was like that, initially. A traditional recipe for Jerk chicken in Jamaica, back when runaway slaves were afraid to build fires that could give away their location. The chicken was cured in salt and spices, in hot pepper without fire and smoke. I figured you found this recipe in Japan and I was worried about your kids, it's a bit of a dangerous recipe because they didn't use sodium salt back then. Basically, I think it was chicken ham lol. Yes, I looked closely, but, apart from green plants in pots, I did not see what would look like the flag of Jamaica) ... just kidding, the flag is on the second floor, some boxes were covered with it)

 8 days ago 

I thought it was sun-dried chicken in hot spices, after all, it was like that, initially. A traditional recipe for Jerk chicken in Jamaica, back when runaway slaves were afraid to build fires that could give away their location.

You do a lot of research on the culture. Not too many people know about this. It was briefly mentioned in schools. I don’t think I want to try it though, but glad it gave birth to the jerk we know today.

Hahaha, you can tell how actually reads the posts. There is actually one more flag hehehe 😜

Lol, I didn't dare call a salad drenched in yellow sauce on a black plate the flag of Jamaica, but you can tell the restaurateur held his tone, lol.
As for the original recipe, I don't think that Jerky's chicken tasted bad, if it was cured in small pieces without the bone, to avoid botulinum infection, the bone rots first and it is difficult to salt the marrow. I think that the taste was similar to the taste of dry-cured sausage, or dry-cured pork ham. There is another variation that I cook, this is chicken meat salted in spices, I boil it at a low temperature, and then, smoked in smoke on alder or beech sawdust, it turns out a flavor bomb)
These are boneless smoked chicken thighs.
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In the video, I cook such a chicken, if you want to cook something like this and have questions, you know how to find me)

Hello @dmilliz,
That's a great find!
Creative use of space that's rustic and ideal. It gives it a more authentic Jamaican Jerk Spot. I think it's amazing to see a place like this in Jamaica.
You got me missing home now.
That was a fun convo with the owner...Yes, it's the wood and the smoke that makes al the difference...🙌

 8 days ago 

Hi there.

I really like what they did with this place as well. Many from yard would go for the more modern look. Seeing places like this makes me wish I had woodwork skills because I’m sure he built that upper deck with friends. It’s always good to see how our little island is embraced here in Japan and around the world.

Girl, a trip is well overdue, need some yaad food and beach in mi life.

Seeing places like this makes me wish I had woodwork skills

Haha! I feel the same too.
You are right about many from home wanting to visit more posh, modern places... for me, I like anywhere that has an authentic flair, even if it's rustic.

Yes, I trip home is long overdue...We've been thinking a lot about it lately... We'll see :-)))

 6 days ago 

Same here, the natural and eco does it for me.

I think my next trip will be me alone cause those plane fares are outrageous 😂


Posted via ReggaeJahm | Reggae Culture Rewarded

Yeah, I think it's inhumane to have to pay full price for kids, so I totally understand.😏

 6 days ago 

Thanks for the curation. Didn't realize you were a curator outside of Cinnamon cup.

I see I got a try some jerk again if I ever go to the cities even if it's going to maybe cost me $15 to $20 for a meal 😂

 8 days ago 

If you go to the ghetto maybe less. 😆 The good thing is, in the states you have access to all the seasonings on Amazon. It's pretty easy to make.

How you been dude?

Been alright it's hot and working two jobs in a hot kitchen kinda wish I was on the other side right now

Many people usually panic when they find out a Jamaican tried their jerk chicken 😂. They motivated me to share my own food . Let’s build up and share the culture Bredda .

 7 days ago 

A true man. But the greatest ting is dem a do them ting and at the same time spreading the vibes.

Yes sir. Looking for the opportunities round me. May have to start just do events like I used to.


Posted via ReggaeJahm | Reggae Culture Rewarded

Yes man , start the events.

Looks like you found a great spot bro.

 7 days ago 

Pretty decent indeed. But of is distance but nice for a drive out flex.


Posted via ReggaeJahm | Reggae Culture Rewarded

The food is looking good in spite of being pan fried. We sometimes need to be flexible when it comes to cooking, which we often also do when preparing steak for instance.

This place reminds me of my physical campus days, when I had to be on site for group projects and bought food to sustain us 😅. Not that the cafeteria looked anything like this place though, but the setting is reminiscent.