Savor authentic Jamaican cuisine in Jamdung without leaving Rancho Cucamonga – Daily Bulletin
Jamdung is the term often used by native Jamaicans to refer to their beloved country. A restaurant of the same name in Rancho Cucamonga, open for about a month, showcases the Scotch Bonnet-tinged dishes of this Caribbean island – a chili closely related to the habanero.
Food at Jamdung is spicy, but extremely flavorful with a heat base that can be increased using assorted sauces, if desired.
Owners Tracy and Randy Deleon, along with their chef / cousin Omar Baker, offer a wide selection of traditional Jamaican dishes that will light up your taste buds without scorching your palate. My wife and I had our honeymoon in Jamaica so we have a sweet / spicy place in our culinary hearts for this cuisine.
Start with the classic Jamaican appetizer “patties” – a mixture of chicken or beef with a touch of Scottish caps surrounded by a flaky crust. They go perfectly with a bottle of Jamaican Ginger Beer, a sweet, fresh ginger drink with lots of aromatics.
Curry is an important part of Jamaican cuisine. The version here is a thicker, more intensely scented version than its Indian counterparts.
Goat curry is particularly good, just watch out for the bones. It is better to suck the meat off the bone than to gnaw it because of the sharp edges.
The Brown Stewed Chicken was superb, with a blend of sweet and tangy flavors that caress the palate with a slow rise in heat in the back of the throat. Plus, the chicken is as tender as it gets.
A classic Jamaican dish is ackee and salt fish. Ackee is a fruit that is never eaten raw because it can cause serious gastrointestinal upset. However, when fully ripe, the ackee is cooked – over high heat – in a soft state that resembles scrambled eggs. The salted fish adds a pleasant salty component to the ackee which is mixed with onions, red and green peppers and a touch of Scotch Bonnets.
The entire plate is accompanied by a mound of rice and peas (beans), a mixture of cabbage and sautéed vegetable carrots and fried sweet plane tree slices. I would happily go for more plantains and a little less rice.
Perhaps the most famous dish in Jamaica is jerk chicken. He hails from Boston Beach in the eastern town of Port Antonio, where the chicken is cooked in a mixture of Scotch Bonnets and a vegetable marinade full of spices, over chili wood to give tender charred pieces of meat. with a level of heat that can take your breath away one way.
At Jamdung, this is done on a grill with a base spice level of around 3-4 out of 10. The chilli berries are used in the marinade. A more intense dark blackish-brown sauce is served on the side, which doubles the level of spice if you dip the perfectly charred chicken in it.
By all means, order a festival – fried oblong pieces of bread that have a slightly sweet flavor that can dampen the heat level of the spiciest items.
The oxtails are some of the best I have ever encountered. Much of the fat is cut off, so you are left with such a tender meat that surrounds the vertebrae – succulent with a spicy touch and a rich beef flavor.
A side dish of callaloo is also highly recommended – cooked greens sprinkled with golden chunks, red and green peppers, chopped tomatoes and spices lending a nice glow to the back of your palate.
Everything is made from scratch, so patience is a virtue. The patties are made ahead and kept warm under a heat lamp, so you can order a few to relax while waiting for the rest of your food.
Finish with the sweet potato pudding and sit back with a contented sigh.
This is an authentic dish prepared by a chef who is an expert on Jamaican cuisine, having cooked in Kingston and on Celebrity Cruises in the past. Traveling to this charming Caribbean island is as authentic as it gets.
David Cohen is a freelance food critic who also writes for Riverside and Redlands magazines. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @dcfoodfiles.
Jamdung Jamaican restaurant
Evaluation: 3.5 stars
Address: 12759 Foothill Blvd., Suite E, Rancho Cucamonga
Atmosphere: Casual cafe
Hours: from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, until 9:30 p.m. from Friday to Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Prices: Platters $ 15 to $ 20 (served with two sides), small dishes $ 5 to $ 9
Details: Learn about catering. Beer and wine license pending.
Recommended dishes: Oxtail, ackee and salted fish, jerk chicken, patties
Cards: Most majors
What do the stars mean: Ratings range from 4 stars to one. 4: World class experience, not to be missed; 3: Worth a visit, high caliber cuisine; 2: If you are in the neighborhood, the restaurant is worth a visit; 1: I wouldn’t bother to eat here.