Rishi Sankar: Ah Trini Travelogue

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Jerk Chicken in St. Louis … seriously! And it’s phenomenal!!!

Posted by Rishiray on May 23, 2011


In my travels, I am constantly surprised at how little I know about things I claim to know a lot about. For instance, I really like my Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas, swimming with gravy and with tons of hot sauce and some water cress salad on it. Simple food, with an extraordinary impact!

Having worked in St. Louis for the last 15 months, I’ve had time to appreciate this city and the suburbs. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend St. Louis to anyone, if they had to choose from the multitude of other much more interesting cities in the US.

As for the food though, St. Louis is growing on me … slowly but surely. This city has some great food but nothing has amazed me more than “Mi Hungry” … it is ridiculously difficult to find good Jerk Chicken in Toronto (even when the damn West Indians have taken over this city), yet I find the best Jerk Chicken I’ve had in years in St. Louis?!!?!

This is a simple place. Once you walk into the unassuming MiHungry (adjacent to rubber burning smells wafting from the nearby auto repair shop), which was obviously an old school diner that was taken over by Miss Ava and her Jamaican husband – this is the second of two locations (the other is in downtown St. Louis), the food will get you.

The decor is complete with exterior plastic and vinyl benches and on the inside, a long counter with barstools. If the food doesn’t get you, then the down home charm of Miss Ava will keep you in – she reminds me of the women serving breakfast and lunch in the Old Breakfast Shed in Port of Spain.

If you’re looking for something swank and posh, then this is definitely not the place for you. This place is all about ridiculously great food and service … nothing more, nothing less.

On coming in, Miss Ava immediately offered samples of her “greatest hits.” Diane and I couldn’t refuse and we graciously accepted samples, which included three kinds of meat: chicken prepared one of three ways: fried, reggae, or jerked; cornbread, green beans, candied yams, collard greens and rice and peas. I think I was hooked right there.

As for the entrees, I had my customary rice and peas with Jerk Chicken. The rice and peas was different, not like the traditional coconut water infused rice and peas with country thyme and seasoning. This was a sweeter southern version of it (Miss Ava is from the South), and it was tasty though, very tasty. The star was the Jerk Chicken – perfect Jerk Sauce with seasonings, a good heat from the skin and meat and tons of smokey greatness in the meat. Only in Jamaica, do you get meat smoked over wood like this. More on that smokey business in a bit!

The food on display is easy to pronounce and even easier to eat. You want Jamaican food with Soul food … then this is the place. Collard Greens with Turkey … check! Candied Yams … check! Sweet Corn … check!

Want some Reggae Wings?

Just when I thought the Jerk Chicken was the top, she offered me the Jerk Pork. I was a bit skeptical, not wanting to ruin the great impression I had of the place – Jerk Pork is yet another ridiculously simple dish to make but a difficult thing, to do really, really well.

 The pork was fall off the bone tender and saucy with just the right amount of spicy (hot enough to tingle, but not so hot that you can’t taste your next bite, so of course she had a home made spicy BBQ sauce that made me reminsce of the sauces we have in Trinidad). I was so stuffed with food, but the Jerk Pork simply blew me away – phenomenal.

Of course, I wanted to up the ante and be difficult, so I asked for Fried Plantains. No problem mon! She takes out a raw plantain, peels it, cuts it up in about 10 seconds and flash fries that thing right there for me.

Miss Ava grinds her own spices for the Jerk chicken, pork and sauces she is serious about the flavor.  She and the husband are so serious about the flavour that you will have to ask them about this!

Mi Hungry Catering and BBQ

Don’t let the “dive” look of this place cause you to drive by… You must stop. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

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