Sunday, August 6, 2017

Antiguan Adventure

We love going to the Queens International Night Market. There are so many interesting things to eat, and it's the perfect spot to go to make some WorldEats progress. While many of the vendors return every week, the lineup does vary week to week, and it's always fun looking to see who is showing up on any given Saturday. When we looked at the list for the most recent night market, we were excited to see Caribbean Soul, specializing in Antiguan and Southern eats. We've never had anything for WorldEats to represent Antigua and Barbuda, and we didn't have any places on our list to go, so we mentally bookmarked them for a visit.

They had a few different menu options. We saw some people get the fried chicken and cole slaw, which looked delicious, but we were really focused on the Antiguan dishes we had never had before. The first thing we tried was the codfish fritter ($1 each), to which they added a honey and tamarind sauce before serving it.

The honey tamarind sauce gave everything a pleasantly sweet note. The crisp exterior of the fritter encased the smooth, almost creamy texture of the fish inside. The fish itself was mildly salty, and it paired very well with the sweet sauce on top.

The dish we most wanted to try was ducana and saltfish ($5). We had no idea what ducana was when we got in line, but that was why we knew we had to try it. We looked it up on Wikipedia while waiting and learned that it was an Antiguan boiled sweet potato dumpling (also found in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (another country we haven't done yet for WorldEats) and other islands in the Caribbean). Texturally, it was like a tamale but without filling and much denser. Flavor-wise it was like nothing we had ever had. The sweet potato and coconut gave it a really nice, mildly sweet and nutty flavor. You could really taste the coconut, and it was quite delicious.

We tried the ducana, the saltfish, and the spinach separately, and while the saltfish and spinach tasted good on their own, very fresh and clean, they tasted even better when mixed with the ducana. The freshness of the spinach, combined with the saltiness of the cod, and finally melded with the sweetness of the ducana made this a truly unique and delicious flavor combination. We were really glad that we happened to go to the night market on the day that they showed up with delicious Antiguan food. We got to try something new and it was great!

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