On one of our visits to the Queens International Night Market, we chanced across Georgetown Patties, a Guyanese stand serving an assortment of patties, tarts, and drinks. Seeing as how there are so few Guyanese restaurants in NYC, and definitely none close to us, we figured this would be an excellent opportunity to check off another WorldEats country.
When we first got to the stand, we asked what they had, and all they had available were the pine tarts. We first thought that meant something using pine needles or some sort of extract from them, but it ended up just being pineapple filled tarts. It was the start of our "dinner" at the night market though, so we weren't really in the mood for sweet at the time. They said the chicken and the beef patties would take a little more time to finish baking, so we decided to go back later.
When we went back, they were just finishing up taking out the beef patties, so we got one chicken and one beef to make sure we could try them both. Because of our experience with other pies and patties from Caribbean islands, we were expecting flavorful, stew-like fillings inside buttery crust, something like turnovers or Jamaican beef patties. What we found inside the bags instead were patties that bore more resemblance to British pies. Of course, this made some sense seeing as how Guyana used to be British Guiana back when they were part of the British Empire, but we didn't really make that connection until we saw the patties (which we can't stop calling pies).
We first tried the beef one. Inside was a filling of ground beef with a minimal amount of spices. We both thought this was the better of the two as the beef just seemed to pair better with the crust. Even after we tried the beef patty and found it to just be ground meat instead of a stew, we were still for some reason expecting the chicken patty to be filled with some sort of stew or curry. Clearly our other experiences with Caribbean cuisine were influencing our expectations (although Wikipedia's summary of Guyanese cuisine suggests we weren't far off since curry is very popular there). The chicken patty was mostly filled with chopped chicken. It also had some chopped up vegetables mixed in that were visible after we bit into it the first time, but couldn't really taste. Similar to the beef, it wasn't very highly seasoned, and probably even less than the beef.
We really weren't sure what to expect from our first experience with Guyanese cuisine, but we enjoyed it. We were mildly disappointed at first because, in our heads, we kept thinking about Caribbean patties when they were, in fact, more like British pies. That being said, the flaky, buttery crust was delicious, and the filling, while not of the same flavor profile as some other Caribbean pies, was still good. Hopefully at some point we'll get to a Guyanese restaurant in our city, but for now we can eat patties in the summers.