New Yorkers go to Chinatown for dumplings and noodles, Little Italy for pasta and chicken parmigiana, and Little Odessa in Brighton Beach for borscht and piroshki.
Now they can head to Little Caribbean — an area of Flatbush, Brooklyn, that city officials designated as an official hub of Caribbean culture last week — for roti and oxtail.
“We thought it was really important to highlight Caribbean culture and food particularly, because we’ve had a very strong and significant population here for over 100 years,” said Shelley Worrell, founder of caribBEING, the Flatbush-based cultural organization that spearheaded the Little Caribbean initiative.
As a Flatbush native and longtime resident with Caribbean roots, Worrell takes personal pride in the neighborhood.
If you missed the food crawl she organized on Sunday, here are a few of her recommendations for shops and restaurants to visit in Little Caribbean:
1109 Nostrand Ave., 718-774-7892, allansbakery.com
This family-owned and -operated bakery makes excellent coconut and currant rolls, as well as beef and saltfish patties, Worrell said.
What makes them so good?
The pastries are “really flaky and moist, and they have consistently been able to deliver that for over 40 years,” she said. “It’s a neighborhood institution.”
Don’t expect to grab your patty and roll, because there’s always a line out of the door.
1127 Nostrand Ave., 718-221-0395
This is a great place to get organic Caribbean produce, according to Worrell.
“If you love soursop, if you love breadfruit or fresh coconut — this is really my go-to place.”
Labay’s owner will fill you in on the health benefits of every fruit or vegetable you buy, she said.
The market also sells cooked food, preparing a rotating menu of dishes such as oildown, a coconut-milk stew.
2847 Church Ave., 718-693-4643
Head to this counter-serve joint for the jerk chicken.
“Their jerk chicken is some of the best in New York City,” Worrell said. It’s smoky, with just the right amount of spice.
Cooks prepare the poultry on an open grill in the storefront window.
Worrell also recommended the mac and cheese.
998 Flatbush Ave., 718-469-9049, islandexpressgrill.com
This West Indian grill and bakery used to be called Sybil’s, after the Guyana-born family matriarch who founded it. A recent makeover transformed the space into a casual restaurant with sleek, modern decor.
Get the roti — a flatbread used for scooping up curry chicken and potatoes — and Guyanese baked goods here, Worrell advised.
Island Express also sells Caribbean drinks like Sorrel, a beverage made from hibiscus flowers.
1456 Flatbush Ave., 917-966-9732, pickyeatersny.com
This Caribbean fast-food joint is known best for its barbecue lamb.
Worrell’s favorite dishes here are: the green salad topped with shrimp, mango pieces and garlic sauce; the shrimp served with a side of seasoned fries, and the sweet chili chicken wings.
Eat your meal here if you like, but most people take their dishes to go.