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Spice City Toronto: Jerk Chicken for Downtowners

Kensington Market has a new Jamaican chicken shop to rival anything in the suburbs.

The lunch special from Rasta Pasta. Photo by Sarah Efron.

It’s not hard to find jerk chicken in this town, but all too often it’s dry and flavourless. Food lovers in search of good jerk have had to go to Scarborough to pick up the excellent sandwiches at Fahmee or Allwyn’s. But now there’s a new restaurant serving top-notch jerk chicken, smack dab in the middle of Kensington Market.

In June, Rasta Pasta opened at 61 Kensington Avenue, a tiny space formerly occupied by Hogtown Charcuterie. Previously, Rasta Pasta had a brief stint inside the Latin Mall on nearby Augusta Street. The name Rasta Pasta reflects the Jamaican heritage of co-owner Magnus Patterson, and the Italian heritage of his partner, Mary Neglia.

You can get oxtail, curry goat, or even the namesake dish, Rasta Pasta, which consists of tricolour pasta in the rasta colours with, um, tricolour peppers. Skip all that and go for the jerk. The “lunch special”—a small container of jerk chicken on rice—is just five bucks.

The chicken is purchased around the corner at St. Andrew Poultry and marinated in a spicy sauce for two days. It’s steamed in the oven, then transferred onto the oil drum barbecue outside the shop, where it’s roasted for half an hour.

Read the rest at Spice City Toronto.

Spice City Toronto explores Toronto’s great hole-in-the-wall restaurants and strip-mall joints serving food from all corners of the world.