Friday, July 14, 2006

The Jungle Lobster Hut, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

I was emailing back and forth with a tour operator from Ocho Rios, Jamaica today, and was reminded of a funny experience I had while in Ocho Rios--about a place called "The Jungle Lobster Hut".

We'd read about it in a guidebook, which said it was a bit primitive, but said "The Rastafarians prepare seafood dishes that are absolutely dazzling." So with that comment, we HAD to go...

4 of us showed up there for dinner. It was primitive, with a roof and 2.5 walls, dirt floor, 2 picnic tables, and an open view out over a beautiful harbor. They brought out a galvanized bucket of Red Stripe in cold water, and asked us what we'd like for dinner.

Clearly, there wasn't going to be a printed menu anywhere. And the guy just stood there waiting for our answer...just as clearly, he wasn't going to tell us our options without prompting. So I asked, "well, what do you serve?"

He replies "Seafood."

After a few quiet moments, I asked "what kinds of seafood?"

He smiled broadly and said "Fish and lobstah."

I waited a couple more seconds, and with nothing more coming at me, I asked, "well, how do you prepare them?"

That was the magic question, I guess, because then he launched into about a ten minute description of all the ways they cooked the fish and prepared the lobster. We got very excited & hungry and each chose a way for our lobster to be prepared.

We happily went back to the view, our conversation, and our Red Stripe. Meanwhile, all sorts of banging and clattering and sizzling is going on in the kitchen area. For OVER AN HOUR. After which the guy comes back out to our table with three words for us:

"Got no lobstah."

So we ordered kingfish etc., and in about 15 minutes the food was there, and it was great. Apparently the guy had to walk a half-mile back up the road to a house where the seafood was kept in a refridgerator, so he didn't know he was out of lobster.

Unfortunately, the Jungle Lobster Hut is no longer in business...sure was a funny experience though!

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