Fri, Aug 10, 2007 - Page 14 News List

Down in Trenchtown

By Ron Brownlow  /  STAFF REPORTER

Oliver Harley aka Lion, right, co-owner of Jahmuna's, is shutting up shop.


If you want to enjoy a taste of the Caribbean at Jahmuna's, you don't have much time left. The Jamaican cafe just off Yanji Street (延吉街) is closing at the end of the month, meaning its popular Trenchtown Thursdays, where Caribbean food is mixed with West Indian vibes, will be coming to an end just when the event started to draw crowds.

Trenchtown Thursdays began earlier this year in Jhongli, Taipei County, as an open-mic night run by catering service A Taste of the Caribbean. The tagline was: "Where the food and the dreds are real."

Then it moved to Jahmuna's Jamaican Stop on Yanji Street, south of Zhongxiao East Road (忠孝東路), just north of Renai Road (仁愛路), and across the street from an Ikari Cafe.

The party takes its name from the Kingston, Jamaica, neighborhood immortalized by Bob Marley in Trenchtown Rock and No Woman, No Cry. DJs spin reggae and hip-hop, the setting is relaxed, and there are four prix fixe meals, two of which are vegan-friendly.

Trenchtown Thursdays was the brainchild of Amanda Narain, a Canadian of Guyanese origin. Narain helps organize the Genesis open-mic night at Riverside Cafe, which is taking a hiatus this month, and she has been in the business of cooking Guyanese food through her A Taste of the Caribbean catering business and several other ventures, most recently an organic wellness cafe in Ximending. You may have seen her selling Caribbean food at Spring Scream or the Hoping for Hoping Peace Festival.

Narain does all of the cooking herself. "Guyanese girls from the age of seven have to learn how to cook," she explained. "You're taught that you must know how to cook for your husband, because if you don't, you won't make a good Guyanese wife."

For your information

What: Trenchtown Thursdays

Where: Jahmuna's Jamaican Stop at 381 Renai Rd Sec 4, Taipei


Contact: Telephone (02) 2740-7009, call 0917-747-160 for table reservations; e-mail: jahmuna'

When: Every Thursday until the end of the month, from 5pm to 11pm

On the Net:

Tenchtown's menu offers four sets: Guyanese chicken potato curry wrapped in a roti shell (NT$220); a quarter Jamaican jerk chicken served with organic brown rice (NT$250); vegan Guyanese potato, eggplant and chickpea curry in a roti shell (NT$220); and vegan pumpkin mash-up in roti (NT$220). All meals come with coconut and sweet potato soup, as well as a drink. Narain said she imports her spices from Canada and tries to use as many organic ingredients as possible.

Her first event two months ago attracted five people. By the fourth week attendance had risen to two dozen. Last week, some 34 people squeezed into the patio outside Jahmuna's. Narain suggests making reservations if you want a seat. She's planning a "block party" for the last Trenchtown Thursday at Jahmuna's, on Aug. 30.

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