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Juici Patties as Jamaica’s Culinary Ambassador in the U.S. – Hollywood Life

Juici Patties as Jamaica’s Culinary Ambassador in the U.S. – Hollywood Life

Juici Patties
Image Credit: Juici Patties

The United States has always found pride in its “melting pot” philosophy, where immigrants bring their cultures with them and add to the richness of this nation’s arts and traditions. True to the metaphor, this pot also includes tasty food that Americans soon add to their favorites. Say hello to Jamaican fast food as Juici Patties arrive in Miami.

Daniel Chin, CEO of the US division, is eager to introduce what he calls “an icon,” the Jamaican patty in his family’s Juici Patties restaurant chain. This meat turnover treat is sort of the great-grandchild of the Cornish pasty, a baked sandwich from the UK. However, contrary to most British food, this is jazzed up with wonderful spices like curry and cumin brought to Jamaica by African slaves, indentured servants from India, and immigrants. Scotch bonnet peppers are involved as well.

The Jamaican patty is baked inside a flaky, golden dough. These pastries are often filled with seasoned ground beef patties but are also made with other fillings. Juici Patty serves this icon with beef, chicken, shrimp, vegetable, and plant-based patty fillings. They are one of the most popular snacks in the Caribbean – delicious patties packed with spicy fillings wrapped in a golden pastry shell.

Juici Patties
Juici Patties

Chin stands at the forefront of Juici Patties, Jamaica’s largest fast-food chain, embodying the innovative spirit and cultural dedication that has propelled the brand into the international spotlight. As the leader of the family-operated business, Daniel’s journey in the food industry is deeply rooted in his heritage, inspired by the legacy of his parents, Jukie and Edith Chin, who founded Juici Patties in 1978. 

Born and raised in the vibrant heart of Jamaica, Daniel was immersed in the world of entrepreneurship and culinary arts from a young age. His early exposure to the family business instilled in him a profound respect for the power of food as a tool for cultural expression and community building. After completing his education, focusing on business management and culinary innovation, Daniel officially joined Juici Patties, bringing with him a fresh perspective and a commitment to uphold the family’s legacy while steering the company toward new horizons.

However, cultural heritage is still a very important part of the business. Chin explains that Jamaican patties, as popular as they are, unfortunately, are not enshrined in Jamaican law, only in its culture.

“There’s actually debate going on, wondering why Jamaican patties aren’t the national dish of Jamaica because they’ve been a part of our culture for so long, and they’ve always been affordable for everyone,” he says.

Jamaica’s national dish is ackee and saltfish. Ackee is a fruit from a tree native to West Africa brought to Jamaica in 1793. This fruit is boiled with onions, tomato, and sweet pepper, and then sauteed with salted cod. This is very different from what Americans eat every morning , which is either bacon, eggs, toast, or corn flakes and milk, depending on whom you ask. The founder of Kellogg’s, who invented the cold breakfast cereal, would say the latter, but most Americans eat the former.

Jamaica has a population of only 2.8 million people. Chin says Juici Patties sells roughly 48 million patties per year. The Juici Patties Group, which began with a team of three, is now a franchised network with over 2,100 employees.

In its 65 restaurants across all 14 parishes in Jamaica (one-third owned by the Chin family, with others franchised), some of the Juici Patties locations serve ackee and saltfish and ackee sandwiches on its breakfast menu. Other breakfast dishes on the chain’s homeland menu include several varieties of porridge, callaloo (a leafy green), saltfish, and liver, with several traditional side dishes.

South Florida’s Juici Patties locations initially focus on patties and coco bread. Miami residents can order the tasty Jamaican patties in various styles, with vegan options coming soon. 

“We do try things and see which are the most popular and those we will keep,” Chin explains. “So we’re striking the balance between maintaining the original menu items we’ve had over the past four decades. But also still working on innovating and bringing new items  to the menu.”

Looks like Miami foodies have a lot of catching up to do. On the other hand, patronizing Juici Patties often to ask for new dishes could be a fun time!

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