Long before it became a hipsters' paradise, Kensington Market was a sleepy mix of Jewish and Jamaican grocery stores. Patty King (187 Baldwin, at Kensington, 416-977-3191), one of the few remaining originals, has been dishing up first-rate calaloo-stuffed patties, oxtail dinners and jerk chicken sandwiches to satisfied Market folk since the early 70s.
Up on the Jamaican stretch of Eglinton, highly rated Randy's (1569 Eglinton West, at Oakwood, 416-781-5313) bakes what are said to be some of the best patties in town, while nearby Rap's (1541A Eglinton West, at Oakwood, 416-782-7277) sells jerk chicken with rice and peas 24/7. Except when it's closed. Further west, laid-back Shanty's (1806 Eglinton West, at Dufferin, 416-785-1205) also runs on island time. Count on saltfish and ackee to "soon come" eventually.
Down in the Annex, Wong's (930 Bathurst, at Follis, 416-532-8135) has been serving Jamaican takes on chop suey and egg foo young since the 60s. Nestled next to Honest Ed's, Caribbean Roti Palace (744 Bathurst, at Bloor West, 416-533-7466) makes for some mighty fine inexpensive noshing.
Break with tradition at Gandhi (554 Queen West, at Bathurst, 416-504-8155), where the legendary East-meets-West butter chicken roti goes for a whopping $11.95. And when money's no object, experience spice-meister Greg Couillard 's legendary Caribbean-inspired Jump Up Soup at both his chi-chi Spice Room & Chutney Bar (55 Hazelton, at Yorkville, 416-935-0000) and adjacent Manyata Café for a not unreasonable 10 bucks a bowl.