Adventure, Food

Fresh Fish, the Hellshire Way

Celine's at HelshireHellshire Beach, about a 45-minute drive from Kingston, is lined with several oceanfront restaurants serving fresh seafood. Popular among locals, as well as a travel guidebook staple, these restaurants serve what’s called the Hellshire style of seafood. You can get fish, lobster, or crab fried, steamed or curried.

I recommend steamed snapper. They serve it in a tasty stew of okra, carrot, pumpkin, and bammy, a dense cassava flatbread.

The restaurants all pretty much serve the same dishes, so it doesn’t matter which you choose. The touts are very aggressive; they typically greet you in the parking lot, imploring you to go to their establishment, which is essentially a beach shack with an open kitchen, crude tables, uncomfortable beach lounge chairs, and a bar. Embrace the rough reality of the place. It has its own beauty when the sun is shining on the bright blue ocean as you sit down and wait for your meal, which usually takes at least 30 min. to prepare.

Make sure to establish a price per pound for the seafood first so you don’t get surprised by the bill. It will be high, by the way. Two orders of steamed fish averages about $60; drinks are extra. Overpriced for what you get, yes. We’re not dealing with fine dining here. But best to accept it and enjoy the experience.