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Monday 10 December 2012

St John's, Antigua - Sting rays, Roti King, homemade sea moss drink, and mini pineapples

From the friendly shores and tasty food in Guadeloupe, we sailed into St John's, Antigua.  We spent the morning feeding and snorkeling with wild (but very accustomed to being hand fed squid) stingrays, with only a few abrasions from overly eager stingrays super inhaling their food (and sometimes our fingers) and whapping us with their tails as they swam past.  Hungry after Stingray city and with the rum punch going to our heads in the hot hot hot weather, we rehydrated and rested up a bit on the ship before heading out to explore St John's by foot.

It might have been the rum punch we had earlier and a combination of the heat, sun and humidity, but we didn't get very far before we were looking for something cold to drink after having a nice local lady walk us to the post office when we asked for directions - thank you unknown nice lady as the post office is poorly marked and we would have never found it otherwise!!.  After dropping off postcards, we stopped into a small grocery store, we picked up some Ting... its not local, but it was cold, liquid and fizzy grapefruit drink we haven't had since a Heritage Days! My brain started working a bit better in the cool dimness of the store, and we asked where we could have a quick lunch where locals go.  I was starving at that point, and just wanted something quick and tasty.

They suggested we have rotis and traditional drinks at Roti King nearby, but they also have burgers if we wanted more standard fare.  Roti's it is!!  Love the folks that live in Antigua!! One of the store staff walked us a few blocks to within sight of the restaurant they recommended. 

Its a small family run restaurant with a cool airy breezy dining area and an order counter at the back.  We asked the owner what he would recommend, and ended up ordering his favs - Shrimp roti and Chicken roti.

The Ting being a distant memory, we had a homemade mildly spicy ginger beer (in the white sytrofoam cup) and a bottle of the owner's Mom's home brewed Sea Moss drink.  The owner explained it was a traditional and very nutritious drink made from a special type of sea moss (also known as Irish moss), condensed milk and spices that include cinnamon.  I learned later it was also known as a potent Caribbean aphrodisiac sex potion lol! (That explained the amused glances I got as I finished most of the sea moss while my boyfriend stuck to his homemade ginger beer).  It was a deliciously thick cinamonny drink that tasted of well.. Christmas!  The sea moss adds in lots of vitamins and minerals and acts as a thickener for the drink.  Its was like a thick soymilk milkshake and flavored subtly with cinnamon, nutmeg? and maybe vanilla.  Sex potion or not, its and was just pure deliciousness!!

the ROTI
My shrimp roti came out after a few minutes as it was freshly prepped in the kitchen.  Picture of before I broke through the incredibly soft tender roti (unleavened bread) wrapper...

The large roti was just bursting full of soft melt in your mouth diced potatos and slightly overcooked sweet shrimp in an addictive Caribbean curry sauce made by Mom herself.  Yummmmm!

My boyfriend's chicken roti was wrapped and presented in a simular manner to the shrimp roti...

And was also jam packed full of curried potatoes and large chunks of tender moist flavorful chicken.  I preferred the chicken roti as the chicken curry sauce was more mild and rich, while my boyfriend liked the shrimp curry base more as it was spicier and had more earthy tones.

If you wanted to put scorch a hole through your tongue, pile on the local hot sauce... the milk based sea moss drink came in reaaaally handy to put out the fire!

Love family run restaurants!  Here's a pic of the Roti King family, with Mom making magic in the kitchen in the center!

We waddled out super stuffed full of roti, and we shopped at various stands and shops on the way back to the ship, sipping on our drinks.  We picked up a steel drum and made room for some mini pineapples at this fruit stand - cut up fresh right in front of you. 

And nope, you eat eat as is, no fancy pineapple on a stick, just a mini pineapple in hand! Next stop, St Croix, US Virgin Islands!

Roti King
Address corner of St. Mary's Street and Corn Alley, St John's, Antigua
Phone 268/462-2328
Hours Open Daily
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