Writer David I. Muir | Photography David I. Muir
Located in the midst of central Broward’s Caribbean populated city of Lauderhill, the authentic island eatery, Joy’s Roti Delight, stands alone, just off the Lauderhill Mall. On entry, you are greeted by the slightly-too-loud sounds of Caribbean music, and the complementary, yet competing, chatter of patrons ‘labrishing’ around you. The simple, practical décor doesn’t tip you off to the cultural, culinary experience ahead.
My starter – Doubles – a common street food in Trinidad and Tobago, looks similar to a burrito, and is a favorite for breakfast or as an appetizer. Doubles, made up of two ﬂuffy, fried ﬂatbreads, which form its soft taco-like skin, is stuffed with a ﬂavorful sweet and savory curried chickpea ﬁlling. The consistency of the chickpeas is mostly like minced meat, though I occasionally bite into fully formed soft peas, resulting in a texture combination that delightfully enhances the party occurring in my mouth. Today’s Doubles are served with tamarind chutney (mango chutney is another available option), and Joy’s hot-pepper sauce on the side.
Chef Mike presents me with a platter of restaurant favorites including Shrimp Curry, Curried Chicken, Curried Beef and vegetarian options – Curried Potatoes and Pumpkin, as well as Dhalpourie Roti and Paratha, another ﬂatbread more popularly known as “Buss-Up Shut.”
From the selection of foods presented, what really stood out for me was the Pumpkin, Channa (Curried Chickpeas), Paratha and Curried Shrimp.
Joy’s Pumpkin, looks much like candied yams. Its creamy, buttery texture compliments the fusion of island spices vividly enhancing its ﬂavor. It pairs extremely well with “Buss-Up Shut.”
The Shrimp Curry is a hot and mildly spicy treat, featuring fairly large, tender shrimps, submerged in a light, yellow, curry sauce.
To complete my meal experience, I drank freshly mixed Peanut Punch, which looks like a glass of milk with ice, but tastes like a peanut ﬂavored milk-shake, and served as my dessert!
Joy’s Roti Delight was opened on Valentine’s Day in 1992, a few years after the family moved to Florida from Trinidad. Proprietor, Sheila Sawh Gowkaran recalls the day they registered Joy’s at City Hall. They arrived at the city without having determined the restaurant’s name. Her now late husband suggested they call it Shelia’s, but she insisted that Joy, her late husband’s name, was a much better choice, and so they went with that. When asked about the relevance of their Valentine’s Day start, Sheila reminds me that a main ingredient of the food at Joy’s Roti Delight is LOVE.