>> The Original Coconut Man | Eat the World NYC

10 November 2014

The Original Coconut Man


When you walk down a new street in New York City, especially in the boroughs that do not begin with an 'M' it is very likely that you will happen upon new and interesting things. On my way to the annual St. Lucian Jounen Kwéyòl celebration in East Flatbush, this exact thing happened on Church Avenue. With the sounds of reggae pumping onto the street, three men dressed more appropriately for winter were dancing and spinning in front of a little shack set up in front of an NSA Supermarket. We knew we would stop by on the way back.

90 minutes later, the music was still blasting, dancing was still in progress, and this Sunday party was still a three man shindig. We stopped and ordered a cup of sugar cane juice ($4), which came in a container that would put a Big Gulp to shame. The healthy stack of sugar cane made the choice seem appropriate, and we needed dessert after so much food.

Not wanting to leave the scene, we stayed and enjoyed our beverage, which was large enough for three. When we were almost done, the main proprietor (Coconut Man?) pulled us over to some BBQ grills that we had not even noticed being as full as we were from the festival. One was full of pork, the other chicken, both well marinated and crispy slow-cooked jerk style.

Before we could put into words how full our stomachs were, we were handed a mixed container of pork and chicken which had a splash of peppers, sauce, and onions on top to add quite a kick. This spicy mixture is sitting in a large jar on the prep table, and quite beautiful. The meat itself needed nothing though, especially the fatty pork which basically melted in your mouth and was delectable.

"If you don't like it, you don't pay."

We obviously knew this was not going to be a problem, but even in the end I did not get a real price. He tried not to take our money, then settled on $4 only, which seemed under the going rate but who knows.

A short chat with this Coconut Man and I learned that the stand had been open for 16 years. This information might be taken with a grain of salt, perhaps because he told me it was open Thursday through Saturday each week, even though this all took place on a Sunday. Who knows, who cares. The stand was in existence in 2011, confirmed from a look at Google Street View.

I would be really happy to return here in warmer weather, grab a fresh coconut and possibly a sour sop juice (more commonly found in Latin American restaurants as guanabana). This is real fun stuff.

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