[UPDATE DECEMBER 2016: For a full event photo set, please check out the gallery on Facebook]
In the past, interested New York City diners could hop on the A train and take it to the Lefferts Boulevard terminus to enjoy the beautifully complicated cuisine of Suriname. Both restaurants that I have eaten at (Warung Kario, Caribbean Suriname Restaurant) have shuttered, leaving a void for the country. Once a year though, seemingly all the expats from the country here in New York gather in Roy Wilkins Park in St. Albans, Queens, so it seemed only duty for me to make sure there was at least one surviving chance on the website.
Sranan Dei, or Suriname Day, is just that, a festival that celebrates the country. Better yet, it is not just an opportunity to see various parts of their culture through food and people, it is a fantastic event well worth the time and effort it takes to get to St. Albans.
There were two main food vendors that gathered very long, slow-moving lines and were clearly popular chefs by all in attendance. I arrived about an hour after the opening time of the festival and these lines only grew in length despite a couple other tents beginning to serve, so it is definitely recommended to be on the early side and get in line as soon as you know what you want. Talk to the people in line around you, who will be happy to tell you everything about their country's cuisine and what each vendor is best at.
Suriname is a country of collisions between cultures and history, a fact celebrated by its citizens. The festival matched suit as bodybuilders, drunks, busy chefs, running children, and some stragglers all mixed to enjoy their afternoon.
To read more about the country of Suriname and its collisions, please read the links above and check out a cool article by Ethnojunkie, who I ran into and shared food with at this event. He talks more about pom, the festival dish that inspired a former roommate of mine to create a Surinamese-flavored Thanksgiving meal after our dinner at Caribbean Suriname Restaurant.
[UPDATE DECEMBER 2016: Here are the photos of the foods we ate, courtesy of Andrea Ruggeri]