Best Guyanese Food in America!

While I was releasing my Guyana travel series, an incredible Guyanese chef reached out to me and invited me to her home in the Florida Keys for a full Guyanese food feast! We’d be having pepperpot, egg balls, baiganee, pholourie, and more in her backyard and her kitchen!

Omadai “Sandy” Roberts is an incredible cook, motivational speaker, philanthropist, and life coach from Enmore Logwood, Guyana. She’s been cooking since she was young, and often provided for the elders in her village. Her passion for the art of cooking and learning about different herbs and cuisines continued to blossom. She moved to the U.S. in 2001 and founded Sandy’s Backyard Kitchen, which she uses to share and promote Guyanese cuisine.

Making Pholourie

A glass bowl full of freshly fried split pea fritters called pholourie | Davidsbeenhere

After meeting Sandy, she started off by making the pholourie, which are savory split pea fritters that are popular throughout the Caribbean. I tried one—they were really tasty! She also had lots of peppers and had made some chayote achar, mango sauce, and a spicy pepper sauce. They were all excellent with the pholourie!

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The pholurie was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the pepper sauce made my tongue numb! I loved the sweetness and chunkiness of the chayote achar, and the mango was sweet!

She also had some bhaji leaves and mixed them into the remaining pholourie batter and fried them. Then, we headed into the kitchen, where her son had made some fluffy plait bread and some moonshine, which is 60% alcohol! Sandy was also making pepperpot, my favorite Guyanese food, and had some El Dorado rum waiting for us!

The Best Pepperpot in the United States

David Hoffmann and Chef Sandy Roberts enjoying pepperpot, a savory Guyanese food made from oxtail, beef, goat, and pork | Davidsbeenhere

Sandy added some fresh thyme and hot peppers into the pepperpot, and then she grabbed a fresh coconut and cut it open so I could drink the coconut water. It was so filling! Then I tried my hand at cutting one open. The meat inside was like a nice, thick jelly!

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Back inside, we went with the 15-year-old aged El Dorado rum with a bit of coconut water. It’s an amazing combination and the rum is so smooth! Next was the moonshine, which was surprisingly smooth.

Next, I tried the plait bread with the pepperpot. I’m not joking when I say it’s the best Guyanese food you’ll ever eat. She’d made two types of plait bread to go with it. One of them contained coconut milk and bits of hot peppers!

For the pepperpot, Sandy used oxtail, beef, goat, and pork. It had a bit of sweetness and tanginess, and the meat had a bit of that gelatinous feel I love. The cassareep, allspice, and cinnamon created an unbelievable symphony of flavors in my mouth. It practically melted in my mouth and had me craving more!

Cooking Guyanese Food with Sandy

A closeup of a bowl of pepperpot | Davidsbeenhere

Outside, we had carambola (starfruit) preserved with rum, wine, and brandy. It was rich and caramelized, and had a unique flavor! I also peeled and tried some moringa seeds before she showed me her green seasoning. Then, we cooked a goat curry in the backyard in a 75-year-old Dutch oven pot! Preparing it this way makes the meat super tender!

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Then, in the kitchen, we made some roti, which is also called buss up shut. It’s another favorite Guyanese food of mine. It’s the perfect vehicle for grabbing and mixing other dishes! Then, I tried some dragonfruit before she started building some shrimp curry and crab curry. Everything smelled amazing! The shrimp curry was phenomenal!

Finally, she began cooking the roti. I rolled one out and put it on the grill and then smashed it with my hands to make it flaky and layered. Then, we fried some egg balls and made conch pholourie, and baiganee with eggplant! Her son also made a corn pone with coconut and dragonfruit!

Eating Guyanese Food in Sandy’s Backyard Kitchen

David Hoffmann and Sandy Roberts sitting around a table full of Guyanese food dishes | Davidsbeenhere

Then, finally, it was time to eat the Guyanese food I’d been sampling all day! The dry roast shrimp curry blew my mind, and the conch pholourie with the chayote achar was unbelievable. The goat curry was like butter and was so tender. I loved the potatoes in it! And I couldn’t get over the amazing pepperpot!

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Then, I dove into the crab curry by breaking the legs and body and sucking out all the meat. It was messy and dirty but so tasty and worth all the trouble! It was my top dish of the day so far!

The egg balls contained quail eggs and was unreal with the mango souse. But the baiganee with chayote achar blew me away! Then, I ended my incredible meal with an amazing dessert called sirnee. It was a fantastic end to one of the best home-cooked meals I’ve ever had in my life!

Huge thanks to Sandy and her family for graciously hosting me! Be sure to follow her to learn even more about Guyanese food and culture!

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