Jah Mow - The man who bakes chicken like pudding

September 18, 2017
Customer Jephet Smith enjoying a lunch of curried conch and rice and peas.
Jah Mow's assistant, Steve, helps with the cooking.
Jah Mow's serves a box of his special at his spot in Hart Hill, Portland.

Ask the people of Hart Hill and adjoining Portland communities about the place to get good curried conch, and they will direct you to Jah Mow's spot.

Noel 'Jah Mow' Spaulding has been operating his cookshop, which is located just off the Hart Hill main road, for quite a while, but it wasn't his intention to open an eatery.

"A tailoring me really used to do, but things start slow up a way. So because of that now, me decide me haffi do something," he said.

At first Jah Mow used to bake puddings, but then once the cookshop got going, he prepared fish, mostly steamed and roasted. But people wanted more variety.

"So a so me start do chicken and chips. And then, after that now, me start do roast conch and bake chicken," he said. He also prepares conch soup, which is one of the favourite dishes.




Jah Mow said he learnt to cook from watching his grandmother with whom he grew up. "She always say three things you must learn. You must learn to cook, learn to wash and learn to tidy your place," he laughed. "A so now we just develop and gradually adjust, develop new ways of doing things, and add my own style."

Everything he cooks, including the baked chicken, is prepared on coal fire. He has a number of old rims that he uses as his burners. About the baked chicken, he said, "You know how when you do pudding dem say hell a top, hell a bottom and heaven inna di middle? So we bake the chicken."

Right now, he only operates on Fridays and Saturdays, because it's a roadside cookshop.

Jah Mow also sells a variety of juices, including beetroot, June plum and carrot.

He prepares most of the food at home, but the roasted conch and fried chicken are done on the spot. One loyal customer is Jephet Smith, who cannot get enough of the curried conch.

"I live in Black Hill, but it's my regular spot whenever I'm passing by," he said. "I think many people depend on this spot on Friday and Saturday evenings, 'cause they are always out here buying and enjoying themselves."

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