Can Caribbean specialties be just as good out of their native habitats? Where can you find some proper Jerk chicken, ital, or Ackee, and Saltfish in South Carolina? SAPi has compiled a list of the most beloved Jamaican eateries in the Palmetto State.
Despite what one might think, the vibrant Jamaican culinary scene outside the Caribbean can be just as irie inside of South Carolina’s state lines.
South Carolina has had a vibrant Jamaican food scene for decades. For an example of the rooted Caribbean culture and heritage tradition in the state, where Jamaican cuisine shines bright up and down the coast, look no further than the Charleston Carifest hosted each summer.
If you are looking to satisfy your tastebuds between Caribbean festivals, the region has a lot to offer. Whether you are looking for the grab-and-go convenience of a food truck or a sit-down restaurant ambiance with vibrant beats, SAPi has you covered.
The Best Jamaican Food in South Carolina
Clarendon Cuisine, Myrtle Beach
1. Best By The Beach | Clarendon Cuisine
Where: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach has a robust Jamaican community, so you can be sure that the dishes served have passed the authenticity inspection by local eaters. Reviews report that for all the great, diverse restaurants on the Grand Strand, it was almost impossible to find good Jamaican cooking until Clarendon Cuisine came along. Daily lunch specials include Brown Stew Chicken, Curry Chicken, and Jerked Chicken.
Reggae Island Grill, Myrtle Beach
2. Best Ackee and Saltfish | Reggae Island Grill
Where: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
If you are looking for Jamaica’s National plate of choice, Ackee and Saltfish, there is only one place that serves it in Myrtle Beach: Reggae Island Grill. Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica and is usually boiled with salted cod. If it powers Usain Bolt’s breakfast, it must be something magical.
The Reggae Island Grill’s menu features other classics like Jerk Chicken, Curry Goat, and Oxtail as well. One reviewer reports: “We were looking for some good authentic Jamaican food while on vacation, and this place did not disappoint. The jerk chicken was smoked just right and literally fell off the bone. Like honestly, the food was so good I had to stop to get a plate on my way headed home.”
3. Best Jerk Food Truck | TruJerkJamaica
Where: Columbia, South Carolina
One look at this popular food truck’s Jerk Chicken, surrounded by plantains and peas and rice, and you know TruJerkJamaica is not playing around. Not only do they specialize in all things jerk (chicken, pork, oxtail) they also come through with some authentic Jamaican Ting soda and Coco Bread. Close your eyes, and you’re on Seven Mile Beach.
Jamaica Mi Irie, Greenville
4. Best In Greenville | Jamaica Mi Irie
Where: Greenville, South Carolina
Jamaican Me Irie proclaims itself to be “the only 100% authentic Jamaican Restaurant in Greenville. With three locations around the city, it won’t be hard to lock in your Brown Stew Chicken Lunch, Jerk Shrimp, or Curry Chicken Roti. Outdoor seating in a vibrant setting and Caribbean beats make the whole experience a vibe.
JAMROCK CARIBANA, Warrenville
5. Best Off The Beaten Path | JAMROCK CARIBANA
Where: Warrenville, South Carolina
Visitors here exclaim, “the Brown Stew Chicken is life!” While you won’t find JAMROCK CARIBANA in a major city hub, Red Pea Soup and their Annual Fish Fry certainly make the drive out to Warrenville worth the trip. One of the sure signs you’re eating at an authentic Jamaican joint is oxtail on the menu, and JAMROCK CARIBANA doesn’t disappoint with tender, juicy servings and generous side portions.
Whether you’re a die-hard Brown Stew Chicken fan or you’re looking to mix up your foodie routine, check out one of these great options in South Carolina. Not only are they all run by authentic chefs, but also local businesses run by real people.
You’ve got a few trillion friends inside of you who would love to talk about your eating habits. That’s right, you’re not alone, even when you think you are. Your gut microbiome is a community of soldiers (microorganisms) doing their best daily to defend your body from enemies and keep all your systems running smoothly. Fueling them with the right foods is imperative to keeping them and you happy.
Gut health is no longer just for fitness enthusiasts. It isn’t just your naturopath or health nut sister espousing the importance of digestion anymore either. It turns out they were right along and then some, and we’ll explain why focusing on a healthy digestive system is about more than not eating the whole tub of movie theater popcorn.
It’s not only the scientists and nutritionists who are out here telling us that it’s not too late to take on your gut health. Consumer reports have shown that Americans are making gut-friendly foods a priority.
The consumption of fermented foods (heaving with gut-friendly probiotics) has increased by 149% in dine-in establishments since 2020 – likely buoyed by their reputation as immunity fortifiers.
As fast-moving consumer goods, gut-friendly foods have grown into a $9.2 billion industry that shows no sign of slowing.
In this article, we’ll break down the following:
Some fun facts about your gut buddies.
Why gut health is super important.
What foods make your gut buddies happy?
Gut-friendly food trends on the horizon.
Photo Credit: Vector Stock
Fun Facts About Your Gut Buddies (Microbiome)
There’s a lot going on in your mid-region that you need to know about. The faster you become gut buddies, the happier both you and your microbiome will be.
It’s a fascinating mechanism in your body; here are some fun facts to help get acquainted with your guts!
1. You are more bacteria than you are human.
Did we get your attention? There are as many bacterial cells in your gut biome as human cells in your buddy, if not more. Science is undecided on the exact number, but the point is the beneficial bacteria in your body, and your human cells need to harmonize for the best results, and feeding them the right food is a good place to start.
2. Gut instincts are real.
When people talk about getting “the butterflies” or feeling sick in stressful moments, this is a fight or flight sensation caused by your vagus nerve that runs from your brain to your stomach. It’s your body’s way of warning you.
3. The bacteria in your gut microbiome weigh up to 2 kilograms.
That’s the whole fact. But pretty, amazing, right? And a great piece of information for party conversation! Scientific studies tell us that in addition to weighing 2 kilograms, roughly 100 trillion microbes represent as many as 5,000 different species in your gut.
4. Americans Have It Worse
The gut microbiome of Americans and most other Westernized, industrialized populations is less diverse and dominated by different bacterial species than that of people from rural, less developed populations. This is likely due to a shift away from the natural environment, soils, and whole foods preventing us from naturally diversifying our gut bacteria.
Why Gut Health Is Super Important
Some of us may not be able to honestly remember what it feels like to have a healthy, perfectly functioning gut. However, frequent episodes of fatigue, mild depression, inflammation, and rashes are all signs that your gut might be under-functioning.
As infants, our guts are nearly sterile at birth until they develop into a community of trillions of microbial cells by the time we reach adulthood. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, millions of Americans fall victim to the Western diet. As we develop convenience-oriented eating habits that tend towards processed and indigestible foods laden with preservatives and over-processed ingredients, we start to weaken our microbiome.
Your Second Brain
To help you think of your gut as a top priority, you can visualize your gut being your second brain. Scientists call this “second brain,” if you will, the enteric nervous system (ENS). It is a network of nerves, neurons and neurotransmitters that extends along the entire digestive tract – from the esophagus, through the stomach and intestines, and down to your bum. It contains the exact same neurotransmitters and neurons that are found in the central nervous system (CNS), making them closely related.
This “second brain”, your gut, contains 100 million neurons responsible for 95% of your serotonin production. That’s big! Your gut is in charge of many things you likely know about – digestion, detoxing your system of impurities, and – your mood! Serotonin is the neurochemical that regulates your mood and sleep. Researchers now know there is a direct correlation to gut health and happiness.
Your immune system resides primarily within your gut. The diversity of your gut flora is the best defense against unwelcome microbes and viruses. Having a diverse diet of living foods is the best way to increase your gut microbiome’s diversity.
In addition, elimination is an important component of gut health. Your body needs to release not just the end product of digestion but all the toxins sent to your gut from other systems as well. The efficiency of elimination is a big part of your immune response.
What Foods Make Your Gut Buddies Happy
The good news is that we’ve come a long way from your grandma’s jars of fermented vegetables, although those are pretty tasty too. Commercially, living foods are becoming more accessible and palatable.
What is a “ living food”?
From the beginning, every global culture has adopted its own version of a native fermented food. These culinary traditions involved whole foods that were changed by a living bacterial culture and enzymatic action to create a preserved version that was generally known to be helpful with immunity and overall health. The Koreans have kim chi, the Chinese have kombucha, and the German’s sauerkraut.
In modern times, we have all of those and more. Here are just a few foods that are booming commercially, taste great, and will leave you better than they found you.
Kombucha has been known as the “Elixir Of Life” since its inception in 221 BC. The Chinese swore that this fabled “mushroom” culture, called a SCOBY, that turned tea into a sweet and sour beverage, was the key to a long healthy life. And they weren’t wrong! Kombucha has grown into a 2.6 billion dollar industry since it took off as a modern drink in the 1990s.
A cousin to kefir, the base is generally milk instead of tea. The same concept is used to ferment the milk using a culture of beneficial bacteria and yeast that yield an extremely healthy drink. It is essentially drinkable yogurt! Kids often prefer it flavored with fruit.
Blue Ridge Brinery, South Carolina
KimChi and Sauerkraut
Some may argue that sauerkraut and kimchi shouldn’t share a byline, but they are both forms of fermented cabbage. While kimchi is generally on the spicier side and sauerkraut is generally milder. We say both can be put on absolutely anything to level up your eating experience with a bounty of happy microbes.
Probiotics refer to the beneficial microbes that exist naturally in our gut and by introduction via living foods and sometimes manufactured supplements. Well, probiotics get hungry too. Prebiotics create a food source for them in the form of a nondigestible food ingredient that promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines.
Great probiotics are any plant fibers from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Think:
The food trends of 2023 have spoken, and health-based foods are here to stay. The Institute for Food Technology (IFT) predicts we’ll see more wild-crafted beers, kombucha, miso, kimchi, and pickled foods going into 2023. The sour and umami flavors bolstered with heavy-hitting health benefits are a recipe for culinary success as home-based businesses to high-end restaurants make wellness initiatives a key strategy.
Whether you are selling your famous oatmeal cookies or artisan sourdough bread, at some point, after the millionth question you’ve received about ingredients, calories, or volume, you’ll want a label whether it’s required or not.
Laws in every state have been written to help companies referred to as; home-based kitchens, cottage food businesses, or homestead businesses to comply with food health and safety while allowing commercial operations in domestic locations.
We’ll dive into the ins and outs and food labels and the reasons that this information is always good to have on hand, whether it is mandated by state law or not.
In this guide to Cottage Food Business labeling, we’ll explore the following:
Who Requires Labels
Examples of Home-Based Food Production Labels
Why You Should Have a Label, Whether It Is Required Or Not
Resources To Help Create A Label
Each State’s Cottage Food Law For Labeling
Who Requires A Label
Most states require some version of labeling for home-based food products. However, the actual contents can range from essential to complex depending on the stipulations of Cottage Food Laws in your state.
Suppose you decide to partner with, for example, a local coffee shop to sell your baked goods, a farmer’s market, or a retail outlet. In that case, they may also have their own standards to ensure safety regulations are met and to minimize liability.
Some states have exemptions for:
Hot, ready-to-eat foods
Simple Items with low nutritional value; coffee, tea, etc
In all cases, you should check our guide below for what each state’s Cottage Food Laws mandate. Below we indicate typical information asked to be included on home-based food labeling.
Typical information found on food labels includes:
(1) The name of the food product located on the primary panel.
(2) The name, city, and zip code of the Cottage Food Operation (CFO) that produced the food product. (A contact phone number or email address is optional but may be helpful for contact in case a consumer wishes to contact you.)
(3) You must indicate it was prepared in a home kitchen by one of these statements, depending on state regulation, in 12-point type on the principal display panel:
“Made in a Home Kitchen”
“Repackaged in a Home Kitchen”
“This food is made in a home kitchen and is not inspected by the Department of State Health Services or a local health department.”
(4) The registration or permit number of the CFO who produced the cottage food product (if applicable).
(5) The ingredients of the cottage food product, in descending order of weight, if the product contains two or more ingredients.
(6) The net quantity (count, weight, or volume) of the food product, stated in both (pound) units and metric units (grams).
(7) A declaration on the label in plain language if the food contains any of the major food allergens such as milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans.
Regarding allergens, there are two approved methods prescribed by federal law for declaring the food sources of allergens in packaged foods: a) in a separate summary statement immediately following or adjacent to the ingredient list or b) within the ingredient list.
Examples Of Cottage Food Labels
If you’d like to know what it looks like to create a label for your products, many states provide mockups for what meets regulations.
Why You Should Have a Label On Hand No Matter What
You may be a part-time home-based food producer who only sells on the weekends at the farmer’s market or to friends and think, I don’t need labels!
If no one requires you to have a label, why should you bother investing effort, time, and money out of pocket? There are a few benefits to having this information on hand that goes beyond meeting regulations. Even if you don’t put it on the physical product, keeping information on hand about nutritional values, ingredients, and sourcing can come in handy when you least expect it. Here are five solid reasons to make creating labels a priority.
1. Streamline Questions From Customers
People will ask all the questions. What are the ingredients? Do you know the caloric content? Is it gluten-free? Does it meet an allergen requirement you may have never heard of?
Consumers have a right to know all of the above, and even if they are satisfied with your answer, you may not want to answer the question several times over. You also might not be available if you end up hiring staff to answer every question, and a label can help your staff point the customer in the right direction.
2. Free Marketing
So you make the best BBQ sauce this side of the county? What better advertisement is there than a label on your product while it goes to a family get together or event? Never miss a free marketing opportunity by having your product do the talking when you aren’t around. Adding your social media and contact information is also a great way to get leads and gain momentum in your customer base.
3. Levels Your Business Up
Intuitively customers trust a brand that looks polished and professional. Your product might be made in a home kitchen, but if you put effort into making it, you should communicate that passion in the packaging. When you make social posts, a sleek labeled product will help separate you from the pack.
4. Shows You Are An Authority On Your Product
Adding nutrition, allergen, and health benefits information shows that you’ve put thought into your products. While you may not need all categories of information (check your state’s regulations in our guide below), adding it demonstrates that you know your product intimately and have done the research.
5. Opens The Doors
Building on all of the above, a labeled product infers that you are ready for partnerships with retailers, events, and expansion. A polished label will open the door to opportunity in a way that an unlabeled and “green” looking product may not.
Resources To Create Your Own Food Label
The good news is, you don’t need to be a graphic designer to put together your own labels. There are plenty of easy-to-use tools online that will help you put together the needed information, design, and print them with ease.
Nutrient / Nutrition Labeling and Analysis
You don’t need a lab to do your ingredient analysis and create a professional-looking nutritional label. Each of these online generators has free options. All you need is a set recipe with defined measurements, and the generator will do the rest. You can save the nutritional information box generated and pop it into one of the design programs below.
In addition, these platforms are a great way to experiment with recipes, especially if you have a health target like a “low calorie” product. Adjusting ingredients will help you envision where the recipe needs to go to achieve the goal.
You don’t need to have knowledge in complicated design programs to throw together your first label. If you feel intimidated, reach out to design friends or try freelance sites like Upwork, Envato, or Fiverr to hire someone. Freelance designers can range in price depending on experience, but it’s not difficult to find an economical option.
Here are several sites to design labels on your own.
Forming a relationship with a local printer is always helpful for a number of reasons. You can work together in real-time on location to get your label locked in perfectly. In addition, there is also generally faster turnaround and lower minimum order quantities if you explain that you are a new business and want to grow with them. Plus, it’s always great to support a local business.
However, this isn’t always an option. You could opt to print your labels at home. Conversely, as you scale your business, the pricing may be better with larger online companies, albeit less personal. Here are a few options for online printing services.
Below we have curated a list of resources for Cottage Food Laws in each state. When possible we listed the government link for the Cottage Food Law in that state. The regulations, labels requirements, and exemptions vary from state to state and are essential to understand before launching your food business.
Are you thinking of taking your culinary creations into edible commerce? But perhaps think that starting a food business is for “other people”? A home-based food business is a perfect way to start your journey and comes with tremendous benefits. Starting small can help you decide if being a foodpreneur is something you want to chase and turn into your legacy.
Setting up a commercial food business in your home may seem a daunting task at first. However, you may be surprised by just how easy state Cottage Food Business Acts have made getting into the commercial food industry without the full-scale start-up responsibilities restaurants require.
Below we will break down the best perks of realizing your culinary dreams from home.
The Advantages of Starting A Cottage Food Business
Low Barrier To Entry
Every home-based food business must comply with their state’s cottage food laws. This includes licensing, permitting, and hygiene regulations. These are generally straightforward and can be less rigorous for a home-based business depending on the area. Fewer start-up costs and legal requirements make a cottage food business an equal opportunity starting point for most foodpreneurs.
Less Capital Intensive
Setting up a full-scale restaurant requires a tremendous amount of start-up capital and potentially the involvement of investors. Instead, using space you already have can help save precious funds that can be reinvested into your growth instead of a landlord.
Additionally, you’ll be spending less on utilities, maintenance, and staffing required to run a brick-and-mortar operation. Items like utensils and cooking equipment can also be cross purposed.
A home-based food operation allows you to operate with much less stress than a traditional commercial kitchen. For example, you likely won’t need to worry about employee insurance, costly maintenance, or risk an unexpected closure tanking your profits for the month.
Since your investment remains comparatively low, the risk quotient decreases compared to a stand-alone commercial food business. If something unexpected happens and you decide to take a break, you won’t have employees to lay off or a landlord banging at your door either.
Low Overhead and Operating Costs
Compared to the stand-alone commercial kitchen, the day-to-day operational costs of a home-based kitchen are appreciably lower. From utilities to rent, you’ll have less overhead to cover, and more profit can be made. Not only is the overhead reduced, but you also won’t have operating costs like POS systems, employee management software, or the wages of admin staff (like accountants and human resources) to cover.
You Can Scale As You Grow
As far as pressure goes, the ability to scale as you grow in a home-based food business is possibly one of the best advantages of running your commercial kitchen in-house. While starting a full-scale restaurant will mean that you need to be more or less fully stocked on opening day, a home-based kitchen means that you can scale as you grow.
You can level up your kitchen equipment and staffing needs as profits allow rather than spending money upfront. In addition, you won’t have to front the expenses of large volumes of packaging and ingredients until your customer base grows. It is a perfect solution for those with a food dream but without a millionaire’s bank account.
While you should consult your accountant, it is logical that you can claim many of your home-based business expenses on your taxes. For example, if your in-house commercial kitchen takes up 20% of your house, you should be able to make a write-off on your income taxes.
You can also receive tax deductions for expenses related to licensure and permitting. The same goes for marketing materials, website hosting, online courses, and vehicle expenses.
Flexibility In Concept
One of the best advantages of starting your foodpreneur journey with a home-based kitchen is that you can test the waters and modify your offerings with feedback. Instead, a stand-alone restaurant has a very slim margin of versatility as menus need to be printed with set offerings and ingredients need to be purchased ahead in large quantities. In addition, staff are trained to make specific recipes. Throwing new products into the mix will cause inconsistency, increased costs, and instability.
In a cottage food business, you have the benefit of testing products and friends, family, and even the local farmer’s market before you commit to a menu or product. Take advantage of this flexibility by hosting tasting events in your neighborhood or popping up at festivals to try out creations.
Finding a balance between your business and family can be easier in a cottage food business model.
Flexible Hours, Flexible Life
Finally, one of the most difficult tasks as a foodpreneur is establishing a work-life balance. Establishing a routine inside the comfort of your home and doing so early in the process will help you stay happy, passionate, and motivated.
Too often, entrepreneurs get sucked into the hustle. A busy week can turn into months that can turn into years where you’ve missed important life events and holidays to stay open as a brick-and-mortar business. Because, hey, the landlord, employees, and vendors still need to get paid.
A home-based commercial kitchen offers a somewhat more flexible routine with less impact if you need to take a day off. You can set your own hours, take feedback and make adjustments to offerings relatively easily, and every day is casual Friday. You also won’t lose precious time driving to the restaurant each day when you can just roll up to your in-house kitchen instead.
While there are also disadvantages to running a home-based business (you are essentially never able to leave your workplace after all!), we believe the pros outweigh the cons. Starting your foodpreneur journey in your home allows for a massive amount of flexibility and a faster approach to begin.
If you are still unsure if taking on a home-based food business is the right choice, consider touching base with fellow home-based food business entrepreneurs. Additionally, community forums are helpful to learn from those who have gone before you. If you want to make sure you are on the right path you can also connect with a consultant who specializes in helping home-based food businesses get licensed and comply with regulations.
SAPi is determined to find the best food truck experiences all over the United States. This week we are bringing you the top five best food truck parks in Austin, Texas.
The Austin food scene is replete with cutting-edge culinary cuisines, but it wouldn’t be complete without its world-class food truck scene. The food trucks found in the fresh, funky city are the embodiment of Austin’s laid-back, socially driven culture where a hot happy hour can just as likely be found in a trendy new cocktail bar as in a happening parking lot.
Austin has an estimated 1200 active food trucks that make up the prolific parking lot fine dining scene. Narrowing down the top five would be unfair, so instead, in this edition of SAPi’s Best of Food Trucks we’ll be highlighting the best Food Truck PARKS that make up Austin’s foodie landscape.
That’s right, Austin has enough Food Truck Parks to make an entire list (or maybe two!). Have we found foodie paradise in a back lot with twinkling lights and picnic tables? Maybe.
The Picnic was founded on the principle that supporting local is the best investment for Austin’s food community. They also commit to supporting small food truck businesses long-term with one-year leases.
They boast of some unheard of food truck park amenities such as; boutique shopping, covered pavilion areas, and air-conditioned bathrooms. Food truck flavors range from TexMex to Thai and rotate making for a fresh experience with every visit. As an added bonus, The Picnic is open seven days a week, ready to fulfill your culinary cravings!
The Pangea Lounge is an ideal location for those in East Austin. It creates the epitome of a laid-back vibe complete with hammocks for those who actually want to lay back after a big meal. They also host outside vendors and live music events on a regular schedule. Serving not just your average fare, this is where you go for Columbia street eats and Venezuelan Pepitos.
Must Try: Bazilian Cozhina from Boteco, Bela Fria Hot Dog from Pepitos, and Tacos Al Paisa.
Photo Credit: Thicket Austin
The Brooklyn Breakfast Shop, Thicket South Austin Food Truck Park
3. Thicket Food Truck Park
Location: 7800 South 1st Street
Specialty: Play Areas, Live Music, Yoga, Open Mic
Serving South Austin, Thicket Food Truck Park is family-friendly community gathering space with tasty food trucks, play areas, and live music. It’s the perfect spot for families who don’t have babysitters but want to take a pseudo-date! The Thicket is an ideal brunch or lunch spot where parents can feast on the Brooklyn Breakfast Shop or Revolution Vegan Kitchen while watching the littles play at the jungle gym.
Photo Credit: Heart of Texas Peace Corps Association
Mueller Trailer Eats, Food Truck Park, Austin Texas
4. Mueller Trailer Eats
Location: 4209 Airport Blvd
Specialty: Laid Back Picnic Vibes
Mueller Trailer Eats is a whole vibe located in the Historic Browning Hangar. Colorful picnic tables and even a converted school bus food truck set the scene for a fun night out. This food truck paradise is easily accessible and features a variety of cuisine from plant-based vegan eats to exceptional grilled burgers.
The Mueller Trailer Eats food truck park is open seven days a week until 8 pm.
Photo Credit: Visit Austin Rainey Street Food Trucks, Austin, Texas
5. Rainey Street Food Trucks
Location: Rainey Street
Specialty: Tons of Variety, Great Date Night
The Rainey Street Food Trucks are the night out you didn’t know you needed. With a laid-back dress code, twenty food trucks to choose from, and live music alongside street bars, this might just be a foodie mecca. Rainey Street boasts every kind of cuisine alongside the banks of Lady Bird Lake. Rainey Street is the less crowded version of 6th Street with all the same funky energy.