Mobay Porridge Man


Mobay Porridge Man

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Thursday, February 04, 2021

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A recent viral video on social media showed a peanut porridge vendor dexterously pouring amid cheers and shouts of “No spill!”, the daringness of the serving increasing with each pour to match the enthusiasm of the spectators.

Thursday Food had questions.

• Why this style of pouring?

• Did it help with the cooling process?

• Was this a one-off display or was this a daily show?

First step in finding out is of course the comments section. One commentator proudly stating “A my porridge man that, regular thing fi see him out a clock a MoBay!”

After a few checks we found out his street name is of course 'Porridge Man' (after all, this is Jamaica), but friends called him 'Telly' or 'Short Man' and he works from roughly 6:00 am to 11:00 am from Tuesday to Sunday.

We caught up with him and, apparently, a description of this writer and the vehicle had already been provided, so upon exiting said vehicle, he announced in greeting: “A me you look for, man!”.

In between pours we were able to get the answers to fill our cup. Joshua McBean, yes that's his name, was ready to spill for a change as he heard we were making checks for him (word travels fast in the streets) to do an interview.

“Me a do this from me about 13 and is about 11 years now me a do it. Use to this before school and the after; to how me love it me continue do it,” said McBean.

“When I started, I use to burn up me hand and the boss say 'Man, pour the porridge ina the cup and stop bun up yuhself' and me just start build a style and become perfect. I started the style and the burn get worse, all me foot dem me start bun up. But after a while me get it, man, cause me no want no more bun,” McBean said laughingly.

“Now I do this with my eyes closed sometimes, going up high with the pouring, and other times I rock the porridge in from the side and every day I try new styles. People come from all over to video me and love the style,” McBean added.

McBean sells with an outfit called Ras Dalton Peanut Porridge, a venture inspired by his grandmother Adella Reid. She would bake coconut drops, cakes and puddings for sale and would encourage her grandchildren to be business-minded. The business of selling ital sip and porridge was started in 1973. Later, Dalton was joined by his brother Roy Gitchie, two of their sons and a nephew from another brother.

“We have been doing this since 1973 fresh out of senior school (St James High School). We use to do the best ital food; Dalton was the foundation and it's like a family tradition now. Over the years we change the formula, try different spices, change the texture and that make we have the best porridge on the street,” Gitchie explained.

— Text & Photos: Aceion Cunningham

Location: Barnett Street (Clock), Montego Bay

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