On the Jamaican party scene, some elements before and after the event are must-haves and among these is the ubiquitous 'Soupie'. We caught up with two at Mayhem Soaka Playground at Kool Runnings Adventure Park in Negril last Sunday.
Leroy "Powa" Haye, a native of Westmoreland, has been selling vegetable soup and corn for the last seven years. His soup is made with ingredients mainly from his farm.
"I do ital soups, no meat, and a mi plant the things dem wha go inna the pot. I plant dasheen, banana, yam, callaloo, pak choi, plantain, breadfruit and coconut. I'm a vegetarian that's why I do ital as the meat takes too long for the body to break down. I'm never out of produce as I plant what I need and buy everything else," Haye stated.
"I sell three days a week: Roots Bamboo, Scrub A Dub and Alfred's. If I see a good set-up for a party then I'll go there as well," Haye added.
Michware "Ska" Abrahams operates a food cart from Friday to Sunday on the beach in Negril with food including seafood options such as lobster, conch, fish and octopus, as well as jerk, vegan and vegetarian offerings. A food vendor for 13 years, his menu options at Mayhem included vegetarian soup, chicken and red peas soup, foil roast fish, octopus and lobster.
"I'm from a family of food lovers. My grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, aunties, uncles are all into cooking and cook for every occasion. I'm the only one that took it as a business, though. When I came to Negril, I didn't like the taste and standard I was getting as that's not what I was used to from my home in Mandeville. So, I decided to start cooking," said Abrahams.
"Old-time cooking me deal wid still, enuh, and not the modern style. My food is natural and not with the artificial packaged stuff. Everything is seasoned with only natural produce. My greatest joy is not even the money, is persons telling me how good the food was. The money is just to make the business continue," Abrahams added.
Abrahams plans on reopening his Ska Restaurant in Negril and to expand his offerings even more. Ska chosen as the name as his father is always playing ska music whilst the cooking is happening.
— Photos & text by Aceion Cunningham