Mistress of flavor

Updated: 2013-01-14 13:20

By Tym Glaser (China Daily)

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Mistress of flavor

Rose Lin Zamoa says she hopes to have a few small stores around Asia, patty shops with maybe some jerk chicken to go. Photos by Feng Yongbin / China Daily

Rose Lin Zamoa offers tasty treats at her restaurant in Beijing, reports Tym Glaser, who delves deeper into the secrets of Afro-Caribbean fusion food.

Born in Africa, brought up in Europe and living in China, it's obvious that any restaurant you open would sell Jamaican food! Rose Lin Zamoa, the 34-year-old Afro-haired proprietor of the tiny Beijing restaurant in Andingmen called Jamaica Me Crazy, is quite the entrepreneur.

The "110 percent African" from Ghana came to the capital from her adopted home in London about five years ago to further her Mandarin studies and is now cooking up a storm.

Mistress of flavor

Hong Kong's year on a plate 

Zamoa studied full time for two-and-a-half years and whilst studying she used to cook on weekends for her classmates at Beijing International Studies University.

"Then some said they would like to eat my food for lunch and asked if I could make it and sell it to them. Soon, a few other foreign students at the Communication University of China, which was next to my university, also started ordering. That's how it started."

The Andingmen take-out restaurant, which serves popular Jamaican dishes like jerk chicken, beef patties, ackee and saltfish, curry goat (mutton), yams and plantains as well as English-style pies, is Zamoa's third site in the capital.

The dual passport holder (Ghana, United Kingdom) who took Caribbean cooking classes while living in London, wasted little time in setting up her new headquarters, with four employees.

"I'm not making a profit yet, but the restaurant is starting to take care of itself. I hope by the summer - April, May - it will start making money. It better!"

Jamaica Me Crazy attracts a mixed crowd. "It's about a 50-50 split between locals and foreigners, but the good thing is that about 50 percent of the Chinese are repeat customers who live near the restaurant," she says.

"They love the spices used with the (jerk) chicken. It's something new to them."

Those herbs and spices are imported from Britain and, sometimes, Ghana, the country she left at the age of 7.

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