Words by Jesse Serwer—
On the occasion that vacationers in South Beach head for a meal in “the real Miami,” they generally flock to Calle Ocho in Little Havana, home to long-established, world-famous Cuban restaurants like Versailles. Little Haiti, a few miles north, doesn’t attract many tourists but one place in particular has become a magnet for a unique mixture of local Haitians, Miami seafood aficionados and hip-hop celebrities: Chef Creole.
When my friend Chef Eddie Huang told me he was coming to Miami to shoot episodes for his online food series for Vice, Fresh Off the Boat (also the title of his recent New York Times-bestselling autobiography) the first place I thought of and recommended was Chef Creole. Eddie’s show is about the culture and personalities behind the food he features and, from the fishing boat painted in a traditional Haitian style out front to the photos of Chef Creole with local hip-hop legends like Uncle Luke and Trick Daddy that cover its walls, Chef Creole epitomizes a distinct mixture of Caribbean and Miami culture. It also has the best take-out in the city, in my opinion. I eat there every chance I get— fried snapper or griot, with extra pikliz, please.
For the final episode of Fresh Off the Boat‘s first season, Eddie visited Chef Creole’s main location on 54th Street in Little Haiti (it’s now a mini-chain with five locations across Dade county’s Haitian belt) and joins the Chef—Wilkinson “Ken” Sejour—for some tailgating at a Dolphins game, and an island day trip on his private motorboat.
Watch the webisode below, and catch the the first two episodes in Miami while you’re at it.. In the first, a day spent in the infamous roving porn studio known as the Bangbus leads to a date between Eddie and pornstar at Hialeah Cuban spot Morro Castle; the second episode finds Uncle Luke introducing Eddie to the renowned food vendors outside of famed strip joint, Club Lexx, including Bahamian conch salad specialist Conch Daddy. For those of us accustomed to shaking our head at Vice’s sensationalistic representation of foreign culture (and specifically Caribbean culture), Fresh off the Boat is a refreshing change of pace.