Duck mistaken for chocolate in South Ozone Park

Rock-rock-Rockaway roti

Also on the steam table were a beguiling display of stewed crabs, which kicked like the Rockettes at Christmastime, and bulging eggplant fritters. Called "bigan" in the island's Hindi dialect, the fritters were split with a knife and dressed with several sauces before being served. Vegetarian choices abounded, including a Chinese-Caribbean mélange of fresh vegetables stir-fried with mild spices, and a sweet curry of fresh sliced mango that was astonishingly toothsome, and unlike anything we'd ever eaten before.

Sweet anticipation at Annie's Roti Shop
Elena Dahl
Sweet anticipation at Annie's Roti Shop

As we sat in the sunny front room eating our rotis, fritters, crab, and "macaroni pie" (a veggie-dotted mac and cheese), a group of schoolgirls in crimson pinafores burst in the door and ran up to the counter demanding doubles ($1 each). These snacks consist of a pair of small puffy pooris twisted around a filling of curried chickpeas, further improved with spoonfuls of tamarind syrup and hot pepper sauce. We looked longingly at the doubles, and then continued eating the tableful of food already spread before us.

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