Dub N Grub Serves Some of Miami’s Favorite Vegan Caribbean Food

The Crispy “ik’n” sandwich at Dub N Grub.Courtesy of Kriss Kofi

“In 2014, I crossed over to the plant-based side,” says Kofi, who was a food service specialist in the army. “I was going overseas a lot, and I realized we were risking our lives in Afghanistan, but the food quality wasn’t top-tier.” While coping with the mental and physical stress of being in the military, he was also inspired by the “reggae revival” and musicians like Chronixx, Proteje, and Kabaka Pyramid. It was then that Kofi decided to “Ras up and look within myself,” as he remembers. Historically, Rastafarians have been pioneers in plant-based, sustainable living, and created the term “ital” (or vital) to describe an unprocessed, meatless diet that goes hand in hand with living consciously and in tune with nature.

When Kofi opened Dub N Grub, he joined a lineage of plant-based visionaries in Miami. Among them is Hakin Hill, the Antigua-raised chef-owner of Vegetarian Restaurant by Hakin, who served black sapote smoothies, soursop juice, spinach and lentil patties, and ginger-seitan meals for 16 years at his beloved vegan restaurant in North Miami Beach. In August, the restaurant closed because of increased rent, but Hakin still offers catering. For the past 12 years, farmer and Urban Greenworks president Roger Horne, who is originally from St. Vincent, has been working with volunteers to sustain Cerasee Urban Community Farm in Liberty City—a low-income, black neighborhood. They grow everything from papaya, passion fruit, and bilimbi to moringa, Guinea Hen weed, and elderflower.

Many locals have a deep connection with the plants, fruits, and herbs that Horne and his volunteers grow. Cerasee, for example, is a sacred, healing herb known in many Caribbean communities for its anti-inflammatory properties. It flourishes in unexpected places, like near the 79th Street Causeway along Miami’s beautiful Biscayne Bay. Mysteriously, the sweet, creamy fruit from my mother’s ackee tree in North Miami bloomed almost all year. We called it the Holy Ghost Ackee Tree.

“Eating healthy, they push it to be a wealthy thing,” says Horne, who believes Miami’s food scene attempts to mimic New York’s and California’s, when the city’s weather and thriving Caribbean culinary culture allow it to have its own, distinct plant-based identity—something that Kofi exemplifies. At Dub N Grub, you’ll find my favorite vegetable: callaloo. Traditionally steamed, callaloo tastes like a combination of spinach and collard greens, and its broth is an ambrosial base for vegetable soups. Kofi’s vision for plant-based eating is simple: “In a plant-based fridge, the majority of the things on the shelves will be package-free,” Kofi says. “I use a lot of mushrooms, fruits, vegetables, whole grains.”

“I’m cooking for the people,” he adds. “There’s a deity in the Santería religion called Eleguá that meets you at the crossroads.” Kofi says that he takes on this role or “form” in his community. “I’m meeting people at the crossroads that want to cross over into the plant-based life.”

Check Also

"Vegan McDonald's" Mr. Charlie's to Open First Australian Location - vegconomist

“Vegan McDonald’s” Mr. Charlie’s to Open First Australian Location – vegconomist

Mr. Charlie’s, the US fast food chain often referred to as the “vegan McDonald’s”, is …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *