2701 N. Martin Luther King Ave.
Liven yourself up with the bold jerk chicken platter ($8.10) or the sumptuous curried goat ($11.15), both served with a generous selection of sides, including black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, steamed okra and plantains. But even those can’t beat the hot and hearty stewed oxtails ($11.72) browned and slow-cooked in a signature sauce that’ll leave anyone seeing clearly once the meal is done.
Ok Ko Mart
6000 SE 15th St., Midwest City
Ok Ko Mart is a hard-to-find Hawaiian barbecue joint in Midwest City that is better than any flashy luau at the Oahu Ramada. Ok Ko is a tiny cafe, and locals seek it out for its second-to-none specialties: the Hawaiian-style barbecue short ribs ($9.99) and barbecue chicken ($6.99). It’s island eating at its best, while Ok Ko’s Korean specialties — in particularly bulgogi ($6.99) — are nothing short of a beach party in your mouth.
Cafe do Brasil
440 NW 11th St.
Brazil! The sultry nightlife, the sexy people, the mouthwatering food — skip the plane ride and head directly to Café do Brasil. Show patriotism with Brazil’s national dish, feijoada ($21), an exciting stew of black beans, sausage and pork served with collard greens and rice. Vegetarians, on the other hand, will dig the bo-bo de frutas ($17), a fruity mishmash of seasonal fruit and plantains cooked with a veritable carnival of vegetables, nuts and coconut milk.
1903 N. Classen Blvd.
Not to be confused with the Antigua of West Indies fame, this Antigua refers to the beloved city in Guatemala. Cafe Antigua’s menu is a paradise of tropical delights. Start off with mosh ($8.75), a Guatemalan oatmeal made with three kinds of milk and served with fresh fruit drizzled with a mango sauce. Why not double up and complement that mosh with Antigua’s special sweet and thick mango nectar beverage ($3).
El Mango Paleteria
2815 NW 10th St.
This northside paleteria has been growing in popularity for its wonderfully authentic selection of regional treats ranging from chilled aquasfrescas like pecan, coconut and cantaloupe to unique summertime faves such as chilindrinas and corn in a cup. But the tropical treat that has got the kids moving their feet are the homemade mangoneadas ($3.25) that El Mango serves up. It’s a creamy mango sorbet topped with fruit and covered in a spicy chamoy sauce that burns as it chills.
Zarate’s Latin & Mexican Grill
706 S. Broadway Ave., Edmond
Offering up a wide variety of Cuban and Caribbean cooking, the menu offers more than tacos and nachos. The Jamaican jerk chicken ($12.99) is an island-ready good time, featuring a chicken breast absolutely covered in Zarate’s special herbs and spices and served with plantains. More of a barbecue dude? Then its jammin’ Brazilian barbecue dinner ($11.99) will do it up just right as chicken, shrimp, onions and potatoes are sautéed with a sweet sauce and served with fresh fruit.
117-119 N. Robinson Ave.
The Islands is the latest buried treasure in the Oklahoma City food scene. Grab a shovel and start digging into the eclectic menu of Hawaiian and Caribbean delicacies. The real gold lies in the stomach-filling chicken empanada that’s paired with a tangy kale slaw and fresh-cut plantain chips ($8.50). For only a few doubloons, it’s a meal truly fit for island living all day, every day. Aloha, hunger.
— by Louis Fowler, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman