Fifth Time's The Charm

Minneapolis's most beloved West Indian cook opens a much-awaited new spot

Which is why Harry gives you hot sauce. And if you choose the hot, and not the mild, don't say I didn't warn you. "I use Congo peppers, straight from Trinidad," Harry will tell you. "They are like a ball of fire. Peppers in Trinidad are different from those you get here, completely. You can taste the difference; they are hotter and more encouraging. All peppers are hot, that's their common denominator, but these give you a burning sensation in your ears, your nose, and your throat. Oh, it burns! That's what makes them so delicious." Personally, I recommend sampling Harry's really hot hot sauce by the tweezer-full, though the mild can be eaten by the thimble.

Is it really that hot? I suppose it depends on just how tough you are. When I was in college, a popular pastime among my more macho friends was to offer to pick up the table's check if anyone could down an entire ounce of Harry's hot sauce. Please know, the one kid who pulled off this feat still brags about it, and it was so impressive we still let him. If you long to play this game with friends in other cities, you'll be happy to know that Harry recently bought up the contents of three Trinidad pepper fields, and he is traveling to Trinidad at the end of November so that he can oversee the bottling of his top-secret-recipe hot sauce. Tentative slogan? "Oh God, it's hot!"

Welcome back: Harry Singh's delicious Carribean cuisine is now available again
Michael Dvorak
Welcome back: Harry Singh's delicious Carribean cuisine is now available again

Of course, the irony is that Harry became famous for hot sauce in the land of lefse back when this really was a lot closer to actually being the land of lefse. I think that that is one of the things I enjoy most about Harry Singh, aside from his food. For 20-odd years now he has been a prominent, ever-eccentric, ever-stable, ever-nice guy, welcoming all comers into his world, cooking his brilliant Caribbean home cooking for anyone willing to venture out of the comfort zone they were born into. And in this moment in time, when so many people seem to treat their homes--and worse, their minds--as fortresses that must admit nothing, ever, it seems we need Harry Singh more than ever.

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