Jamaican Rice & Peas Review: Cool Runnings vs Tropical Diner In Houston, Texas

I’m hungry, but not that hungry to have a full Jamaican meal this fine Sunday afternoon.  So I decided to head back to Cool Runnings Restaurant for just a portion of Jamaican Rice & Peas.

Now every time, I tell someone who is not from Jamaica about rice & peas they laugh at me and rightly so as what is called “peas,” is really red kidney beans, although sometimes the meal is actually made with peas as in the case of using gungo peas.

Now I’m not sure why this is the case, but I think it’s that the dish is made with various different peas and that was the original name, so it stuck, but I’m just guessing.  If you know why, please feel free to leave a comment.

Rice & Peas is also made with peas, one in particular called “gungo.”  It gives it a different taste and it is not as red as when red kidney beans is used.  But I digress with that history lesson.

Rice and Peas from Tropical Diner
Rice and Peas from Tropical Diner
Rice and Peas from Cool Runnings
Rice and Peas from Cool Runnings

I got to Cool Runnings and decided to have some more cake from yesterday; got two slices this time :-).  

I then got some rice & peas with some brown stew chicken gravy.  Then I left and on my way home maybe about 8 minutes or less away I drove by Tropical Diner on S. Gessner, another Jamaican restaurant (they have since moved, see below for current location).  So of course I stopped in and had guess what? Rice & Peas.

The price is the same at both places $3.00 (2011 prices), but the similarities stops there. Taste wise, Cool Runnings is much better and richer as is denoted by its redder color.  The portion is much smaller than that of Tropical Diner though.  I’ve already finished eating the one from Cool Runnings to prove my point.

They are both good, but I highly recommend the one from Cool Runnings as it taste so much better.

Try to make this Jamaican Rice & Peas recipe for yourself.

Here are the details of the two places in question:

Tropical Diner West

3111 Fry Road
Katy, TX 77449
1 (281) 579-9060
facebook Community

Cool Runnings JamaicanBar & Grill
8270 West Bellfort Street
Houston, TX
1- (713) 777-1566

Ever visited either of these two places? What do you think?

1 comment

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  • Hi,
    I’m looking for a recipe to make my own rice & peas. I love em. Like your recipe, but don’t know how much is 1/2 pack beans. Can you tell me in cups please? I buy a BIG bag and store it.
    Thanks in advance – Linda

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