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Get a Taste of Charleston’s First Rum Bar

Get a Taste of Charleston’s First Rum Bar
Pork griot from chef Paul Yellin of Cane Rhum Bar + Caribbean Kitchen. Photo by Jessica Spence.

Chef Paul Yellin wrote the book on cooking with rum—literally. Known as the Rhum Chef, the New York-born and Barbados-raised cook learned to incorporate rum and Caribbean flavors into his cuisine from his first cooking jobs on the island, and he used that know-how to write Infusion! Spirited Cooking in the Caribbean in 2004. Now, he’s bringing his Caribbean cooking style and love for rum to Charleston with his new restaurant, Cane Rhum Bar and Caribbean Kitchen.

Paul Yellin making the traditional Haitian dish pork griot and pikliz. Photo by Jessica Spence.

Cane is a restaurant more than ten years in the making. Originally Yellin set his sites on New York City and Washington, DC, as possible locations for his rum bar, but after moving to Charleston and learning about the history of rum and its strong ties to the Holy City, he knew he had found the perfect place for his venture.

“Like shrimp and grits, everyone has their take on pikliz,” Says Yellin. “It’s a dish that plays on your taste buds—it’s all over the place. It has sweet, spicy, sour, and salty.”

Yellin insists that Cane is a rum bar first—the team plans on serving eighty different rums—but the food will also play a major role. The menu features staples from around the Caribbean like two of Haiti’s most traditional dishes, pork griot and pikliz. Pork griot is made from pork shoulder that’s cut into cubes, marinated, braised, and then fried. The richness of the pork is tempered with the sweet and spicy pikliz made with cabbage, pineapple, mango, and spicy Scotch bonnet peppers.

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