16 May 2022

The Original Flava brothers on loving Chinese food, and their extravagant death row meals

The Original Flava brothers on loving Chinese food, and their extravagant death row meals

Craig and Shaun McAnuff – otherwise known as food sensation Original Flava, with 165k followers on Instagram – might be adults and successful cookbook authors, but they’re still brothers.

Whether it’s cracking up at the other one or quibbling their answers, their brotherly bond is clear to see.

This is what happened when they answered our quickfire food questions…

Your death row meal is…

Craig: I’ll do it true Original Flava style – balance. Buss up shut roti [flaky flatbread from Trinidad] with curried prawns on the side.

Shaun: Mine will be plantain and chickpea curry, curried goat, rice and peas, ramen. It’s my last meal, so rum cake, chicken, avocado salad on the side [at this point, Craig starts giggling at the sheer amount of food Shaun has planned]. I’ll have rum punch – a whole gallon of rum punch.

The one dish you can’t get right in the kitchen…

Craig: Maybe jollof rice – I cooked it once, and it didn’t really come out well.

Shaun: Because we’re not African, and it needs the African touch. You can try to make alright, but it’s never quite all that.

Craig: Shaun’s better than me, because his missus is Ghanaian.

Your favourite store cupboard essential is…

Shaun: Red kidney beans. You can make red pea soup, rice and peas, a bean curry – you can make a burger.

Craig: Either ginger paste or garlic.

The kitchen utensil you can’t live without is…

Craig: I’d say the grater that allows you to grate in ginger or garlic [a microplane].

Your favourite late-night snack is…

Craig: A bit of Chinese.

Shaun: That’s not really a snack! I snack on peanuts.

The ultimate childhood dinner you always remember is…

Craig: Macaroni and cheese and ribs. What did you use to like Shaun? You were quite picky.

Shaun: I used to give my food to Craig. But Sunday dinner, probably – the full works: jerk chicken, rice on a Sunday. We used to go to our nan’s after church and have that.

What did you eat last night?

Craig: Last night I had some leftover lentils that I made, leftover Trini dhal.

Shaun: Something from Deliveroo – I had some mushrooms, hummus and pita bread.

Your takeout of choice tends to be…

Craig: Probably Hap Lee, it’s Chinese in Norbury [south London] – it’s the best Chinese ever, it’s fresh and it’s tasted the same for about 25 years. Exactly the same, it’s never inconsistent.

Shaun: Every Friday we used to have Chinese, without fail, so it’s got to be Chinese.

Your go-to hangover cure is…

Craig: Lucozade Original.

Shaun: Fresh orange juice.

Your signature dish is…

Craig: Probably pasta at the moment – an olive and pancetta pasta.

Shaun: My plantain and chickpea curry.

Natural Flava: Quick And Easy Plant-Based Caribbean Recipes by Craig and Shaun McAnuff is published by Bloomsbury, priced £22. Photography by Matt Russell. Available now.

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