Jamaica is known as “the land of wood and water”. But Jamaican is known for another amazing thing beside our beaches and music, and that’s food. Jamaican food are some of the most delicious food that you’ll ever taste. I should know as I’ve grown up on it (I’m being a little bias here).
Jamaica has a wide variety of food ranging from soups, stews and seafood. Being well known for our fish, seafood is a huge part of an average Jamaican diet. The next time that you visit Jamaica or if you’re planing a trip here, why don’t you try some or ALL of the food on this list. Some you’ll definitely love more than the others. While some initial look may scare you a little.
But thing is for sure, you’re bound to fall in love at least one of these on the list. Here are 10 delicious food that you should try the next time you visit Jamaica:
- Jerk– Starting the list is one of Jamaica most well known food called Jerk. Jerk is a style of cooking that involves marinating the meat in a dry or wet rub with a variety of spices including the famous scotch bonnet pepper. The meat is then marinated for a few hours and prepare in a pit fire with charcoal done in barrel that we’ve called a “Jerk Pan”. You’ll find jerk pans out all over the island with individuals preparing a variety of Jerk food including the popular jerk chicken and pork. Always remember to choose your vendors carefully out of hygiene concern.
2. Festivals– This delicious doughy food is a staple here. Festival is a slightly sweet fried dough made with flour, cornmeal, water/ milk/ coconut milk, sugar, salt, baking powder and it’s fried in oil until golden brown. I recommend trying it at least once even if you’re a low carb eater like me (haven’t eaten it in years).
3. Oxtail– This mouth watering stew is a popular dinner. Oxtail is a stew made from the tail of an ox that’s seasoned with spices, Jamaican browning and simmered into a stew with veggies. This goes great with rice and peas (otherwise known as beans and coconut rice) which another traditional meal. Which brings us to the next food on the list.
4. Rice and Peas- This is the number one side dish in Jamaica. Rice and peas, otherwise referred to as “beans and coconut rice” by foreigners is a popular side dish with many, if not most of our favourite food. Anything from oxtail, stew or curried chicken, jerk or fish, rice and peas is a versatile side dish. Since I’ve removed rice from my diet, I’ve made a variant replacing the rice with “riced” cauliflower which is a delicious low carb choice for anyone making it at home.
5. Escovitch fish– If you love fish and seafood, PLEASE don’t leave without trying our traditional escovitch fish. This fish, usually made from red snapper but other fish has and can be used. It’s prepared by washing the fish, pat it dry with paper towel and seasoning it in a dry rub then fried in oil. The fish is then covered with a vinegar based dressing made with veggies, peppers, oil, pimento and of course vinegar. It’s one of my favourite dishes just like my Jamaican brown stew fish.
6. Roast Breadfruit– Jamaica is filled with breadfruit trees all over the island. It’s origin began in the South Pacific. Since it made it’s way to our shores, it has become a classic part of our home cooked meals.
The breadfruit is prepared by removing the stem and making an incision in the center on both side. It’s then roasted over wood fire, on the stove top or in an oven. Once it’s done, peel, slice and enjoy it with other classic dishes such as ackee and saltfish. The breadfruit can also be fried like chips or french fries after it’s roasted. Breadfruit has also been used in soups such as our red peas soup.
7. Ackee and Saltfish– The national dish of Jamaica, ackee is a fruit grown here. It’s origin comes from West Africa but it’s prominently used in Jamaican cooking. I’ve heard foreigner saying that it resembles brains which is why some are afraid to try it. Please don’t let this put you off, it’s nothing like brains. The ackee when ripen, is prepared by being boiled then cooked further with peppers, veggies, spices and most importantly saltfish or “salted codfish”. It’s been our national dish for decades, constantly being passed down from generation to generation.
8. Jamaican patties– These scrumptious, meat filled pastries are sold island wide. They began as a quick portable filling meal during colonial times. It has since become a favourite, joining the ranks of classic meals here in Jamaica. You can find them in popular chains such as Tastee’s, Mother’s and Juicy beef. Trust me when I say each has earned their name. You’ll also find patties in schools all over the island.