What comes to your mind when you think of Jamaica? Of course, it’s the beautiful white sand beaches, the turquoise sea or sweet reggae music! However, the country’s rich Rastafarian culture offers you much, much more. The island is also known for presenting the world with some delicious Jamaican cuisine. Read this article to find out about some of the best Jamaican food that you must try!
The Best Jamaican Cuisine
Jerk, not an insult but, a popular dish in Jamaica and worldwide. The word ‘jerk’ refers to the way it is being cooked that’s popular in Jamaica. It’s the traditional Jamaican method of preparing meats. It starts with a blend of spices, called the Jamaican jerk spice rubbed into the meat or soaked in a sauce. The meat is slow-cooked on an open grill, where the smoke gives it a delicious flavour.
Ackee and codfish
Ackee and codfish, or more famously known as Ackee and saltfish, is the national dish of Jamaica. This unique dish is made with ripe Ackee fruit, grown in abundance in Jamaica. It has a creamy texture and a mild taste. On the other hand, the saltfish in this is island staple gives a salty, tangy taste and served as a side with sautéed with vegetables and other herbs and spices.
Discover the spicy flavours of the Caribbean with authentic curried meats. This delicious one-pot melt-in-your-mouth dish is very popular in Jamaican cuisine—especially chicken and mutton. The meat, prepared with ingredients like garlic, onion, ginger, fiery Habanero chile powder and herbs. This Jamaican food can be found in almost all local restaurants in Jamaica.
Jamaican Red Peas Soup
Jamaica Red Peas Soup has a very bold and distinctive flavour. Cooked with a blend of beef, pigs’ tail, red kidney beans, pumpkin, dasheen, pimento seeds, and other ingredients and best served hot.
Run Down (run-dun)
The Jamaican Run-Down, is a creamy fish stew and is one of the best in Jamaican cuisine. The stew, cooked with pieces of fish, garlic, onions, tomatoes, hot peppers, spices slow-cooked in coconut milk until it’s reduced down to a thick sauce. The fish stew is served with dumplings, perfectly boiled green bananas or breadfruit.
This is a side dish and served with jerk meat or fried fish. Just like its name, it’s bound to be a ‘festival’ in your mouth! ‘Festival’ is a fried dumpling, but more like a hybridise of a fried dumpling and roti. What makes the Jamaican festival unique is the cornmeal and the proportion used. Made with a combination of cornmeal, sugar, flour, spices, and milk. Prepared into a cylindrical shape, and deep-fried until golden brown.
Fried plantain/plantain chips
Fried plantain is a popular Jamaican cuisine, which can be very addictive. That is only because it’s so good! You can find these golden, crunchy plantain chips all most anywhere on the island. This dish is made by frying slices of ripe plantain. These taste great with any dish, particularly, Ackee and saltfish.
Sweet potato pudding
This dessert dish is something you must try while in Jamaica. This pudding comprises authentic homemade flavour and tantalizing texture. This Sweet potato pudding is either steamed or baked with finely grated sweet potato, brown sugar, coconut, raisins, vanilla, cinnamon, plus other spices.
Gizzada is a mouth-watering, ooey-gooey tart, bursting with flavour. Crimpled with pinch marks along the edges to make it look extra pretty. Stuffed with coconut, sugar, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla.
There’s plenty of sweet treats to go around in Jamaica, and Banana bread is at the top of the list. Banana bread is a popular Jamaican cuisine. It is prepared with ripe bananas, and spices including nutmeg, ginger plus cinnamon. Sometimes coconut, lime and rum are added to traditional banana bread.
BONUS - The best drinks in Jamaica
Since you know what to eat on your trip to Jamaica, I thought I’ll share some of the best drinks you can enjoy. Jamaica is a proud producer of some of the best drinks in the world. Here’s a list of the best drinks in Jamaica you need to try.
Sour sup juice
Blue Mountain Coffee
Jamaican Rum creme
Red stripe beer
The Bob Marley
The dirty banana
The Jamaican Bobsled
The pretty lady
The Jamaican Negroni