10 Must Try Foods of the Amazing Island of Jamaica
Updated: May 27
Jamaica Attractions, Jamaican Culture, Jamaican Foods, Jamaican Dishes
Jamaica has a rich cultural history and our foods are one of the attractions for visitors to our island. Known for its exotic and delicious cuisine, do you know that jerk chicken is the most popular dish in Jamaica which is loved by people around the world. Jamaica has also made popular beef patties and introduced the world to Ackee and Saltfish, the Jamaican national dish. Please view the attached video on the 10 Must Try Foods of Jamaica by scrolling down.
Jamaica a Feast for the Tastebuds
There's nothing like eating jerk fresh off flavorful pimento wood, or the taste of an ice cold Red Stripe on a hot summer's day. Jamaica is a feast for the tastebuds and at every corner of our island you'll find something to whet your appetite.
Jamaica’s cuisine is very unique, with meals and drinks influenced by immigrants from various places around the world such as India, Africa, and China. The nourishing foods of Jamaica has a rich flavorful punch like no other. This is due to the large variety of spices, herbs and flavors such as scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, and coconuts used in almost every dish.
Some Jamaican dishes are variations on cuisines brought to the island from elsewhere. These are often modified to incorporate local produce and spices. Others are novel or fusion and have developed locally. Popular Jamaican dishes include curry goat, fried dumplings, and ackee and saltfish. Jamaican patties along with various pastries, breads and beverages are also popular.
The Secret of Jerking
The richest Jamaican cultural history lesson is in the food Jamaicans eat. To conceal their whereabouts, the Maroons devised “jerking,” a method of spicing and cooking pork underground so that smoke would not be seen. Today, jerk pork, jerk chicken and jerk fish are everywhere. Jerk chicken and pork are typical Jamaican cuisine. Jerk is a style of cooking in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet-marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice (allspice and scotch bonnet peppers). This spice mixture can be applied to fish, shrimp, shellfish, beef, sausage, lamb or tofu.
To feed slaves cheaply in the 1700s, the breadfruit was brought from Africa, as were a variety of roots, vegetables and fruit. To preserve meat and fish, spices and pepper were added and unique seasonings, like our famous Pickapeppa sauce, were devised.
Cassava, a root tuber, was cultivated by the Tainos and is still used today to make "bammies", a flat toasted wafer eaten with fried fish. Another traditional bread, “festival” is frequently served with jerk or ackee and saltfish. Indian and Chinese influences have made curries and chow meins part of the national menu.
Mangoes and pineapples, papayas and bananas abound and Otaheite apples and soursop combine in desserts like “matrimony”, a fruit salad bound with condensed milk. Jamaica is also home to some of the most celebrated rums and exotic blends, including the award-winning Tia Maria coffee liqueur. Blue Mountain coffee, Jamaica’s own, is considered one of the finest in the world.
10 Must Try Jamaican Foods
Do you want to know which are “Must Try” Jamaican foods? Then watch the following video and let me know in the comment box, which you have tried and how it tasted.
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Jacqueline Cameron is an editor/writer with years of writing experience running the gamut from blogging to reporting. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica and is the chief writer for the Jamaica So Nice Blog. She is a trained engineer and musician and loves to see people transformed through her work.