Top 10 Foods in Jamaica
2 years ago
If you are in for a limited time in Jamaica, then it will become an intimidating task for you to taste as much traditional Jamaican food as you can. Jamaica has a mixture of immigrants, slaves, labor, and colonizers including people from India, Africa, England, Spain, the Chinese, and Britain. The first immigrants of Jamaican islands were Taino, who hailed from South America. These people live peacefully on islands for a long time till the Spanish came and kill them in order to capture the area. At present, there are only some Jamaicans who are Taino.
Foods in Jamaica is uniquely a mixture of meals from the different parts of the world like India, China, or Africa. When people came from different parts of the world, they carry their unique food styles and spices. Jamaican food is rich in nutrition and has a large variety of spices, flavors, herbs, and peppers. In Jamaica, coconut is used in almost every dish. Jamaicans love to marinate their meats.
In Jamaican food, the main contribution is of African culinary, as more than 600000 Africans call Jamaica, its home. Seasoning and spices of Jamaican food undoubtedly can change the critics into admirers. You can also feel the same experience if you will be able to find that particular dish of Jamaica that can connect your tongue with your soul.
Jamaica is not short of delicious options but if you are not aware of their local names you will not be able to find the national dishes of Jamaica. Another main problem is you can find authentic Jamaican dishes in almost all the restaurants and street outlets and everyone claims that the dish which they made is the best and authentic. So, you have to find your own way to get the best Jamaican dish.
Here is the list of some top foods of Jamaica, have a look and experience the rich taste and flavor of Jamaica with us. At the end of the list of top 10 foods in Jamaica, we will give you a bonus in the form of the top 5 drinks of Jamaica.
Top 10 foods of Jamaica are
This is an iconic dish and is served in almost all parts of Jamaica. Curry has come into the country with Indian immigrants. Indians came into Jamaica to work in sugar plantations. The curry soon becomes a permanent part of Jamaican food. If you never had goat before, then it is the best dish to start with. The love for curry is so high that with goat curry, you can now find chicken curry and mutton curry also in many restaurants.
Goat curry in Jamaica is an ultimate blend of India and Jamaica, goat pieces are cut into small sizes and mix with herbs, spices, and curry powder. In past, the dish was made only on special occasions but now in local restaurants, it is available all the time. The tasty Jamaican food is generally served with rice, roti, or cabbage carrot slaw.
Yes, we know what you will be thinking, but it tastes much better than you think. In the past tail of ox as the meat was considered just scrap, and was only good for the poor families to have this type of meat in their diet. Once the upper class of society realizes that oxtail has such great taste, it becomes a delicacy in almost all the world.
It is a favorite of locals and can be made in a variety of ways. It can be made into a stew or can be cooked with sauce. Oxtails are filled with cartilage and are tough, so to make a tender dish out of it, the main thing required is slow cooking and patience. It is served with rice or peas or with vegetables. To enhance it taste further it is finished with beans, black pepper, tomatoes, and spices. Jamaican oxtail is a hearty dish and the flavors of Jamaican culinary dishes really shine in it.
Escovitch is also known as “escabeche” in many parts is a famous Jamaican dish in the whole world. Kingfish or Snapper is used in this, it is marinated with salt and black pepper on the outside and in all cavities. The dish is usually liked at Easter, or on Good Friday but it can be available all year round. This dish is originally from Spain and Spanish Jewish introduced it to Jamaicans. The marinated fish is usually kept overnight to enhance the flavors. Then fish is fried from both sides, peppers, slices of onions, and pimento seeds are then cooked and vinegar is added to this mixture and poured over the fried fish. This dish of Jamaica is a must on festivals and special occasions, also many restaurants provide them for your lunch and dinner. The escovitch fish, made at home is usually eaten the next day to give the spices proper time to blend in the fish.
Traditional Jamaican food is easily available on all street food outlets on this island. From street vendors to luxury restaurants, this marinated chicken loved by all and got its name from the way this spicy chicken is cooked is called jerk cooking. If you like non-veg dishes, then you must try on this dish. It is made with jerk spices made from mixing cloves, ginger, cinnamon, thyme, garlic, pepper, and nutmeg. It’s a delicious snack that can be used with drinks, or when you are relaxing on a beach, and even better if you take some refreshing Jamaican drinks with jerk chicken.
Chicken is seasoned with a paste of spices and made slowly on a smoked wood fire. Smoky chicken pieces are served with rice and peas, steamed cabbage. Jerk chicken is so liked in Jamaica that now locals have introduced it. Some new varieties of Jerk meat here like jerk beef, jerk goat, jerk beef, and jerk fish.
Ackee and Saltfish
It is a breakfast dish of Jamaica and also known as Jamaica’s national dish. This dish is made with two different treats, one is ackee which is a Jamaican fruit and introduced to Jamaicans by Ghana in the 18th century. Ackee is one of the favorite fruits, Saltfish is cooked with onions, spices, and tomatoes. Ackee and saltfish dish is served with green bananas, cakes, breadfruit, and dumplings. Kindly Note (if you eat ackee prematurely (before ripe) it can kill the person in 24 hours as it releases a toxic gas in the body) but don’t worry if you are eating this fruit in Jamaica, Jamaicans know what they have to do with their fruits and vegetables. We can keep our faith in Jamaicans because even after eating this dish, Jamaicans are still alive, right!
To make this dish, ackee are deseeded, cleaned, and boiled. After mixing ackee with seasonings, it is mixed with boiled saltfish. This dish of Jamaica is served with boiled or fried dumplings, yams, breadfruit, and plantain.
This snack tastes so good that after trying it once you are sure to wander the whole town for more. Coconut drops are made from only three ingredients ginger, coconut, and sugar. If you are visiting Jamaica, then consider your trip incomplete if you had not tasted coconut drops at least once. This snack dish of Jamaica is a favorite of both adults and kids in the whole of Jamaica. Coconut is cut into tiny pieces and is combined with ginger, sugar, and water, boiled together. When the mixture got sticky, it is made into small mounds and dropped into grease paper, and allowed to cool before eating.
This dish of Jamaica is also referred to as run dun, rondon, fling-mi-for, riling-mi-far. In Jamaican cuisine, run down is a stew dish. This dish is quite popular among locals and even in Latin American countries. This fish stew sure has an unusual name, however, this dish is made with cod or mackerel and cooked with tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Rundown is so popular in Jamaica that this dish is missed by Jamaicans who are living abroad. The main reason behind this name run down is that when this fish is cooked it falls apart from the bones.
Stew is made in coconut milk by slow cooking, and is served with green bananas, and boiled dumplings. When the stew is thick and fish starts falling apart then it is time to taste this wonderful dish of Jamaica.
The Jamaican patty is basically a pastry with a yellow shell, filled with different types of fillings like fish, cheese, chicken, vegetables, beef, and many more. This dish of Jamaica is more like a snack, not a full meal. The Jamaican patty is full of flavors but you should limit yourself to a small amount of it, as it’s very high in calories. Its yellow color is because of turmeric or curry which also provides it an orange tint. Patties are usually baked and can be eaten solo or with coco bread.
Coco bread is a little sweet and with the usual ingredients in making bread in coco, some sugar and coconut milk is also added. When the bread is prepared, it is cut and folded giving it a perfect choice for sandwiches. Anything can be filled in these bread, like fried fish or Jamaican patties. There are special patties shops in the country which sell only Jamaican patties.
Bammy is a flatbread, round in shape, and made from cassava. It can be made fried, steamed, or baked. Bammy bread is very similar to yuca bread with the major difference that bammies are thicker, and yuca bread also has salt in it. Bammy bread is sometimes soaked in coconut milk before frying. It can be eaten as a breakfast food or can also serve with sugar syrup as a sweet dish. Locals use this bread as filler with most fish dishes and other meals like beef or cheese.
Traditional soup of Jamaica but provides extensive taste and many foreigners find it very hard to believe that a small island country Jamaica can have so many varieties of soups that also taste very good. This soup is very spicy because it is made with bonnet peppers. To give it a great taste, this soup can be cooked with salt beef broth.
Now, is the part where we will fulfill our promise to you and provide you with insight on the top 5 drinks of Jamaica.
Red Stripe Beer
Everyone who visits Jamaica had at least tasted this drink once. It is a local favorite and is easily available in the outside world also. It is light and easily goes with meals, also your best friends on beaches. Red stripe is available in different flavors and in light and bold versions.
Bob Marley Cocktail
With Rastafarian colors green, yellow, and red this cocktail stands out, it has many frozen layers which included mango and strawberry. This drink is easily available in almost all bars in Jamaica.
Blue Mountain Coffee
One of the best coffee brands in the world, blue mountain coffee is a reputed and costly brand. This is mainly because of the limited space of the cultivation on the blue mountain and the most important thing is the taste, this coffee is not bitter, and many versions of coffee are available in Jamaica. A well-known fact is more than 75% of blue mountain coffee is exported to Japan which shows how much it is liked in the world.
There are many great rums on this Caribbean Island, some of them are Appleton estate rum, smith & cross rum, nephew white overproof rum. There are many other good rums available in Jamaica but you will definitely hear about the rums we mentioned here as they are some of the best rums available in Jamaica.
Sorrel is the must-have drink in holidays and locals also share the same with their friends and relatives. Sorrel demand increases drastically in holidays and this drink is prepared from the hibiscus plant. Sorrel is sweet with a hint of spice because of the ingredients like ginger, cinnamon, and allspice. Leaves of hibiscus are boiled and are mixed with water or rum. Locals also believe that sorrel has health benefits like controlling cholesterol, and maintaining blood pressure.
We had finally come to the end of our journey with Jamaican food and drinks. We hope you get an insight into the delicious dishes in Jamaica. We are sure that after visiting this Caribbean island, you will have a story of your own to tell.