Known for its rich flavours and range of spices, Caribbean cuisine is a staple to Caribbean culture. While most Caribbean islands have their own dishes, they all have many similar foods with slight variations. Jamaican cuisine is globally recognised and is often popular among wider cultures. Although you can eat food from Jamaica around the world, there is nothing like dining in its motherland!
Ackee & Saltfish
This is the national dish of Jamaica and is made from ackee fruit cooked with salted codfish. When cooked, ackee has a similar look to scrambled eggs. It is mostly served as a breakfast dish and often paired with callaloo, fried breadfruit or fried plantain – a sweet, banana like fruit that is usually fried or boiled. Ackee and saltfish has an acquired taste and can sometimes take some getting used to.
Jerk chicken is one of the most well-known Jamaican dishes around the world, it was originally invented by the Jamaican Maroons. You will also find that jerk pork is a popular dish around the island too. Jerk is mostly paired with rice and peas – a side dish often made with red kidney beans and rice, cooked with a range of spices and coconut milk. The sweet aroma of jerk will follow you anywhere you go in Jamaica. From jerk stores lining the streets to the authentic jerk huts on the beaches, you certainly can’t miss it!
Curry goat is an island favourite, this dish consists of highly seasoned, tender slow-cooked goat and is mostly served with white rice and Caribbean style coleslaw or in a roti wrap. You can find this staple dish at most restaurants in Jamaica, however Sugar Mill restaurant at the Half Moon resort is a notable spot to get a great homemade style meal. For an affordable taste of Jamaica in the UK, check out Rum Kitchen or Cottons Rum Shack – both based in London. If you’re looking for a more elegant way to enjoy your curry, then look no further than Ayanna’s, tucked away in the financial district of Canary Wharf.
If you’re at a beachfront restaurant, one item that’s sure to be on the menu is escovitch fried fish. Fried fish is normally seasoned with rich spices such as thyme, all-purpose seasoning, pimento seeds, pepper, garlic and onion, then pan fried and topped with escovitch – a vinegar-based pepper sauce. It is often made using sea beam or red snapper. Escovitch is mostly served with hard dough bread – a thick, sweet bread – fried plantain and fried festival.
These delicious snacks are made with a seasoned handmade pastry filled with various savoury fillings such as: ackee and saltfish, shredded chicken, beef or mixed vegetables. The pastry is then folded in half to form a semicircle and glazed with an egg and turmeric mixture to give it its yellow colouring. Patties are often served inside coco bread – a thick, sweet bread made with coconut milk, flour, yeast and sugar. Throughout the Caribbean you will find that patties are the most popular street food and there are many places to grab one. However, the most famous spots are Juici Patties, Tastee Patties and Mother’s which are dotted all across the island!
Jamaica is famed for its unique, traditional savoury dishes, but the sweet treats and desserts are also a force to be reckoned with! From mouth-watering cakes such as black fruit cake, sweet potato pudding, cornmeal pudding and ginger cake, to sweet on-the-go snacks like coconut drops and gizzada, Jamaica is full of treats to put a smile on your face – after all, food is the way to our hearts, right?! Most of those listed above are best homemade, however there are many great restaurants across this beautiful island where you can find all of these amazing desserts.
If all this food has your stomach growling, why not get a taste of Jamaica for yourself? Head over to dealchecker.co.uk and start searching for your Caribbean getaway!