In travel brochures Jamaica’s food culture usually takes a back seat to its gorgeous beaches, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth a visit all on its own. Jamaica is a culinary melting pot that draws its influences from all over the globe to create some of the most unique and delicious flavors on the planet.
Food in Jamaica
Jamaican food is a clear reflection of its colonial history, drawing from European, West African, Indian, East Asian, and local Caribbean influences. The fusion created by contact of all these cuisines is what combined to create the flavorful and often spicy dishes that call Jamaica home today.
Rice and Peas
Having rice with peas doesn’t really sound that exciting to the average tourist, which is why we want to make sure to recommend it! Jamaican “peas” are what’s usually just called beans on the continent. Jamaican Rice and Peas isn’t just a bland mess like the stuff that comes out of a bag in the states. Rather it’s a put-together dish with a coconut island twist and a touch of spicy scotch bonnet peppers.
Ackee and Saltfish
As our national dish, ackee and saltfish is a must-have for tourists. Originally hailing from West Africa, ackee is a fruit that has a mild approximately egg-like flavor, and needs to be properly ripened before harvest to ensure that it’s no longer poisonous. Ackee and saltfish usually combines the fruit with salted cod and vegetables to make a meal.
Jerk Chicken (If You Love Spice)
If that rice and peas put you in the mood for more spice it’s time to really dive in with some Jerk Chicken. Jerk Chicken is internationally famous for its burn, but it’s about more than just spiciness. Real jerk seasoning brings a rich flavor and complexity to the dish that might just redefine how you view chicken.
A lot of tourists from the western world don’t get the chance to try goat anymore. Curried goat is a great way to get a taste of the South Asian influence on Jamaican foods. Goat has a slightly gamier flavor than what tourists might be used to, and pairs well with the strong spices and scotch bonnet peppers that are typically used in the dish.
By Jamie Bradshaw
Jamie Bradshaw is a food writer at JCS Kitchen and makes it her mission to bring the love of delicious Jamaican cuisine to the world. You can find more of her work on the JCS Kitchen blog as well as on food blogs all over the Internet.
This post is brought to you by Jamie Bradshaw from JCS Kitchen, which ships Jamaican Country Style ingredients all over the United States. Since our main goal is, of course, to get everyone hooked on Jamaican Food, we want to invite you to take the trip, or try your hand at making these delicious dishes at home. You can find the recipes below: Please click the dish.