Jamaica is a popular tourist destination offering beautiful attractions and state-of-the-art hotels. From the beaches that surround it to the waterfalls of Ocho Rios to several restaurants with a wide variety of Caribbean cuisine, a visit to the island is like a trip to paradise. Restaurants in Jamaica offer sumptuous island menus you will never find anywhere.
Jamaican cuisine entails a blend of cooking techniques, flavors, spices and influences from the indigenous people, the British, Spanish, Indians, Africans, and Chinese who have inhabited the island. One of the most popular dishes you can enjoy during your visit is the Jamaican jerk chicken whose aroma will make you salivate and taste melt in your mouth. It is prepared from the Jamaican jerk chicken recipe. This recipe for sure is a tricky one, requiring certain skills which only Jamaican chefs understand better. The following are additional must-taste traditional Jamaican foods for any visitor to the country;
1) Ackee and Saltfish
Ackee and saltfish are one of the staple diets in the country. The saltfish is soaked overnight to remove most of the salt then added into a mixture of boiled ackee, fat, onions, tomatoes and other spices. It can be garnished with bacon and tomatoes and is usually served as breakfast or dinner alongside fried plantain, hard dough bread, breadfruit, dumplings, or boiled green bananas. Ackee and saltfish can also be taken with rice and peas or plain white rice. When seasonings (garlic, onion as well as thyme) and saltfish are combined with plain rice, it is always called ‘seasoned rice.’ This is an inexpensive meal that is usually served in most hotels on Fridays for dinner.
2) Jamaican Curried Goat
Curried goat has become very popular in Indo-Caribbean cuisine. In Jamaica, it is a very particular dish often prepared for parties and celebrations where a local expert is normally brought in to cook it. Flavored with a variety of spices typical of Indo-Jamaican cooking, most Jamaican restaurants always serve it with rice and other side dishes like fried plantain. There are many variations on the recipe including using mutton in place of goat meat. Served in many hotels across the country for a reasonable price, Jamaican curried goat is an elegant dish you can’t afford to return home from your Jamaica tour without having tasted it.
Callaloo is a plant which is a cousin of spinach and collard green. Its leaves and shoot are used as a vegetable, and it is usually an excellent accompaniment for codfish as well as pickled mackerel. As a very popular dish in Jamaica, most hotels in the country serve it with seafood or boiled green bananas.
4) Jamaican Cornmeal Pudding
Jamaican cornmeal pudding is an old favorite not only with Jamaicans but also many tourists who visit Jamaica. Interestingly, it has been cooked and eaten from long before the emergence of modern ovens and stoves. As one of the dishes that are easy to make, it barely misses in Jamaican restaurant menus. People consume it hot or cold, and it is considered a dessert as well as a snack that is topped with cream, ice cream or coconut cream.
5) Jamaican Patties
Jamaican patties are another of Jamaica’s scrumptious staple dishes. They are made of ground beef, normally spiced with allspice, onions, thyme as well as the heat of Scotch Bonnet peppers, and then wrapped in a flaky pastry crust with a distinctive yellow-orange color, which comes from different sources such as food coloring, annatto seed, or turmeric. Jamaican patties are some of the most popular snacks in the country, comparable to the popularity of tacos and hot dogs in American. And in as much as beef patties are the most popular, you will also find cheese, chicken, vegetable, lobster, fish, shrimp, tofu and even ackee patties. They can be fried or baked.
Apart from the Jamaican jerk chicken recipe, there are many other difficult recipes indigenous to Jamaica. And since it is only the Jamaican chefs who understand them better, if you are a fan of Jamaican foods, the best thing you can do for yourself is to visit the country to experience the real taste of these dishes. Although there are many hotels across the globe claiming to offer dishes that are indigenous to Jamaica, those dishes are usually not genuine.