Jamaican food: interesting facts
The cuisine of Jamaica is a special part of the Jamaican food culture, which undoubtedly will be appreciated by food lovers. National Jamaican cuisine has a lot of culinary traditions of other countries: Spain, England, India and China. African cuisine also has a strong influence on it.
Essential ingredients: vegetables (manioc, breadfruit, peppers and others), meat (poultry, goat, pork), fish and seafood (cod, mackerel, shrimp), fruits (bananas, coconuts, pineapples) and fruits, which are unknown for us: ackee, guineps, sweetsops, paw-paws, star apple.
For the preparation of dishes Jamaicans actively use seasonings: curry, Jamaican pepper, small hot pepper “Scotch bonnet”, cardamom, thyme, ginger, nutmeg, garlic, callaloo (used for soups, vegetable stews). All seasonings are used not only separately, but also together. They are included in the famous Jamaican sauce “Pickapeppa Sauсe”. The sauce recipe is kept secret.
Fried eggs and bacon, toast and a local fruit ackee with marinated fish are usually served for breakfast. Stewed chicken with rice, fried and baked bananas, beef with rice “Picadillo”, roasted goat with beans as well as traditional seafood are very popular in Jamaica. Fruits, patties with various fillings and sandwiches are used as a light snack.
Fruits are served here almost with any meal. A large number of dishes are prepared with the use of fruits. There are original fruit salads and cocktails, fried pineapples and bananas in sauce, freshly prepared fruit juices, etc.
The food prices in Jamaica are generally moderate. Lunch or dinner for two at a restaurant of a middle level will cost about 4000-5000 Jamaican dollars. You can also eat in an inexpensive snack bar for 500-700 JMD. A patty with meat costs 80-100 JMD. In restaurants of international fast food chains prices are quite high.
What about drinks? You can enjoy coconut juice, malta – a sweet beverage with honey taste, sky juice – a soft drink made from fruit syrup with the addition of ice. Jamaicans also drink ordinary beverages, such as tea, coffee and cocoa.
Coffee liqueur cocktails, beer and rum made from cane sugar (the most popular is “Captain Morgan”) are in great demand among alcoholic drinks. Beer here is prepared with the addition of ginger. The wines on the island are inexpensive and are imported from Spain, Argentina, and Chile.
Traditional Jamaican food. What you have to try?
Jamaican-Spiced Chicken. Jamaicans use a lot of spices. It’s worth trying Jamaican sauce, and you’ll realize that you have never eaten such a spicy dish. A mixture of spices from herbs, growing on the island, for example, yellow chili pepper, sweet pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg are added to the meat. Traditionally, the dish is served with bread.
Ackee and salted fish. A traditional breakfast in Jamaica may seem tasteless at first, but after you try it several times, it will not be possible to stop enjoying this dish. It consists of cod and ackee (a tropical fruit). Ackee is not an ordinary fruit. It has an unpleasant taste, but it goes well with a salted cod, which is cooked with onion and pepper. This is a healthy breakfast, which is reminiscent of the Caribbean version of the omelet.
Jamaican patty. They are often sold in grocery stores. The traditional patty has a pungent taste with a meat filling, like a pancake with meat or samsa. You can buy even a vegetarian patty. It smells just delicious.
Jamaican Escovitch Fish. It is found in abundance in the waters of Jamaica. It does not matter if you have caught a snapper, sunfish or sea bass, you need to prepare them in a special way. Marinade includes vinegar, onions and special spices that emphasize the taste.
Goat Curry. The dish came to Jamaican cuisine from India and immediately became very popular with locals and visitors in the Caribbean. It is not so spicy. It is marinated in lemon juice with seasonings, fried in olive oil and served, as a rule, with rice.
Bananas. Hot bananas are very good as a garnish to the spicy Jamaican dishes. They are often fried and smeared with oil, salt and pepper. It tastes like sweet potato. They are often sold as snacks due to their sweet taste.
Gizzada. Tourists love this dish so much. It’s a basket-tartlet stuffed with butter, coconut, nougat and ginger. It is crispy and sweet with a soft and delicate aroma.
Fresh fruits. If you have not tried Jamaican fruit, consider that you have not tried Jamaican cuisine at all. You have a chance to try exotic fruits and pick them off the tree. Try fresh papaya, anona, kaimit or mamoncillo. Even the familiar fruits are tastier in Jamaica. If you are not a special lover of fruits, you cannot resist the temptation to try these sweets.
Callaloo soup. Callaloo plant resembles spinach. It is rather easy to prepare such soup. It is rich, useful for digestion and very tasty. Callaloo soup can be found in all Jamaica resorts.
Rice and beans. In the list of national dishes in Jamaica, this dish takes a significant place. Red beans are cooked in coconut milk, which gives them a soft creamy taste. Coconut milk is a perfect drink for beans and rice. This dish is an excellent choice for vegetarians.
Blue Mountain coffee. It is one of the highest growing varieties of coffee in the world. Coffee plantations are located at an altitude of about 1200 meters above sea level. As it is a very rare coffee, it is very expensive and is considered a masterpiece of classic coffee. It has a subtle and delicate taste.
If you are planning to spend your holiday in Jamaica, try all of these dishes. It will be an unforgettable experience! Only then will you embrace the true spirit of Jamaica.