Best Jamaican Food: 40 Best Jamaican Dishes And Traditional Food In Jamaica To Try
We will write about best Jamaican food with the best 40 Jamaican dishes. Jamaican cuisine is not yet world famous, but one thing is for sure, the food in Jamaica is good! There are also some dishes that are authentic traditional food in Jamaica to try and drinks in Jamaica!
Jamaican cuisine has Spanish influences and African influences. You can have a budget of $20 USD a day and it can already get you more than enough decent meals in Jamaica. If we compare to other countries like Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua in Central America Jamaica can be more expensive.
WHERE TO STAY IN JAMAICA
There are dormitory rooms that you can rent the bed for as low as $20 USD a night if you want the cheapest option in Jamaica. Double-room hostels can cost up to $30-40 USD a night while mid-range hotels cost more or less $80 USD a night.
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Best Jamaican Food: Best Jamaican Dishes And Traditional Food In Jamaica To Try
Top Jamaican Dishes and Food In Jamaican Cuisine
1. Ackee and codfish / Ackee and Saltfish
Ackee and codfish / Ackee and Saltfish is considered as the national dish and for Jamaican food. The Ackee and Codfish / Saltfish is what’s considered as their national food. Perfect to be eaten during breakfast or brunch, ackee (a tropical plant) when cooked is best paired with the taste and texture of salt cod.
2. Jerk chicken/pork/fish
Jamaican jerk is a style of cooking that is very native to their country. Jamaican jerk is achieved by dry rubbing or wet marinating meat (most popularly chicken, but you can use pork or fish too), with a hot spicy Jamaican jerk spice. A traditional spicy jerk marinade sauce will have allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers.
Oxtail is a big part of Jamaican cuisine and recipes. Oxtail is the meat from the tail of a male cow, although nowadays, you can get oxtail from either a male or a female cow. The taste of oxtail is almost like beef, with a slightly better texture, and some say it’s even tastier.
In an authentic Jamaican oxtail recipe, the meat will be deeply marinated in a variety of Jamaican spices and braised down in a tasty very savory sauce. To make the oxtail meat soft, is is commonly pressure cooked in Jamaican recipes. This dish takes a lot of time and love to cook for sure!
4. Curry goat/mutton/chicken
Curry goat is a big part of Jamaican and Caribbean cuisine. Curry goat is a very delicious and rich stew, with goat meat and curry powder as its main ingredients. Goat meat needs to be stewed for hours to make sure that the meat reaches complete tenderness. Curry goat dish will also include potatoes, and a lot of aromatics and spices – a signature of Jamaican food.
5. Fish Escovitch
Fish escovitch is a Jamaican fish dish. Fish escovitch is made of crispy fried fish topped with spicy picked vegetables. Definitely one of the spicy Jamaican dishes! The picked sauce is mix of white onions, carrot strips, pimento berries (allspice), and Scotch bonnet pepper.
Red Smapper will be the most popular fish to be used in a Jamaican fish escovitch dish, but you can definitely use other types of fish like the sea bream.
6. Brown stew chicken
The brown stew chicken is a big Caribbean and Jamaican dish. The color of the stew comes from the special dark roux that also makes the taste indistinguishable from other stews. Brown stew chicken is deep flavored with spices and flavorings, and aromatics. Chicken is browned and braised and one of the main dishes served in the Jamaican culture.
7. Jamaican Run Down (run-dung)
Jamaican run down is another one of Jamaica’s traditional dishes. Jamaican Run Down or Run Dung is a fish dish (can be salmon, red snapper, salt mackerel), sautéed with aromatic seasonings, and cooked with coconut milk – which makes the unique taste of this dish.
8. Pepper Pot Soup
Jamaican healthy dish? Jamaican pepper pot soup if you’re looking for a vegetable dish. Some people will call it the green soup! Jamaican pepper pot soup includes a mix of salted pig tail, stewing beef, fresh callaloo (or kale), sinner dumplings, and Scotch bonnet pepper, and with more spices and aromatics. Jamaican pepper pot soup also includes coconut milk and shrimps.
9. Jamaican Fish Tea / Jamaican or Caribbean Fish Soup
The Jamaican Fish Tea (or Fish Soup) is known by this name because of the lightness of this dish. Jamaican Fish Tea is a delicious fish soup that has a thin fish broth, with very little solid food in its ingredients.
It is also believed in Jamaican culture (and in a lot of cultures for that matter), that tea is a remedy for every sickness, like when you have a flu or colds, so yeah, the fish tea is the go-to dish for these situations. The Jamaican fish tea is usually made with the doctor fish, although any type of fish can be used for the dish.
10. Jamaican Corn Soup
Jamaican corn soup is so delicious! Jamaican households definitely love their soups. The Jamaican corn soup recipe is inspired by the Rastafarian culture, known for their own corn soup. This soup is a mix of coconut milk, spices and aromatics, and of course corn.
11. Jamaican Red Peas Soup
Jamaican red peas soup is another traditional food in Jamaica. The Jamaican red peas soup is made of dumplings, beef, yams, sweet potatoes, and hot spices (scotch bonnets and pimento seeds), and of course the dry red peas or red kidney beans. For the base flavor of this soup, you can choose chicken foot (or back), pigtails or even turkey neck.
12. Rice and peas
Rice and peas is one of the most popular Jamaican dishes. Rice and peas has coconut, Caribbean herbs and spices. Usually served for dinners, and on Sundays when families are together.
The popular Jamaican Festival is a big part of the traditional Jamaican food. Jamaican Festival is fried dough that resembles cornmeal fritters, with a little sweeter taste to it, and can be enjoyed with jerk meats.
14. Fried plantain/plantain chips
Jamaicans are taught to eat fried plantains from a very early age. Fried plantains are often served as sides to most of the main dishes in Jamaica. They can be eaten with meat, or standalone snacks.
Callaloo is a vegetarian food in Jamaica. The callaloo is commonly cooked with onion, garlic, tomatoes, thyme and the Scotch bonnet pepper. It could be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Jamaican callaloo can be eaten raw or cooked, and a lot of Jamaicans actually prefer to have it raw.
The Jamaican bammy is grated bitter cassava. Bammy is delicious and popularly served with Vegan ackee, Jamaican callaloo, or steamed Jamaican cabbage, or even with jerk chicken. The cassava is ground up like flour, and is baked with coconut milk.
The breadfruit is a popular fruit that is a staple in the Jamaican cuisine. The breadfruits looks very similar to a jackfruit, with a round oval shape, and a green skin. The breadfruits tree only grows in places with a warm climate like the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands and South Asia. You’ll find the breadfruit in everywhere in Jamaica, most especially in the countryside.
18. Jamaican patties
Jamaican patties are popular in the Jamaican cuisine. Simple yet delicious. It’s made with yellow pastry dough filled with ground beef, seasoned with spices and aromatics. Jamaican patties is made from the turmeric powder, although it’s also acceptable to use curry or annatto to color and flavor the dough.
19. Stamp and Go
The Stamp and Go of Jamaican cuisine got it’s name as the go to fast food! The Stamp and Go is a common part of the Jamaican breakfast, a fish fritter made with salt fish. Saltcod can be prepared and served with a spicy dipping sauce.
20. Coco Bread
The Jamaican staple bread, Coco bread is very popular in Jamaican and other Caribbean countries. It’s made of flour and coconut milk, lightly sweetened. Can be eaten for breakfast or snacks, or just any time of the day you feel like having one!
21. Solomon Gundy
Solomon gundy is a Jamaican appetizer. Solomon gundy is the Jamaican pickled fish pâté (pickled with salt). The Solomon gundy is usually served with crackers. The smoked red herring is the popular fish used for the pâté, although you can use other fishes like the mackerel and the shad. Fish is minced and spiced with aromatics, chili peppers and more seasonings and spices.
22. Jamaican Porridge
Jamaican porridge is another favorite in the Jamaican household. The Jamaican porridge has different versions like the cornmeal porridge, hominy corn, green banana porridge, green plantain porridge, peanut porridge, and the requisite oats. Cornmeal would be the most popular version. The Jamaican cornmeal porridge is made with coconut and condensed milk, has added flavors of nutmeg, vanilla, bay leaf and brown sugar. Jamaican porridge is definitely a common breakfast food, and can be seen sold in the streets by vendors.
23. Jamaican Mannish Water
Mannish water is actually a goat soup in the Jamaican cuisine. Parts of the goat meat (goat’s head, intestines, testicles and feet) are seasoned with diverse herbs and spices, and is mixed with vegetables and other ingredients like yams, potatoes, bananas, and dumplings. The mannish water dish got its name from the popularity of men preparing the dish, and is believed to have some “special” benefits. Yes! Mannish water is believed to be an aphrodisiac.
More Jamaican Food: Jamaican Desserts and Snacks
24. Sweet potato pudding
One delicious sweet is the Jamaican sweet potato pudding. It is a favorite in Jamaican household, any time of the day. Jamaican sweet potato pudding is of course made of sweet potatoes, with dark sugar, and a lot more delicious spices, which include nutmeg, cinnamon, white rum, vanilla, coconut milk powder, allspice and more.
25. Gizzada (pinch-me-round) Tart / Coconut Tart
The Jamaican gizzada is another popular Jamaican treat! Gizzada is a coconut treat, with a buttery crust filled with a mixture of grated coconut, brown sugar, ginger, and of course, spices. The Jamaican gizzada treat actually has its Portuguese beginnings. The pinch-me-around popular term for it was derived from the gizzada’s pinched crust.
26. Coconut drops
Coconut drops is a Jamaican dessert traditional and very well loved! Coconut drops resembles the toffee, and the dessert is sweet, chewy and has a unique texture. It is very different as a dessert because this one doesn’t include milk, cream and such, and doesn’t even involve baking.
27. Banana bread
Jamaican banana bread has the more tropical taste to it than the regular banana bread recipe. It has a tangy lime glaze that balances out the sweetness of the banana bread. Ingredients include nuts, coconut, lime and rum. It also has cinnamon, nutmeg, and of course, the Jamaican essential spice – pimento, also known as allspice.
28. Jamaican Cornmeal Pone / Jamaican Cornmeal Pudding
Jamaican cornmeal pone is also known as the Jamaican cornmeal pudding. Jamaican cornmeal pone dessert is made with cornmeal, topped with coconut sauce.
Jamaican Toto is Caribbean’s coconut cake, simple and delicious coconut cake with the Jamaican spice. Jamaican Toto is served in a lot of family gatherings in Jamaica, and has its origins from olden Jamaican times when they worked in the plantations, and would mix coconut molasses with flour to make Toto.
30. Red Stripe beer / Red Stripe Jamaican Lager
The Red Stripe Beer would be considered as the most popular beer in Jamaica. The Red Stripe Beer is a pale amber lager, with flavors coming from Pilsen malt, hops, cassava starch and water.
31. Bob Marley cocktail
Ahh, Bob Marley and Jamaica, we almost knew this drink was coming. It has the signature Bob Marley colors – green, yellow, and red layered up, and is made up of combination of grenadine syrup, creme de menthe, and proof rum (Bacardi or DonQ).
32. Blue Mountain Coffee
Derived from its name itself, Blue Mountain Coffee is grown from the Blue Mountain District of Jamaica. Blue Mountain Coffee is a wet processed coffee (washed), has a well balanced, full bodied taste, and has some hints of sweetness (almost creamy taste), which sounds like a very unique and delicious coffee!
33. Jamaican Rum
Jamaican rum is a full bodied fermented rum. Jamaican rum is molasses fermented in large containers or casks (known as puncheons) and the fermentation is what actually gives it a very distinct unique taste.
34. Rum Punch
The Jamaican Rum Punch is considered the most popular, and party drink in Jamaica. It can be popular, but it is actually a strong drink. Made with one part sour, two parts sweet, three parts strong, and four parts weak served over ice.
35. Jamaican Sorrel / Jamaican Hibiscus Drink
Jamaican sorrel is a big Christmas holiday tradition in the country. Jamaican sorrel is a sweet, ginger-tasting, wine-hued drink. Sorrel is actually a Jamaican name for a Hibiscus flower known as Roselle. The combination of sorrel and seasonal spices of Jamaica is what actually makes the taste of Sorrel so unique.
The Ting is another popular and carbonated drink popular in Jamaican and in the Caribbean Islands in general. Ting is a flavored with Jamaican grapefruit juice (concentrate), and is tart and sweet tasting.
Jamaican Malta is one of the non alcoholic beverages in Jamaica. Jamaican Malta drink is lightly carbonated, and is brewed from barley, hops, and water.
38. Ginger beer
The Jamaican ginger beer is a great drink and popular during the holidays, however you can definitely have it any time of the year. Ginger beer is usually a non alcoholic beverage, however, the Jamaicans created a strong Ginger beer, spice infused and a really good one! It has an added rum to it.
39. Jamaican Dragon Stout
The Jamaican Stout is brewed by Big City Brewing, in Kingston, Jamaica. The Jamaican Stout is a strong foreign-style stout, and is exported a lot to the United States.
40. Jamaican Guinness Stout Punch
The Jamaican Guinness Stout Punch is known to be a drink that gives you “vigor”. The Jamaican Guinness Stout Punch is made with a combination of the Guinness stout, condensed milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and raw egg.
FOOD BUDGET TRAVEL IN JAMAICA
You can find local meals in Jamaica for around $3-4 USD per person. At lunch you might want a chicken sandwich for $5 USD salad, burger and pizza with a fresh fruit drink for $7-10 USD. You can have a budget of $15-20 USD a day and it can already get you more then enough decent meals in Jamaica.
Hope you liked our Jamaican food blog post. Let us know if we missed any food in Jamaica and which one is your favorite one in the list of Jamaican dishes.
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