A Taste of Jamaica

Travel Team
By Travel Team 3 Min Read

Jamaica is an island best explored through the tastebuds. Its national cuisine is distinctive, and a fierce source of pride for islanders. 

Island staples include rice and peas, hot, flaky patties filled with seafood, meat, or vegetables, and of course, the iconic jerk chicken and pork. The latter is best experienced in the homeland of Jerk, (Boston, Portland) while fall-off-the-bone oxtail is another classic. 

Meat is ubiquitous, and often spicy, and there is a natural predilection for fresh seafood, especially saltfish, peppered shrimp, and land crab served with peppers. Jamaican seafood is best experienced served straight on the beach, in destinations such as Negril on the island’s west coast. Vegetarians are best catered for in Ital restaurants, where an entirely meat-free menu is served.  

Start your day by imbibing world-renowned Jamaican coffee fresh from the Blue Mountains, alongside a traditional breakfast of ackee and saltfish. When evening falls, quench your thirst with a refreshingly cool sip of the iconic Red Stripe beer, or even better, local rum. Jamaicans consume four times more rum than beer, and liquor produced from the island’s Appleton Estate is typically considered a firm favourite. Meanwhile, satisfy your sweet tooth with tropical coconut sweets or peanut candies that can be found for sale right on the street.

Food in Jamaica is a fantastic gateway into the island’s culture and history. Interestingly, many key local ingredients, including sugar cane, bananas, plantains, mangoes, breadfruit, ackees, bamboo, and coconut palms, are not native to the island, having been imported by the Tainos, Spanish, Africans, Indians and British.  

Regardless of preference, you can guarantee that there is an eatery to suit your needs, from fine dining restaurants to laid-back brasseries or cosy corner cookshops. If travelling on long journeys, be sure to stop and frequent a host of roadside vendors, taking pause for cups of pepperpot soup or fish tea, and plenty of peanuts and cashews. 

Whatever you try, flavour abounds, and with such a varied and eclectic gastronomy, Jamaica’s culinary scene is sure to delight, leaving you with a bellyful, but still hungry for more. 

Read Issue 15 of Outlook Travel Magazine