10 Local Dishes and Drinks to Try in Jamaica
Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meat is dry-rubbed or marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. The blend of herbs, spices and pimento leaves, invented by Jamaican Maroons, has made Jerk chicken the most famous Jamaican dish.
Fried breadfruit is Jamaica’s most satisfying starchy addition to nearly any meal, especially our national dish ackee and saltfish.
Jamaican Red Peas Soup
Red peas soup is a staple sold all over the island. It uses mostly the same ingredients as other soups with the exception of red kidney beans, which give the dish its unique flavour and colour. Some cooks swear that red peas soup could never be complete without a small addition of pigtails, but others insist it is just as tasty without with beef.
Jamaica Rum Punch is a favorite among many Jamaicans and tourist. This alcoholic drink is typically made with Jamaican strawberry syrup and another favourite, Jamaican Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum or Appleton Rum.
Jamaicans have developed a special love for curry and have added their own twist to make it unique. Curried goat is a curry dish prepared with goat meat that originated in South Asia and made its way into the kitchens and stomachs of Jamaicans. This dish can be found on any traditional island menu and is especially popular at festivals and parties.
Jamaican Beef Patty
A traditional Jamaican Patty is filled with a ground beef and hot peppers mix and cooked in a flaky pastry shell. It is often paired with coco bread as part of a full meal. The Jamaican patty has evolved over the years to offer varieties such as chicken, cheese, shrimp, lobster and soy.
Sorrel is the most popular Jamaican holiday drink during Christmas and New Year. The dried flowers are boiled and mixed with ginger, water and rum to make the drink. The drink has many health benefits including controlling high cholesterol levels and managing high blood pressure.
Rice & Peas
Jamaican rice and peas has the renowned title of being the most important dish to cook every Sunday in every Jamaican home. The basic ingredients are rice and peas (kidney beans are more common but gungo/pigeon peas are also popular). However, the dish is incomplete without fresh coconut milk, seasoned with thyme and escallion, and the optional scotch bonnet pepper on top.
This seafood dish is a favourite for fish lovers and is also commonly eaten around Easter. Escovitch is a style of cooking using vinegar, onions and spices.
The name may sound unappealing but your first bite of Jamaican bread pudding will have your mouth running. Usually made from the textured crumbs of brown or white bread several days old. Its even tastier when served with ice cream or whipped cream.