Eating the traditional food of a country is one of the best parts of traveling. Fortunately, Jamaica offers visitors some truly fantastic flavors—along with some equally incredible places to try them. Whether you’re planning a trip to Jamaica for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, a friend adventure, or flying solo, consider the following Jamaican must-trys:
1. Jerk Chicken
If you ask someone to name a traditional Jamaican food, they’ll likely say jerk chicken. That is, pieces of chicken rubbed and marinated in a blend of hot spices and then smoked over pimento wood. You’ll find it anywhere and everywhere, from roadside shacks to upscale restaurants, and it’s undoubtedly delicious.
A very simple but delicious flatbread that’s made from cassava or yuca, Bammy is mouthwatering and understandably popular. Prepare to crave it when it doesn’t show up on your plate.
3. Pepperpot soup
Little know fact: Jamaica offers an extensive array of soups. Among these is Jamaican pepperpot. It’s made with callaloo, yam, scotch bonnet peppers, and pumpkins. If you like spicy, you’ve come to the right place.
4. Ackee & Saltfish
Locals and tourists alike love ackee, a fruit that grows in abundance in Jamaica. Ackee and Saltfish are cooked together in a pot with tomatoes, onions, chili, and spices. You’ll find this dish served at breakfast just as often as you’ll find it at dinner.
5. Rice & peas
Rice and peas is one of the most common side dishes in the country. “Peas,” in this case is the Jamaican name for beans, much like kidney beans. They’re cooked with coconut milk for a wonderful tropical flavor, and you’ll never have trouble finding a tasty version in close proximity.
6. Curry Goat
Certainly one of the most popular Jamaican dishes is curry goat. Exactly as it sounds, it’s goat – curried. The curry tends to have a kick, and the goat is usually cooked to tender perfection so it falls right off the bone.
Although there are endless quality restaurants of all stripes in Jamaica, Pelican Grill in Montego Bay has a beautiful traditional Jamaican menu as well as a few more Americanized options when the urge hits. Murphy’s West End Restaurant in Negril offers fresh, bold, and flavorful slow food from the garden and the ocean. They’re known for their jerk lobster, curry shrimp, fish, and “devil chicken” (BBQ). So kick back and enjoy a cocktail on one of their comfy hammocks while you wait. Also, be sure to try the famous oxtail stew at Miss T’s in Ocho Rios.
Top notch food tours are also quite common in Jamaica. Under the expert guidance of a local, you’re usually taken to all the best food spots and given the skinny on what the locals love to eat — a foodie’s dream.
For further recommendations on must-try Jamaican dishes, the best restaurants, or to book a food tour or personal chef for your stay in one of our luxury villas in Jamaica, contact Rental Escapes today!