Are you looking for some delicious traditional Jamaican food and drinks to try to make you feel the island vibes? I went to Jamaica with my husband and mother-in-law, and we were lucky to experience the popular traditional Jamaican food and drinks!
As we go around the island of Jamaica, we seem to have gone on a gastronomical tour as well. We started our Jamaica itinerary from Montego Bay travelling to the relaxing Port Antonio and the cultural hub of Kingston.
Jamaican food is a fusion of African food, British food and Indian food influence that can be traced back to their Jamaican heritage and culture. You can see as you read more of this article the best traditional Jamaican food that you must try when you visit Jamaica.
Best Traditional Jamaican Food and Drinks
1. Ackee & saltfish
Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica and cod is primarily use for making the salt fish. You can find this dish as an accompaniment to a daily staple food in Jamaica, from breakfast to dinner. It is tasty and sometimes spicy.
This tasty green leafy vegetable is another main dish in Jamaica. Callaloo is widely served in the Caribbean. It is made from 3 vegetables called amaranth, taro or Xanthosoma. I can somehow compare it to the taste of spinach.
3. Fried Plantain
Jamaica is known for its Banana plantations, hence banana is one of the main exports of Jamaica. Fried plantain is part of the traditional Jamaican food, it is a snack or an accompaniment to the main meal.
Another staple food in Jamaica. Made from flour, butter and water to create a dough, they normally serve it as fried or boiled dumplings. Served with the main meal of the day.
It is a traditional Jamaican dish, made from grated cassava and moulded as a flatbread. They normally served it fried and as an alternative to bread.
6. Blue Mountain coffee
One of the most expensive and best coffee in the world. Only grown in the Blue Mountain of Jamaica! For all the coffee lovers out there, I need not explain how tasty this coffee is! It is sought after by coffee lovers and it is one of the main exports of Jamaica.
Boston Bay, Jamaica is the home of Jerk food. If you love spicy food, you should try this tasty Jamaican dish. It is a Jamaican way of cooking and grilling the meat then coating it with spicy spices and Scotch Bonnet. It is one of the main trademarks of Jamaican food that they are known around the world.
8. Overproof Rum
Jamaica is known for their best Caribbean rum. Caribbeans preferred their alcohol to be highly concentrated with high proofing. A standard rum will range about 80 – 100 proof, but this bad boy is ranging from 125 – 160 proof! The famous brand of Overproof rum is the Wray and Nephew.
During our trip to Jamaica, I was not brave enough to try the Overproof rum, but I tried and bought a tasty Sangster’s Banana Cream Rum.
9. Goat Curry
Goat curry was brought by the South Asian people when they migrated to Jamaica during colonial times. It has become a staple food of the island and is loved by many. It is typically served with roti, chapati or rice and peas.
10. Rice and Peas
Rice and peas are another traditional Jamaican food that you will love. It is a perfect accompaniment to most Jamaican food. It is consist of rice, red kidney beans ( locally called peas) and coconut milk. It will surely fill you up quickly.
11. Jamaican Patty
When we visited Jamaica, you can probably see a patties shop in every big town on the island. So we never missed a chance to try the famous Jamaican snack that has been recommended by my friends. Jamaican patties are made of flakey pastry with meat filling. You can have it in different flavours including jerk meat and goat curry patties.
12. Scotch Bonnet Pepper
Scotch bonnet pepper is one of the spices that’s used in making jerk food. It is widely used in different Caribbean dishes. According to Forbes magazine (source), the Scoville heat rating of Scotch bonnet peppers is ranging from 100,000 – 350,000 Scoville units. It is relatively the same Scoville heat level as the Habaneros.
No Jamaican island vibes visit is complete without trying the “Jelly”. The locals call the green coconut fruit Jelly, because of the jelly-like coconut flesh of the fruit. It is really refreshing to eat and jelly water (coconut water), can really quench your thirst from the tropical heat.
14. Gizzada or Pinch-me-round
Gizzada or Pinch-me-round is a small tart delectable snack or dessert that is made of hard shell pastry and sweet & spiced coconut filling. It’s a perfect on-the-go snack. It is also a known pastry that originates from Portuguese cuisine.
Ting is a Jamaican drink that I completely fall in love with. It is a refreshing mildly carbonated fruit drink made from grapefruit. The sweetness is not so sickly as other sodas and it will quench your thirst in the sweltering tropical heat.
I loved it that much, I went looking for it in the UK supermarkets when I got back home from Jamaica. Luckily, due to the big Caribbean community in the UK, I can easily find this in the supermarket’s world food section.
These are the traditional Jamaican food that I encourage you to try when you visit Jamaica. If you have tried this before, let me know which one is your favourite!
Special thanks to Mocking Bird Hill Hotel for hosting us in Jamaica and letting us experience the real Jamaica!