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Top 10 Must-try Jamaican Foods

Jamaican Cuisine is exotic and has such a wide mix and fusion of so many different cultures to make it something so special of its own.

There are so many foods I could think of, but I tried to condense it down into just ten! But really, be adventurous, try new things and do not hold back! Never know what it’s like until you try it! Hey, you might even like it 😉

Here is a list of dishes or foods that you NEED to try when you visit Jamaica!

1) Ackee and Saltfish

So I am going to start off with our National dish. Ackee, notoriously known as one of the “most dangerous foods”, is an extremely popular dish in Jamaica. It is not actually indigenous to Jamaica, however, Jamaica was one of the few places that knew how to cook it properly. Ackee and Saltfish is commonly a breakfast dish but can also be used for hors d’oeuvres on bammy.

When I introduced my friends to this last summer they thought “this had to be the weirdest fruit in the world…” Not going to lie they were kind of skeptical. But I often describe ackee as a vegan scrambled eggs! The texture is soo similar and the perfect substitute as it is indeed a vegan dish (without the saltfish).

However, if you want to take it a step further… make ackee & bacon, this was my favourite childhood breakfast! It’s like scrambled eggs and bacon and just trust me, try it!!

2) Festival

If you are a fan of fried doughs or pastry then you will love this. They are fried dumplings, made from a sweet dough and are highly addictive. Really yummy and will be found on any kind of Jamaican breakfast plates.

3) Breadfruit

So another one of these weird fruits like Ackee. Breadfruit can be either served fried or roasted. Both forms have a bread-like texture (hence the name). Personally, I love fried breadfruit! It’s warm and the texture is totally unexpected from a fruit! It is hard to describe, you gotta taste it!

4) Patty & Coco Bread

I have put these two in one as even though they are two entirely different foods, are often eaten together.

Patty & Coco bread also make the perfect road meal as you can find them at every gas station.
These are three main brands:

  1. Tastee
  2. Juici
  3. Devon House (only in Kingston) but by far the best

PATTY: Those of you readers from the UK may be familiar with Cornish Pasties. Well, a Patty is very similar to one, but less heavy and the filling is usually just the meat or veg and some spices (no potatoes and other stuff). It has a lot less crust and the pastry is more flaky so it is, again, a lot lighter! 

Patty Flavours:

  • Chicken : a personal favourite, it’s full of spices and quite hot
  • Beef
  • Beef & Cheese
  • Vegetables
  • Tofu
  • Lobster

COCO BREAD: It is a sweet loaf or bread. It is served warm and is so soft and fluffy! Incredibly tasty!

PUT THEM TOGETHER! Well what all locals do is not just have them separately (even though both are amazing on their own). What makes these two foods so much better is to open the coco bread and put the patty in it, like so…

 

It’s like a burger but not really but it tastes sooo amazing!! One thing I crave when I am abroad! 

 

5) Red Pea Soup

If you are going to have any kind of soup, this is the one you must try! The best place to have it is at a restaurant called Pelican Bar & Grill (Check out my Montego Bay post). It’s like a thick stew with an assortment of beans, veg, meats (optional).

 

6) Jerk Chicken/Pork

Immediate thoughts when you think of Jamaica? Bob Marley and JERK!

Best places to buy from:

  1. Scotchies
  2. Jerky’s

7) Sorrel (Christmas)

Sorrel is a fruit which is boil down and made into a sweet juice. It is perfect for the hot weather and really refreshing! Even though it is seasonal, more traditionally drank during the Christmas season, it is available all year round, so would definitely give that a try!

8) Bun & Cheese (Easter)

Another seasonal, yet offered all year round food. Bun is a sweet and soft bread, usually eaten for a snack. Some types contain dried fruit (this is the more traditional one eaten for Easter) and others are plain. The cheese is eaten with the bun and it is the perfect combination of sweet and salty, soft and creamy. It is soo delicious and I would highly recommend having it. Best brand for the bun and cheese is Tastee. But if out of season “Spice Bun” is a great alternative!

9) Devon House Ice Cream/i-scream

Among the TOP TEN Ice creams in the world! And it really is that good! Gotta warn those with Dairy intolerances, this is not the Ice-cream for you as this has to be the creamiest ice-cream out there and it is absolutely AMAZING! The serving sizes are huge for the prices. This was such a classic childhood memory from a Sunday treat to getting a good score on my maths test! There are 27 flavours and I would highly recommend all of them!

Top Flavours:

  1. Rum & Raisin – Most traditional & Jamaican flavour
  2. Pralines & Cream
  3. Mango
  4. Rocky River
  5. Blue Mountain Coffee
  6. Sweet Sop

10) Callalo

Callalo is very similar to spinach, however, has a ton more flavour and texture. It is a bit more crunchy than spinach but it a perfect breakfast side.