After trying some Jamaican food, I am sure that you will have a hard time forgetting their flavors. Why? Because the unique and rich cuisine of Jamaica constantly stimulates the curiosity of visitors when setting foot on this beautiful island.
If you plan to go to Jamaica for a vacation, this article will make it easier for you to choose your favorite Jamaica recipes for your culinary list. Keep reading and you will see the goodness of this cuisine.
Seafood and meat are two essential ingredients in human nutrition. You will feel energized to enjoy your explorations after eating delicious Jamaica meat and seafood dishes. Let’s enjoy all of them right now.
1. Goat Curry
Fill your menu of Jamaican lunch recipes with delicious goat curry. It is loved by many foreign tourists when they come to Jamaica as it is easy to find in many local restaurants.
Goat curry is normally served with steamed rice to ensure that you will not leave with an unfilled stomach. Of course, its flavor is so amazing that you want to come back for more.
This incredible dish was brought to Jamaica by Indian and Chinese immigrants. However, the Jamaicans prepared it in a typical Caribbean style as they stewed the meat with spices, onions, garlic, peppers, and potatoes to yield a rich and dense curry.
2. Oxtail And Beans
The British have had an intense influence on Jamaican culture and cuisine, and this wonderful dish is one of the many mouthwatering foods brought to Jamaica by the British.
However, Jamaicans have modified ingredients and spices to bring out the flavor and identity of their country. Oxtail cooked in a pressure cooker will create the perfect softness, but there are versions cooked on the stovetop. Overall, this is another must-try dish while in Jamaica.
3. Jerk Chicken
Jerk chicken is a traditional Jamaican dish served at many restaurants in this country. This food was created by a tribe from Peru who settled in Jamaica 2500 years ago. At that time, they called the dried meat “charqui,” which is known as “jerky” today.
With its rich flavor and distinctive spicy taste, this jerk chicken really emerged during the war between British settlers and the soldiers fighting for independence. Soldiers solved the food shortage by seasoning wild meat with spices and drying it with charcoal.
Nowadays, you can elevate this dish to a whole new caliber by serving the jerk chicken with compatible foods like coconut rice, classic potato salad, maque choux, etc. If you’re preparing dinner for picky eaters, jerk chicken and its side dishes are definitely a safe bet.
4. Jamaican Chicken Foot Soup
If you plan to come to Jamaica, save chicken feet soup in your book of Jamaican dinner recipes to enjoy. This signature dish will excite your taste buds with its perfect flavor. Chicken feet and vegetables are stewed for enough time to create a fantastic softness.
You will be captivated when sipping a spoonful of the broth of this tasty soup. It has become a tradition for Saturday dinners in Jamaica, and do not forget to eat it with a few loaves of bread.
5. Brown Stew Chicken
It is a pity that you do not enjoy brown stew chicken when traveling to Jamaica. This food with the signature flavors of Caribbean cuisine will make you go crazy when you try it for the first time.
First, the tender and savory flavor of the chicken pieces is what amaze you as they are carefully seasoned and slow-cooked. Moreover, the taste of the food becomes more diverse with the appearance of veggies. It is excellent to enjoy the thick and delicious gravy of it.
There are many delicious Jamaican dishes made with seafood. I am sure you will fall in love with the freshness and deliciousness of these wonderful seafood foods.
Rundown or run-dun is a typical dish in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as Jamaica. It was brought to Latin America when an Afro-Jamaican immigrant arrived to build the Costa Rican railroad and the Panama Canal in the early 19th century.
The taste of this stew fish will make you unable to resist, thanks to the smooth flavor of coconut milk . Plus, Jamaican people usually use mackerel for this beautiful dish. And please pay more attention to the fish as overcooked one is not good.
7. Ackee and Codfish
A national dish that every Jamaican knows is ackee and codfish. The ackee in this recipe is a well-known and widely grown fruit in Jamaica. It appeared in the Caribbean before 1725, when it was imported from Ghana by slaves.
It will combine with salted codfish to make a memorable dish for you. The ackee used for this food will have a yellow color that gives it an eye-catching look. Besides, the flavor of vegetables, spices, and herbs will make the dish taste more delicious.
8. Jamaican Grilled Snapper Escovitch
If you are a fan of spicy dishes, you should not miss the Grilled snapper escovitch. This is a classic dish originating from Jamaica and popularly appearing in the daily meals of the people here.
There are many different ways to prepare escovitch fish; chefs often grill or fry it and combine it with other elements to make the food more appealing. You will not stop your mouth when eating this dish with rice and cabbage.
9. Pepper Shrimp
Freshwater crayfish are caught from the Lower Morass lagoon of the Black River to create an ultimate pepper shrimp. It appeared in Jamaica when African slaves brought this method of fishing with bamboo traps here.
When walking on the streets of Jamaica, you will easily come across stalls selling these excellent shrimp dishes. Shrimp seasoned with spices will give off a rich flavor. Moreover, the spicy taste of pepper is the distinctive feature of this food.
10. Jerk Shrimps
Jerk shrimp is a national dish in Jamaica with a unique flavor that you can hardly find anywhere else in the world. This incredible food was invented by the Amerindians of the Taino and Arawak tribes.
You should not miss this dish when traveling in Jamaica if you love spicy food. Its spicy taste will be balanced by sweetness to create a perfect whole. It is often combined with salads on summer days.
Snacks and Desserts
Sometimes, you need snacks to be able to sit and talk with friends and relatives during travel. Therefore, you need to know the famous desserts of Jamaica so that it does not take much time to find them.
11. Fried Plantains
Fried plantains are a popular dish in Jamaica. Plantains are a type of banana that was discovered by a Portuguese explorer in the 15th century in Western Africa and brought to the Caribbean islands to grow. Today, it occurs in abundance in the Caribbean and Jamaica.
That’s why not only are plantains a widely-beloved snack in Jamaica, but they’re also a popular sweet treat throughout the Caribbean. However, the way these 2 regions prepare their plantain snack vastly differ, resulting in 2 unique treats with clear influences from their own respective cuisine.
When you go to supermarkets in Jamaica, you will see plantain chips displayed on food stalls here. In particular, these fried plantain chips have become a traditional food during the holidays. It is usually eaten with butter, salt, or pepper covered over the top.
12. Bammy (Cassava Cake)
Bammy is one of the iconic dishes of Jamaica that deserves to be experienced on your upcoming trip. It is also known as cassava cake because it is the product of grinding the cassava root and combining it with coconut milk.
These beautiful golden brown cakes were first made in pre-Columbian times. This incredible food is often mixed with callaloo to create a taste-stimulating combo for diners.
13. Coco Bread (Half-moon-shaped Bread)
Coco bread is a traditional food and is associated with the development history of Jamaica through many periods since this is the hometown of this incredible bread. Therefore, you should not ignore it if you want to experience the traditional flavors of Jamaican cuisine.
This is a delicious bread with a mild sweetness. Significantly, the unique aroma and taste of coconut milk will awaken your taste buds. You will easily find coco bread in attractive sandwiches in Jamaica.
14. Jamaican Patties
The Jamaican patty is an essential Jamaican baked pastry with a golden yellow and flaky shell made from turmeric or egg yolk dough. This delicious turnover might contain various fillings and spices, but seasoned ground beef is usually the preferred stuffing.
Other fillings include pork, chicken, shrimp, veggies, seafood, or cheese. The locals either pair these patties with coco bread and enjoy them as a full meal, or make them into bite-sized pieces to serve as cocktail patties.
Outside Jamaica, these yummy turnovers are famous in Costa Rica, Panama, and other Caribbean countries. The patties have also made their way to the United States alongside Jamaican immigrants in the 1960s and 1970s.
15. Breadfruit – Typical Fruit
Breadfruit always leaves an indelible impression after enjoying it. Jamaicans use many different methods to cook this fruit, such as baking, grilling, or pureeing. However, the most common one is deep-frying them to form chips.
This fruit is popular in Jamaica and grown in many countries in the Caribbean. It has served as an essential food for the Jamaicans for a long time. It first appeared on this beautiful island in 1793 from Tahiti.
16. Saltfish Fritters
Saltfish fritter, widely known as “Stamp and Go” is a favorite Jamaican breakfast dish. Besides, it is an excellent snack preferred by tourists when coming to Jamaica. The food has an eye-catching golden brown color and has a great taste.
Saltfish is bathed in flour and fried until the perfect crispness and color are achieved. Its name “Stamp and Go” is associated with 18th century English boatmen. The captains would shout “Stamp and Go” when they wanted to speed things up.
17. Sweet Dumplings
Jamaican sweet dumplings or festivals are a signature food of this country’s cuisine. It looks like bread with a golden brown color on the outside. When tasting it, you will be mesmerized by the crispiness of the outer shell and the softness of the inside.
The sweet taste of this essential Jamaican appetizer with flour as the main ingredient will steal your heart on the first try. You will easily find sweet dumplings on jerk chicken or fish dishes.
18. Jamaican Fried Dumplings
Fried dumplings appeared in Jamaica from the colonial and slave times when workers would carry fried biscuits for long trips to work. It is also known as “journey cake” or “Johnny Cake”. This food is often served with callaloo and kidney.
The fried dumplings with a clear and eye-catching yellow color will not let you down. Its crispy shell will cover the tender flesh. Do not forget to enjoy the gentle sweetness of this dish before leaving Jamaica.
19. Bulla Cake
Bulla cake is a popular sweet treat, especially among schoolchildren in Jamaica. This flavorful cake consists of molasses, ginger, and nutmeg. It has a round and flat shape and can be dark or light in color. Jamaicans usually enjoy bulla cake with butter, cheese, or avocado.
Although the cake seems simple, it’s deeply associated with Jamaica’s culture, so much so that local people view it as an emblem and a symbol of the country’s development. Kenneth Rattray, Jamaica’s former solicitor general, totally loved this treat.
Besides being a wonderful snack or dessert, you can also enjoy bulla cake as a delicious breakfast since many stalls sell it in the morning.
Other Jamaican Famous Dishes
If you do not feel satisfied with the dishes that I provide above, you can take the time to enjoy these foods to have other experiences of this special cuisine.
20. Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup
Gungo pea soup is the dish that I had to eat for the second time before leaving Jamaica on my last trip. The gungo peas, when cooked with vegetables and dumplings, have a wonderful flavor and distinctively thick texture.
This delicious dish is a fabulous Jamaican soup recipe for you if you plan to visit Jamaica. I believe you will never forget the flavor of this mouthwatering food.
21. Callaloo (Or Dasheen Bush)
If you are looking for a vegetarian-friendly Jamaican dish, callaloo should not be missed. This is a food that originated in West Africa, and it first appeared in Jamaica during the slave trade. The food is made from the heart-shaped leaves of the taro plant.
Stir-fried onions, garlic, and peppers will bring unforgettable flavors to this dish. Many diners commented that its taste is pretty similar to kale. Restaurants in Jamaica often serve it as an accompaniment to every meal. Also, you can call it dasheen bush, cocoyam, or tannia.
22. Gizzada (Coconut Tart)
Gizzada (aka coconut tart or pinch-me-round) is a dish that should appear on your list of Jamaican dessert recipes. This amazing food is a variation of the Portuguese Queijadas. It was brought to Jamaica when the Portuguese Jews fled religious oppression in Europe.
Jamaica coconut tarts have a warm touch with hints of ginger and cinnamon. Grated coconut will leave an unforgettable sweet aftertaste for you after enjoying it. Restaurants often serve it with a signature Jamaica beverage called Blue Mountain coffee.
Grab your favorite tart pans and have a go with this delightful Jamaican dessert right today. If you can’t get your hands on Blue Mountain coffee due to its rarity and high price, opt for Catimor Arabica or Arona coffee instead.
23. Easter Bun
Buns are a favorite dish in the beautiful country of Jamaica. It is inspired by the British hot cross bun, and it is an integral part of Easter, especially on Good Friday. The Jamaicans started making this traditional recipe in the mid-1600s when they landed on the island.
You will feel the sweetness of dried raisins and the distinctive flavor of red wine when you bite into these beautiful slices of bread. Especially when you eat it with cheddar cheese, you will forever remember the appealing taste of this food.
You will fall in love with Easter bun’s flavor after trying it.
24. Ital Stew
Ital stew is a perfect choice for vegetarians. This fantastic dish is closely associated with the Rastafarian movement. The word “ital” is taken from the word “vital”. Ital stew is made with vegetarian elements from this earth.
Some people even think that iodized salt is also considered a forbidden ingredient in this food. The food has a variety of flavors when it contains many different components. You will fall in love with the rich taste as the veggies are stewed in a coconut milk broth.
25. Hummingbird Cake
Referring to Jamaican desserts, it is impossible not to mention Hummingbird cake. This yummy cake was born in the 1960s with the original name of Doctor bird cake. The name is related to a species of hummingbird native to Jamaica.
Many people think that its name comes from the appearance of yellow markings like the plumage of this bird. However, others agree that the attractive sweetness of the cake has created an intense attraction for hummingbirds.
Until 1968, this dessert made from flour, various fruits, and spices were brought to the US by sending press kits to make the dish more widely known.
If you love the hummingbird cake, the chances are that you’ll also be a fan of the hummingbird pancakes – a famous recipe by Trisha Yearwood. The combination of fruits and spice, when added to the pancakes, makes it a fantastic idea for a fancy and flavorsome breakfast.
Check out the methods to make delicious hummingbird cake.
26. Jamaican Rice And Peas
You do not have to worry about going hungry since the delicious Jamaican rice and peas food is there. This traditional food originated in Ghana, and it was brought to Jamaica by the Akan tribe. Today, it is considered a staple dish here.
It appears at almost every Jamaican lunch or dinner. In addition, on special occasions and Sunday dinners, it is an indispensable component. You will be immersed in the aroma and plasticity of this rice dish.
Do Not Ignore Any Yummy Dish!
Do not miss any of the fantastic dishes on this list to experience the culinary quintessence of Jamaica fully. I am happy to bring you helpful information about famous Jamaican food to make your travel preparation easier.
I look forward to receiving other great Jamaican recipes you know in the comments. I hope you have an outstanding experience on your trip and enjoy all the dishes that appear in this post. Thanks for your time!
Table of Contents
- Meat Dishes
- Seafood Dishes
- Snacks and Desserts
- Other Jamaican Famous Dishes