10 Irresistible Food & Drinks to try in Jamaica

Modern Jamaican cuisine was shaped by immigrants. They prepared familiar dishes, replacing missing native products with local ones.

Ancient recipes came from the Indians and folk snacks from the sailors.

As a result, simple hearty dishes of meat, fish, vegetables, and bananas are eaten on the island. We’ll tell you what food a tourist should try in Jamaica.

We will advise what dishes to order in the restaurants of national cuisine in the Caribbean. We have made a list with names, descriptions and photos.

Run down

Run down
Run down

The Jamaican recipe was not invented out of good intentions, but today it is an important part of the national cuisine.

Run down means “spread on a plate” and describes well the appearance of an uncomplicated meal. Meat, fish, bananas, root vegetables, beans, and vegetables are stewed in coconut milk with spices.

The ingredients remain large, but they are very soft and easy to spread on the plate. The dish is sure to be served in a thick gravy. The ingredients can vary.

So run down means something stewed in a spiced coconut milk sauce. It looks unsightly, but it’s still worth trying the Jamaican dish.

Ackee and saltfish

Ackee and saltfish
Ackee and saltfish

The classic Jamaican breakfast is worth trying at least for the sake of interest.

Aki is a tropical fruit that is not usually eaten fresh. It does not have a strong taste, but it absorbs the flavors of everything it is cooked with.

The most popular aki company is salted cod with fried onions, peppers, tomato and spices. If you see this Jamaican dish at the buffet, you would easily mistake it for a regular vegetable omelet. It tastes spicy and moderately salty.

Try it with fried bananas, fresh vegetables, or jackfruit slices and local bread – it’s a classic.

Fish tea

Fish tea
Fish tea

Soup, in fact. It is on the menu of most restaurants of traditional Caribbean cuisine. Jamaican spicy fish soup is made with a strong broth and root vegetables.

Pumpkin, yams, green bananas, and seasonal vegetables are most often included. A mixture of spices and hot peppers are added to the stew. The spiciness is quenched with coconut milk.

The result is an unusual, savory dish with a bright flavor of fish, an interesting aroma, and a delicate texture. In Caribbean restaurants the waiters often give a sly wink to the girls whose men order a classic fish tea.

In Jamaica, there are many legends associated with it, one of which is a powerful aphrodisiac.

Curry goat

Curry goat
Curry goat

The Indo-Jamaican dish is popular with tourists because it is not often found in other countries.

It is prepared according to the principle of any curry: stewed meat, thick gravy, a lot of spices. The goat meat adds spice. It falls apart into fibers and the meat pieces melt in your mouth.

Goat meat curry is not spicy at all; it is soft in texture, fragrant, and unusual. In Jamaica, you can try it with unleavened rice. Sometimes fried banana tortillas are served as an appetizer.

Jerk chicken

Jerk chicken
Jerk chicken

Chicken or Jamaican chicken is the calling card of the national cuisine.

The meat is covered with a delicious ruddy crust, and inside it is juicy and tender. Before cooking it is generously coated in a mixture of spices jamaican jerk spice.

It consists of fragrant spices, hot peppers and chopped dried herbs. The chicken is roasted in a special jerk pan oven in the form of a barrel, always on charcoal. The result is something in between smoked and grilled meat.

This wonderfully smoky dish can be found at street-food stalls, bought at markets, or ordered in restaurants.

Today in Jamaica tourists can try jerk not only chicken, but also pork, beef, shrimp, clams, tofu or vegetables.

Stamp and Go

Stamp and Go
Stamp and Go

A simple snack with an unusual name is a very popular Jamaican fast food. Its middle name is Jamaican Saltfish Fritters, which means Jamaican saltfish fritters.

Tourists love it as a snack, while locals usually eat it for breakfast.
To make the dish, the chef soaks dried salt cod and then fries it in a flour batter with vegetables and spices.
The result is a crispy, golden appetizer: fatty, slightly spicy, and very tangy.

The name Stamp and Go literally translates to “stomp and run.” They say it goes back to the days of sailors. A British officer was always fiercely rushing his crew: “Stamp and Go!” And his cooks, whom he would also hustle loudly, would often make a codfish appetizer.

A little confusion and ignorance of English – and the name stuck to the Jamaican fish forever.

Oxtail stew

Oxtail stew
Oxtail stew

The most popular Jamaican dish in this category is oxtail with broad beans.

It is a stew of oxtail with beans. The dish is nutritious, exotic, and spicy. It is worth a try for tourists who want to know the real Caribbean cuisine.

Oxtails are rich in gelatin, so the stew from them is always characterized by the presence of a thick meat sauce. The dish includes tomatoes, hot peppers, and thyme.

The cook can add vegetables to the stew, but it is not necessary. The fat content of the meat is smoothed by the presence of a special kind of beans. Try this dish in Kingston, Montego Bay and other parts of Jamaica for a memorable meal.

Jamaican patty

Jamaican patty
Jamaican patty

The street food in Jamaica is the traditional patties.

They are sold in markets, eateries, restaurants, and hotels. They look and taste like chebureks or fried pancakes with meat.

Jamaican patties have a juicy filling. It is wrapped in a thin dough and exudes a spicy flavor. Try the classic version with beef, chopped onions and spices.

Chicken, lobster and vegetarian patties look no less appetizing.
Locals prefer to wash down a hot, hearty snack with a cold Jamaican beer.

Rum cake

Rum cake
Rum cake

Of the sweets in the Caribbean, you must try the rum cake. Eat it yourself and bring a box for your loved ones.

Rum cake can be bought at almost any gift store (but better at the rum factory on the tour). You can try it in almost any café. Rum-based cupcake has an intense flavor.

It can be chocolate, coconut, banana, coffee, vanilla, or something else. It is baked only with cane sugar and only natural ingredients.

The muffin melts in your mouth. It is airy, moist, and a little crumbly. The best accompaniment to it is a cup of good Jamaican coffee.

Gizzada

Gizzada
Gizzada

This dessert in Jamaica is always hard for a sweet tooth to resist.

Order a basket at a cafe and be ready to go for more – they are delicious. Just imagine: a ruddy basket made of the finest sand dough, moist coconut filling, and a bright gingerbread flavor. The dessert is not sugary and not dry.

Gizzada is popular in Jamaica and always sells out quickly, so the baskets are always fresh and baked all day long.


🤔 What are Jamaica’s traditional foods?

Popular Jamaican dishes include curry goat, fried dumplings, and ackee and saltfish. Jamaican patties along with various pastries, breads and beverages are also popular.

🤔 What do poor Jamaicans eat?

The Jamaican Hardough Bread is the favorite for poor people to make sandwiches with Ackee, Callaloo, Sardines, Bully Beef, Cheese, Butter, Ripe Banana, and Plantain. Break smoked herring into two pieces and sandwich with water crackers. You’ll drink a fair amount of water after having this sandwich.

🤔 What is a typical lunch in Jamaica?

Typical lunch and dinner are large meals and last for at least an hour. The Main dish is either Liver, Ackee & saltfish (codfish), Mackerel or Red Herring served with any or all of the following, fried dumpling, fried bammy, boiled banana, boiled dumpling and yam.

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