Feeling Peckish? Here Are Some Jamaican Delicacies You Should Try If You Haven't Already
Photo Credit: TN

Photo Credit: TN

Feeling Peckish? Here Are Some Jamaican Delicacies You Should Try If You Haven't Already

Cuisine , Jamaica
Spencer Jones
Spencer Jones Aug 1, 2022

Happy Jamaican Emancipation Day! Jamaica, the largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean is an institution in itself. Aside from Cool Runnings, Bob Marley and Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica has an impact on the culinary world, too. The dishes explode with flavor, and contrary to the belief of some, not all of them are overly spicy.

The Caribbean islands put their own spin on the same ingredients and make them their own. For example, both Jamaica and Trinidad have stewed chicken, but the ingredients can vary. Also, the concept of putting meat, fish or vegetables in crusts can be found in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and so on.

Here are some popular Jamaican dishes and snacks that’ll titillate your palate.

Oxtail

Oxtail is one of those dishes that a rookie chef probably won’t get right.

There comes a point where you have to set the utensils aside and suck the flavor off the bone. There’s no other way to phrase that.

According to Yaso Grill, “after skinning and cutting the meat into segments, the chef then generously seasons the meat with pepper and a dash of salt before allowing it to brown on all sides. The liquid used for cooking the oxtail is always a blend of sweet, aromatic, and spicy. Most often this occurs due to the brown sugar, garlic, and scotch bonnet peppers the mix contains. Some variations use jerk seasoning.”

Pair oxtail with plantains, white rice, rice and peas and/or butter beans.

 

Ackee and Saltfish

 

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Nothing like waking up and starting your day with Jamaica’s national dish. And when you pair it with fried dumplings, boiled dumplings or boiled banana? Bliss. Pure bliss.

According to The Culture Trip, “the ackee fruit originates in West Africa and is thought to have been brought to the Caribbean during the mid-1700s. It is easy to grow and prepare, and is one of the many African legacies of the Jamaican people.”

That said, preparation of ackee must be done carefully, as there are toxins.

Jerk Chicken

 

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Another Jamaican winner is Jerk Chicken. You’ll find it all over the island and at every Jamaican restaurant, that is unless it’s sold out for the day.

Smithsonian Magazine notes that jerk is “one of the enduring legacies of the fusion of African and Taíno cultures in Jamaica. The Taíno, an Arawak people, were members of the Caribbean’s Indigenous population.”

You can also put jerk on goat, fish, vegetables- anything really.

Curry Chicken

There are few spices more ubiquitous than curry.

Select Caribbean islands use it as well as  Thailand, India, Indonesia and elsewhere. Colonization and immigration played a crucial role in how curry made its way around the world.

When Jamaicans curry chicken, it tends to be more on the savory than the sweet side. It can be made with the bone in or cut into chunks.

Like jerk, curry can be used to flavor any kind of meat, fish or vegetable. It goes especially well with white rice.

 

Patties

There’s something so satisfying about patties.

Grab one to go, eat it alone or sandwich it between some coco bread. Wash it down with Ting, a popular grapefruit soda.

Jamaican patties have a half moon shape and are typically filled with chicken, beef or vegetable. They are available at different spice levels.

Various Snacks And Small Bites

 

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If you’re on the go or just feeling slightly peckish, choose from the following:

Festivals, tamarind balls, banana chips, saltfish fritters, gizzadas, bun and cheese, water crackers, pepper shrimp (you can get these in little bags from shacks on the side of the road on the island), patties or hard dough bread. And that’s just a fraction.

Hard dough bread is very versatile. You can spread butter or jam on it and enjoy with your morning coffee. Blue Mountain coffee, of course!

It’s also great for cheese, sandwiches and for sopping up any leftover sauce or seasoning.

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