Are you planning your holidays in Jamaica, or maybe you don’t know yet where to go on your vacation?
This article can definitely help you make up your mind. We are going to discover local Jamaican food, that is to say, a true explosion of flavours! A country’s gastronomy is a real symbol of cultural identity, because it acts as a tool of identity appropriation, and thus food is like a bridge to one’s homeland, to one’s affections. Jamaican food is a melting pot of flavours coming from different populations and cultures that have inhabited the land over time. Spanish, British, Chinese, Indian, Africans, all with their different cooking techniques, different spices, many different ingredients.
So, are you ready to enter in the Jamaican world through its cuisine? Let’s take a closer look. Be careful, it might be mouth-watering.
This is definitely the most popular and distinctive dish of the island, and Jamaican Usain Bolt’s favourite one! It probably has African roots, and it actually can be done with pork meat or fish, too. The most important part is the sauce: made with scotch bonnet pepper, olive oil, soy sauce, pepper, garlic, onion, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and a drop of vinegar, it is known as jerk sauce, and it is used to marinate the meat. Then it will be slowly cooked on the grill or on the barbeque, and the result, needless to say, is amazing. The curious part is that you can find the dish both in elegant restaurants and as a street food. You will enjoy it either way, guaranteed. The jerk meat is often served with festivals: small fried dumpling made of corn dough, with a slight of sweetness. What can go wrong?
Ackee and saltfish
This is also considered one of the main Jamaican’s dishes, and it is the big star of the breakfast in the island. This may sound odd to many European or north American people, who are sometimes used to eat sweet food at breakfast. Big fans of croissant and cappuccino, don’t you despair! There are also sweet alternatives, but, as they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do, right? We definitely suggest to try it out. It is made with ackee fruit, that was imported by Ghanaian slaves in the territory, and now grows abundantly in Jamaica. The tropical fruit, that resembles scramble eggs in the plate, is then mixed with stewed salted codfish sautéed with vegetables and other herbs and spices. A true delicacy.
This is one of the most ancient Jamaican recipes, and it is of Spanish origin. It recalls the Spanish word “escabeche”, that means to marinate. In fact, the fish is fried and then marinated in a spicy, vinegar-based sauce. The Red Snapper, the most common fish used for the recipe, it often served with mixed, pickled vegetables. This recipe is connected to the Jewish culture, and it is often eaten at Easter. The Escovitch Fish is often served with bammies, a special kind of cassava flatbread that is dipped into coconut milk before being fried. You can try it for breakfast, too!
The Jamaican Rastafarian culture promotes a sustainable, vegetarian cuisine, so we can’t finish without mentioning one of the most famous veggies delicacies of the island. The Callaloo is a local vegetable that resembles the kale, and it is often sautéed with onion, garlic, pepper. It is often served as a side dish, but don’t be surprised if you see it on your traditional Jamaican breakfast plate. The callaloo is amazing in the Pepper Pot Soup, too.
So, these are just some of the vast Jamaican cuisine’s dishes. I’m sure you will be quite hungry by now… get your stomach ready and go and discover yourself the delicious Jamaican gastronomy!
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