Touring the surprising delights of Jamaican cuisine
If you thought Jamaican food began and ended with jerk chicken, you’llbe greatly surprised by the colour and quality of the cuisine inJamaica.
If you thought Jamaican food began and ended with jerk chicken, you’ll be greatly surprised by the colour and quality of the cuisine in Jamaica.
Ackee and saltfish may be the national dish, but it’s really the least interesting option in Jamaica.
Price-wise you can eat as well as you can afford — there are some world-class restaurants in Jamaica — but even by the roadside, great food can be eaten for little money.
Jamaica’s famous jerk meat is best near the capital and the north coast, while the best seafood can be found on the quieter south coast.
For award-winning jerk chicken try Scotchies at Drax Hall, near Ocho Rios, just east of Montego Bay. Here jerk meat is cooked the traditional way in a pit in the ground, using tree bark to flavour the meat. It’s a no-frills, roadside eatery where you eat at open-air tables.
Similarly, you can sample the delicious vegan “Ital” food that is the diet of the clean-living Rastafarian.
It is pure, unprocessed and delicious, with dishes that include tasty vegetarian stews, curries and fresh juices.
Find it at street stalls throughout the country.
For fish, head to Alligator Pond on the south coast. The beach is lined with food stalls that cater to local fishermen.
The Little Ochie Pub is considered the best. Here, seafood including fresh snapper, lobster and crab are plucked from an ice chest and cooked fresh.
Try Devon House in Kingston for homemade ice cream. The beautiful 18th-century mansion is also home to one of Kingston’s best restaurants, Norma’s On the Terrace.
And if you fancy a bit of self-catering why not try spearing your own parrot fish, then frying it on the beach with a little Pickapeppa Sauce.
If you’re staying at Jake’s in Treasure Beach, ask a local fisherman to take you fishing, or try the hotel’s cookery course.