Foods From Jamaica Beach menu

Whether you’re a foodie looking to explore new tastes or simply curious about Jamaican culture, the island’s cuisine is sure to satisfy your cravings and leave you wanting more.

If you’re wondering about what food is Jamaica known for, this post is for you.

Jamaica Food Facts

Foods From Jamaica - Jerk Chicken

Here are a few ‘Jamaica Food Facts’ before our list of the best foods from Jamaica.

  • Jerk seasoning, originating from Jamaica is world-famous for its unique blend of spices, including allspice, thyme, and scotch bonnet peppers.
  • Locals love their spicy sauces. They add hot sauce to almost every meal, including breakfast dishes like eggs and porridge.
  • Jamaican patties are so popular that they’ve even inspired international fast-food chains, like Golden Krust, which was founded by a Jamaican immigrant in New York City and now has locations across the United States.
  • Jamaica is known for its Blue Mountain Coffee, which is grown at high elevations and has a unique flavour profile with hints of chocolate and nuts.
  • Jamaican cuisine is influenced by the country’s history and cultural diversity, incorporating flavours and techniques from African, Indian, Chinese, and European cuisine.

Let’s take a tasty journey through the best foods from Jamaica!

1) Ackee and Salted Codfish

Foods From Jamaica - Ackee and Salted Codfish

Jamaica’s national dish is made with the yellow flesh of ackee fruit, sauteed with onions, peppers, tomatoes, chillis, garlic, various spices, and salted codfish.

This Jamaican dish is served at breakfast, with crispy fried dumplings, coleslaw or hardo bread, a slightly sweet, dense Jamaican hard dough bread loaf.

2) Curry Goat

Foods From Jamaica - Curry Goat

Curry goat is a popular dish in Jamaican cuisine that consists of goat meat cooked in a rich and fragrant curry sauce, typically served with rice and peas.

Goat meat is first marinated in a mixture of spices and herbs, then browned before being simmered in a curry sauce made from a blend of spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, and fenugreek.

The curry sauce is typically made with coconut milk, which adds a creamy texture and sweetness to the dish, as well as onions, tomatoes, and Scotch bonnet peppers, which give it a spicy kick.

Curry goat is a staple dish in the list of foods from Jamaica to try.

3) Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken Jamaica
Jamaican Jerk Chicken with rice and peas – one of the most loved foods in Jamaica

This list of the best foods from Jamaica would only exist with this dish featured here. Jerk chicken would have to be the most well-known Jamaican dish.

Many would say that it’s one of the traditional foods from Jamaica. So, why is it so popular?

Spicy, full of flavour, and delicious! It’s made by marinating chicken in a unique blend of spices and herbs (jerk seasoning), including allspice, thyme, and scotch bonnet peppers to add heat.

The secret to traditional Jamaican jerk chicken is grilling it over an open flame until it’s crispy and juicy.

The result is a mouthwatering combination of sweet and spicy flavours that will leave you wanting more.

You can only leave the island once you grab a cold Red Stripe (local Jamaican beer) and dig into some tasty jerk chicken!

4) Beef Patties

Foods From Jamaica - Beef Patties
Beef patties are great foods in Jamaica to eat on the go!

Beef patties are a popular snack and street food in Jamaica. The savoury pastry contains a spiced mixture of ground beef and onions.

Beef patties are sold at bakeries, convenience stores, and street food vendors in Jamaica and eaten as a quick and satisfying snack on the go.

5) Jamaican Curry Chicken

Foods From Jamaica - Curry Chicken

Jamaican curry chicken is an aromatic dish of tender chicken pieces cooked in a rich and delicious curry sauce made with a blend of Jamaican spices.

The curry sauce for Jamaican curry typically includes a mix of curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, and coconut milk, which adds a creamy texture and a touch of sweetness. As expected in Jamaican cuisine, adding scotch bonnet peppers gives the dish a spicy kick.

This comforting dish is served with rice and peas or boiled potatoes and carrots.

6) Jerk Pork with Scotch Bonnet Peppers

Foods From Jamaica - Jerk Pork

A classic Jamaican dish packed with flavour!

It begins with pork marinated in a spicy mixture of herbs and spices, including allspice, ginger, thyme, garlic, and scotch bonnet peppers. The marinade helps tenderise the meat and infuse it with flavour and aroma.

After marinating, the pork is typically cooked over an open flame or on a grill until it’s tender, juicy, and slightly charred outside. The addition of scotch bonnet peppers gives the dish a fiery kick and a unique flavour that is distinctively Jamaican.

The dish is typically served with rice and peas, roasted vegetables, or a side of plantains. It’s a popular dish in other Caribbean nations and one of the best foods from Jamaica to enjoy.

7) Jamaican Rice and Peas

Foods From Jamaica - Rice and Peas

Rice and peas are a staple side dish in Jamaican cuisine prepared by cooking white rice with kidney beans and coconut milk.

The rice is flavoured with garlic, thyme, spring onions, and scotch bonnet peppers and is eaten with many foods from Jamaica, such as Jerk chicken, curry goat and fish dishes.

8) Coco Bread

Foods From Jamaica - Coco Bread

A favourite Jamaican pastry that is soft, slightly sweet, and made with coconut milk. The bread is often eaten as a side dish or used to make sandwiches, particularly with Jamaican-style patties.

The bread is often baked until golden brown and has a fluffy texture that pairs well with savoury fillings.

9) Callaloo

Foods From Jamaica - Callaloo

Callaloo is a popular vegetable dish in Jamaica and other Caribbean nations. It is prepared from a variety of leafy greens, such as taro leaves or dasheen, as well as other vegetables like onions, peppers, okra, and garlic.

To prepare callaloo, the vegetables are first washed and chopped, then sautéed in oil or butter until they are tender.

The mixture is then seasoned with herbs and spices and coconut milk, and salted meat or fish may also be added for additional flavour.

Callaloo can be served as a side dish or as a main course, accompanied by rice, bread, or other starches.

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10) Jamaican Cabbage

Foods From Jamaica - Jamaican Cabbage

Jamaican Cabbage is a staple side dish in Jamaican cuisine. It is prepared by sauteing shredded cabbage with familiar Jamaican seasonings and spices including garlic, thyme, onions, and scotch bonnet peppers.

Some variations of the recipe may also include other vegetables, such as carrots or capsicum, to add colour and texture to the dish.

11) Run Down (Fish Stew)

“Run Down” is a traditional Jamaican dish made by simmering salted fish, usually cod or mackerel, in a sauce made with coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

The fish is cooked until it becomes tender and falls apart, giving the sauce a thick and creamy consistency.

The name “run down” comes from how the sauce is prepared – the ingredients are slowly cooked over low heat until they break down (or ‘run down’) and blend to create a rich and flavorful sauce – and seasoned with thyme, garlic, and other herbs and spices, which give it a unique and delicious taste.

Run down is often served with boiled green bananas, yams, or dumplings and is one of the popular breakfast foods from Jamaica.

12) Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

Foods From Jamaica - Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

A staple in Jamaican cuisine. Brown Stew chicken is made by marinating chicken pieces in a mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and other seasonings and searing the chicken in a hot pan until it is browned and crispy.

Then, the chicken simmers in a sauce made with onions, tomatoes, capsicums, and more herbs and spices like thyme, allspice, and Scotch bonnet peppers.

The sauce is simmered until thick and fragrant, and the chicken is tender.

The final result is a rich, tasty chicken stew that is slightly sweet, and a little spicy.

Jamaican brown stew chicken is often served with rice and peas, fried plantains, or vegetables and is a beloved comfort food in Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean.

13) Fried Dumplings (Johnny Cakes)

Foods From Jamaica - Johnny Cakes Jamaica

Johnny cakes are a traditional Jamaican pastry similar to a small, dense biscuit or bread roll. The cakes are made with a simple dough, typically made from flour, baking powder, salt, and water or milk.

The dough is kneaded and rolled into small balls, then flattened into a circular shape and cooked on a grill or in a frying pan until golden brown and crispy outside.

The finished Johnny cakes are served warm with butter, jam, or other toppings.

Johnny cakes are popular breakfast foods from Jamaica and pair well with coffee or tea. They are also popular street food; find them at local markets and food stalls throughout the island.

14) Sweet Potato Pudding

Sweet potato pudding is a traditional Jamaican food of the dessert kind.

This sweet pudding consists of grated sweet potatoes, coconut milk, spices, and other ingredients.

The texture of the pudding is dense and moist, with a rich and complex flavour that is a perfect balance of sweet and spicy. It’s best eaten warm as a dessert or a breakfast dish.

15) Rum Cake

Foods From Jamaica - Rum Cake

Rum cake is a favoured dessert in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean.

It is a moist and decadent cake flavoured with rum and often filled with dried fruits and nuts. It is usually soaked in a rum glaze, adding even more flavour and moisture to the cake.

Rum cake is a beloved dessert in Jamaica and a popular souvenir for tourists on the island. You can find it in many local bakeries and markets, so be sure to indulge in some Jamaican rum cake before you leave.

Foods From Jamaica - Map

Tips For Travel in the Caribbean

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like to know about these 11 Caribbean Islands’ best beaches to visit.

We visited many Caribbean Island nations on our journey to visit every country. Our recap of the Caribbean islands and countries visited in 2019 may offer some good tips to help you plan your visit too.

However, logistically planning an Island Hopping Trip in the Caribbean (all 13 nations) is full of challenges. Are you up for it?

Along the way, many Caribbean island cuisines impressed us! Be sure to try these 10 popular foods in the Bahamas, and our top 10 delicious dishes in Haiti that you must try!

For future travels, don’t miss our top 6 Travel Hacks to save you money and our Ultimate Packing List for Travellers. And you may learn a few great tips after reading our best ever-travel tips after 15 years of travel.

Find all of our best travel tips, advice, and things we use and recommend to travel the world on our Travel Resources Page.