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Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022

Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022

Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022


Jamaican cuisine is highly influenced by many cultures, as it has been a place of passage for Africans, British, Indians, Chinese. In any case, the most common foods are cassava, corn, guava, fish (mackerel and cod stand out) and roast meat. Here is a list of the most interesting typical dishes to eat during a trip to Jamaica. At the bottom of the page, you will also find drinks.


Many Jamaicans believe that cornmeal porridge is the ultimate fitness food. Some households traditionally make cornmeal porridge for breakfast, which increases strength. The porridge, widely eaten in Jamaica, consists of slow-cooked cornmeal flavored with milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla, then sweetened to taste. Cornmeal porridge is usually served hot with a generous slice of bread and butter. It is perfect to start the day.

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Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022


It is the national dish of Jamaica and is almost a must to try during your journey. The fleshy, yellow part of the ackee fruit pod is cooked with salt cod. It is usually eaten for breakfast, and you will see that they look like scrambled eggs. The Ackee is a fruit from the lychee family and was imported from West Africa in the late 18th century. When it is still unripe, this fruit can be poisonous, so it is essential to choose well the place to eat the Ackee with Balacao since you can end up with a stomach ache and vomiting. We recommend doing it in a good hotel.


One of the most popular fried in Jamaica. The so-called “festival” differs from johnnycakes (see below) in that they are sweeter, oval-shaped, and made with cornmeal. Legend has it that the name of these cornbread cakes comes from the fact that they are fun to eat, like a “festival” or party in the mouth.


It is one of the oldest dishes in Jamaican cuisine. “Escovitch” refers to the method of marinating fish in a spicy sauce. The name comes from the Spanish word escabeche, which means marinated. The fish is lightly fried, drained, and then dipped in a vinegar marinade boiled with onions, cuttlefish (a native Jamaican vegetable), carrots, and hot peppers.


It’s usually grilled chicken or pork with a spicy, smoky flavour, resulting from super-secret ingredients in the seasoning. What makes it unique is allspice: a spicy condiment made from dried pepper berries, scotch pepper, onion, thyme, and ginger.

Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022


Bammy is a flat, round bread made from cassava flour. It is usually served as a side dish to food. It goes very well with fried fish. It is said to be the bread that Christopher Columbus ate with his crew at his first meeting with the Arawak Indians, who were the first inhabitants of Jamaica. Bammies are also served with syrup for breakfast.


You will find this dish in almost all Jamaican restaurants. The oxtail is fried until both sides are dark brown. It is then cooked in a pressure cooker for 20-30 minutes until it becomes tender. The pot is seasoned with local herbs and spices and carrots and beans. Cook over low heat until the sauce thickens. Delicious!


Don’t be fooled by the name; it’s a spicy fish soup. There are different versions, some lighter than others. Garra rufa, or doctor fish, a local fish, is used to prepare it. It is said to restore strength to the body. It is a hearty soup with vegetables and green plantains. Don’t forget that this soup is considered an aphrodisiac, so eat it carefully.


A popular dish throughout the Caribbean that features a dark leafy vegetable such as callaloo in Jamaica (or water spinach in other nations). They steam it and then add fish, salt, onion, and chives to the island.


One of the most popular dishes in Jamaica: consists of a base of rice cooked with beans with coconut milk and seasonings that give it an exquisite flavour. It is a ubiquitous dish throughout the Caribbean area; however, in Jamaica it is nicknamed the “Coat of Arms of Jamaica” due to its role as a main dish in Jamaican cuisine.

Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022


It is an empanada that contains various fillings and spices. The crust of said empanadilla is usually tinted golden colours due to a mixture of egg yolk and turmeric. It is a culinary speciality of Jamaican cuisine and other Caribbean areas.


It is a tasty Jamaican fish stew. Usually, cod or mackerel is used and cooked in coconut milk, onion, garlic and tomatoes. It is delicious served with dumplings, rice or boiled plantains.


It is one example of what immigrants from India contributed to traditional Jamaican food. When slavery ended, tens of thousands of people from India came to work on the plantations and brought their love of curry spices. Although there is now a small Indian population, the love of curry is still very much alive.

Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022
Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022


A fried, fritter-like ball of dough is often eaten for breakfast. Most fried meatballs are made from flour, including other starches such as corn flour, cassava flour, or grated plantains.


Well, this is not a dish for all audiences. It is a traditional Jamaican soup made with chicken feet, carrots, yams, boiled meatballs, and seasoned with Jamaican spices such as scotch pepper, thyme, and garlic.


It is a dessert made from grated coconut and sugar (sometimes it also contains ginger). Coconut and sugar are brought to a boil and spread out on a baking sheet. Once hardened, it is cut into triangles or squares.


Jamaica’s iconic beer is a lager. You can also find Red Stripe Light, Red Stripe Bold, and two flavoured Red Stripe variants, Lemon and Sorrel.


Sorrel is a red drink made from hibiscus. It is available throughout the year, but it is the drink of choice at Christmas time in Jamaica. You can also add rum.

Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022
Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022


Jamaican Malt is a lightly carbonated malt beverage. It is made with barley, hops and water. It is like a beer that has not yet been fermented, so it does not contain alcohol and is consumed in the same way as soft drinks in their original carbonated form. We could say that it is like the “Cocacola” of Jamaica. You must take it cold and with ice.


It is a cocktail made up of a green layer (daiquiri), a yellow layer (mango) and a red stripe (strawberry): like a multicoloured granita, and it is perfectly instagrammable. Although Sandals Resort created this recipe, you can find it at any tourist spot in Jamaica.


Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside a young green coconut. Coconut water is excellent for hydration; it’s fat-free and packed with antioxidants. But be careful, as it is also a natural laxative.


Sometimes made with Guinness, sometimes with oatmeal, the main ingredients of this drink are peanuts, nutmeg, vanilla extract and milk. The myth behind this drink is that it has aphrodisiac powers.

Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022
Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022


Jamaican cuisine mixes African and English cuisine; most of its dishes have an intense flavour due to the many condiments used to marinate the dishes. The base comprises fish, chicken, rice, vegetables, fruits and spices. 

Some of the typical Jamaican dishes that we have not mentioned before are Pork with Jamaican pepper papaya “chutney”, which are pieces of papaya, mango and ginger marinated in tamarind juice, vinegar and chilli. 

Also noteworthy is the rabbit with rum and the Jamaican omelette (made with eggs, spinach, carrot, celery, potatoes and tomatoes)

What most characterizes Jamaican cuisine is the variety of spices such as ginger or curry. Jamaican pepper is known for its intense flavour and powerful aroma.

Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022

The typical drinks of Jamaica are characterized by having an intense flavour, and they are Jamaican rum and coffee liqueur. Tropical juices and fruit smoothies are also particular. It is essential to highlight the famous Appleton rum, one of the best brands of aged rums. 

Drinking juices in the Caribbean is highly recommended since they have a wide variety of fruits in Jamaica, even so, travellers have to be careful, since many times they mix tap water or the ice of the juices are made with the water of the tap, which can lead to some stomach aches for travellers. 

That is why we recommend that before ordering a juice, you make sure that they mix it with bottled water, and we also recommend that you tag it without ice to save yourself some trouble. Anyway,

Jamaican Food the taste of the island

There’s nothing like trying jerk or savouring an ice-cold Red Stripe on a hot summer day. Jamaica is a feast for the taste buds, and in every corner of our grand tiny island, you will find something to whet your appetite.

Delicious seasonal fruits full of flavour, hundreds of spices and a melting pot of culinary traditions make Jamaica a gastronomic paradise. Savour what makes us feel at home in fine dining restaurants, shops, beach bars and fruit stalls throughout the island. We will delight you with exotic foods that you have never heard of but that you will remember for life.

Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022
Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022

Don’t be an idiot, eat it! 

Today the method of cooking meat in Jamaica has become an institution. There is a version of the jerk recipe for just about any palate from chicken to pork to lobster to fish. Like the soft white sand of our beaches or the throbbing beats of reggae music, jerk cuisine is world-famous. Jerk is a cooking method and a harmonious blend of spices originating from 17th-century enslaved Jamaicans. During the colonization of Jamaica by the British, the resilient runaway slaves known as the Maroons eluded the settlers by fleeing to the mountainous regions of the interior. To hide their location from their adversaries, they prepared meals underground, on charcoal and pimento wood, common in the hills of Jamaica. 

The combination of sweet and salty spices mixed with the fragrance of wood is tough to resist. Jerk is plentiful on the island, and you can find it at street stalls, fast food restaurants like Scotchies, or even fancy restaurants in the resorts themselves. Pair it with any of our favourite sides: festivals -a sweet fried dough-, bammies -made from cassava- or roasted sweet potatoes.

Rastafarian cuisine 

Ital food is a natural method of food preparation developed by Rastafarians in support of a healthy lifestyle. It includes no red meat and relies on fresh fruits and vegetables from the land directly. Typical of I-tal cuisine is the absence of salt as an additive focusing on many herbs and spices. Ital food is the Jamaican version of vegetarian cooking.

The Jamaican Pie 

Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022

A delicious and savoury filling inside a dough that melts in your mouth it’s the Jamaican empanada. Descended from the Cornish pasty, the Jamaican pie is a must-eat meal on your visit to Jamaica. 

These crescent-shaped delicacies are sold in shops and bakeries all over the island, and although they are often eaten for lunch, they are eaten throughout the day and are affordable for all budgets. 

Big companies like Tastes, Juicy Patties and Madres have built a legacy around the humble patty with their mix of spices and techniques. Try them and choose your favourite! Don’t forget the perfect partner for the empanada, the cocoa bread. This soft sweet bread pairs beautifully with the empanada in this 100% Jamaican recipe. 

Desserts and Cakes 

Our desserts are as sweet as reggae music! Here are some to try during your visit:

Grater Tart: This sweet treat is made from shredded coconut, sugar, and food colouring. It is often pink at the top. 

Gizzada: Also known as Pinch Me Round due to its curly crust, gizzadas combine the earthy flavour of sugared nutmeg and coconut on a slightly buttery crust.

Tie A Leaf / Dukunu: Green bananas, sweet potatoes, and coconut make up this boiled pudding, wrapped in banana leaves to preserve its shape and flavour.

Tamarind Balls – The tartness of tamarind covered/rolled in sugar. A delicious and quite sweet confection that is easily found in supermarkets, gas stations and even restaurants. 

Busta – This dark, hard candy is a mixture of coconut and wet sugar, named after Jamaica’s first Prime Minister, Alexander Bustamante.

Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022
Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022

Chocolate Tea – No cocoa powder or package can compare to a cup of Jamaican chocolate tea. This relaxing drink is made by soaking balls of grated chocolate in milk and spices—the perfect way to end the day on the island. 

Fruits vegetables 

In Jamaica, we are lucky. As a tropical island with beautiful weather all year round, we have hundreds of exotic fruits and vegetables to choose from. Mother Nature pampers us from mangoes and bananas to our national fruit ackee.

With a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that grow throughout the year, Jamaica is ideal for those who take care of themselves. As you travel around the island, here are some fruits and vegetables you may recognize:

Ackee: Our national fruit, ackee, is not only a good source of protein but a feast for paladars. It is essential to wait until the capsule opened before eating it. Otherwise, the results will not be entirely pleasant.

Breadfruit: One of the most versatile and delicious fruits out there, the breadfruit tastes like bread. Roasted or boiled, it has a potato-like consistency and a lovely flavour. 

Callaloo: A breakfast staple, callaloo is a highly nutritious plant, noted as a rich source of vitamins and minerals. This leafy vegetable is commonly served steamed and tastes similar to spinach, though not as bitter. 

Cho Cho (Chayote): Not your typical fruit, Cho Cho is best enjoyed in dishes such as soups and stews. When cooked, this pear-shaped fruit tastes like a cross between a cucumber and a potato.

Guinea: Bananas are similar to grapes, albeit with a thin layer of green skin with orange jelly flesh. The tart flavour is quite addictive, so don’t be surprised if you repeat! Be careful, fruit juice stains!

June Plum: An excellent source of iron and protein, the June Plum is both juicy and tart. Sometimes a pinch of salt gives the fruit an explosive flavour.

Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022
Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022

Jamaican Coconut: A delight, Jamaican coconut has a creamy, comforting flavor. With large shovel-shaped leaves, it takes almost a year to mature. But is it worth it? 

Otaheite Apple (Cocoplum): The refreshing Otaheite apple is a burst of sweetness. Crimson red skin covers its neat white, pear-shaped flesh. This fruit is an excellent way to stay hydrated and has even treated diabetes and other diseases.

Star Apple: This delicious fruit appears in dark purple to green variations with a core of soft flesh pulp. Apples are often referred to as the “bad” fruit by Jamaicans, as they never fall off their stems, even after they have ripened. Still, the star apple offers a generous helping of satisfaction, though try to avoid the skin as it can be bitter. The pulp is traditionally used with condensed milk to make’ Matrimonio’ dessert.

Stinking Toe:

 This rather peculiar fruit gets its name from the appearance of a large big toe. Its accompanying scent can make you hesitate; however, the large seed pod houses a delicious, sweet but floury pulp. Fruit of one of the most giant trees in the Caribbean, ‘Stinking Toe’ is also used in folk medicine to relieve headaches and rheumatism.

Sumber (Gully Beans): These small green berries with a bitter taste are very popular in Jamaican cuisine. Some people include it in the national dish, Ackee, and Saltfish, or stews and soups. Cucumber is rich in iron, and the leaves have been used to make tea as a remedy for colds.

Sweetsop: This fruit has an aromatic and sweet pulp similar to cream. The candy makes a great dessert or breakfast fruit and is an excellent vitamin C and manganese source.

Ortanique Citrus Fruits

: A cross between a mandarin orange and an orange, the Ortanique is an exceptionally juicy, seedless citrus fruit grown in Jamaica. It is enjoyed both in its natural form and in juices. They are found between February and April.

Bitter orange: Also known as bitter orange or Sevillana, locals enjoy this citrus fruit as an alternative to lemons and make refreshing lemonade. Although many have found the fruit too unpalatable to eat straight from the tree, bitter orange helps make jam, cook

Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022
Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022

Tangerine: The second best thing about Jamaican tangerine is how easily it can be peeled. Try its delicious sweetmeat, and you will agree with us. The carpals (sections) separate easily, making the feast of this fruit even more rewarding. They can also be added to salads or desserts for a sweet and tangy flavor.

Uniq (Ugli Fruit): Indigenous to Jamaica, the ugli or fruit is an exotic option available between November and April. Although the name may not sound appetizing, this citrus fruit is delicious. It is said that the hybridization of a tangerine created it,

What is typical Jamaican food?

Traditional Jamaican Food

  • Ackee and Codfish. Ackee and Salt Codfish is Jamaica’s national dish, and an interesting and delicious dish at that. …
  • Rice and Peas. So what goes on the plate with your jerk chicken? …
  • Callaloo. …
  • Bammy. …
  • Coco Bread. …
  • Jamaican Beef Patties. …
  • Authentic Jerk Chicken. …
  • Curry Goat.

Jamaican Cuisine: 10 Must-Try Jamaican Dishes

  • Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Pork: the most well-known Jamaican cuisine.
  • Ackee and Saltfish.
  • Stews and Soups.
  • Jamaican Rice and Peas.
  • Curry Goat.
  • Mannish Water.
  • Beef Patty.
  • Escoveitch Fish.

What is a traditional Jamaican dinner?

Dinner– Curry Chicken, Curry Shrimp, Escovitch Fish, Steam Fish, Oxtails, Stew Peas, Stew Pork, Tripe and Beans, Cow feet. Steam Beef cabbage with either salt fish or Corn Beef. Curry Goat may be served, but is is mostly reserved for Sunday Dinners or special occasions.

10 Iconic Caribbean Dishes You’ve Got To Try at Least Once

  • Barbados: Coucou and Flying Fish.
  • Trinidad & Tobago: Crab & Callaloo.
  • Bahamas: Conch Fritters.
  • Antigua and Barbuda: Fungee and Pepperpot.
  • Puerto Rico: Mofongo.
  • Dominican Republic: La Bandera.
  • St Lucia: Creole Bread.
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Best Traditional Jamaican Food CUISINE 2022

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