10 Authentic Jamaican Foods to Try
Updated: Oct 3
Natural beauty, music, and culture abound in the tiny Caribbean gem of Jamaica.
Jamaica, however, takes things to a whole new level when it comes to cuisine. Here are some of the best Jamaican foods you should try when visiting the island:
1. Mannish Water
Mannish water is a light soup made from scraps of goat meat and is a Jamaican favorite.
Although it sounds scary, it is a spicy, homey dish that makes a great starter for any Jamaican meal.
2. Beef Patty
It isn't your average lunchmeat.
Beef patties are buttery dough-encased meat patties that are fried. Delicious!
This must-try Jamaican staple originated with beef, but today you can find many different filling options.
They even offer veggie patties.
There is no way you can visit Jamaica without tasting a classic stew.
Menu starters will likely include red pea soup and pumpkin soup. Despite sounding simple, these soups should not be underestimated.
Food in Jamaica is always well-seasoned. Stews, for example, marinate in their flavor and simmer until dinnertime.
4. Ackee and Saltfish
The national dish of Jamaica is ackee and saltfish, making it a tourist must-try.
Ackee is a fruit sauteed in spices and saltfish and served with yams or bananas.
The dish is traditionally served at breakfast but can be eaten at any time of the day.
5. Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Pork
Aren't you glad we didn't forget Jamaica's most famous dish?
Jerk food has been available on the island for hundreds of years and is still abundant today.
The beauty of this food is that it can be found anywhere, from street stalls to the most upscale restaurants.
Jamaican jerk is traditionally cooked over pimento chips with chicken or pork as the most common option.
6. Jamaican Rice & Peas
This dish is typically served with stews and is perfectly seasoned.
It's an essential part of Jamaican cuisine, and it can be served with any protein.
7. Curry Goat
Curry goat is also a Jamaican staple, but it is spicier than its Indian counterpart.
It's served with white rice, usually at Christmas and during family gatherings.
8. Escovitch Fish
Escovitch is a method of cooking meat with acidic vinegar-based sauces.
This method originated in Spanish cuisine, but Jamaicans have added their touch to produce escovitch fish with the day's fresh catch.
Locally grown and similar to spinach, callaloo is served alongside other staples as breakfast in Jamaica.
Jamaican breakfast can be a decadent affair, so take the opportunity to fill up on callaloo, one of the only light and healthy offerings.
10. Sweet Potato Pudding
Who doesn't have a sweet tooth?
There's nothing better than Jamaican sweet potato pudding.
Ice cream and a beachside view pair perfectly with this dessert.
If you're unsure where to start planning your trip to Jamaica or somewhere else on your bucket list, we'd love to help you. We work with many different budgets and styles of travel. Reach out today to arrange a quick 15-minute chat at a time that's convenient for you.