How to Eat Like a Jamaican – 5 of the Best Traditional Dishes for Foodie Travelers
In exploring the vast corners of the globe, nothing lingers in our memories more than the taste of the local cuisine on our palates. Often, it’s the first thing we pluck from our memories when recollecting a vacation past. Sweet naan bread and chai on the river Ganges at day break. Grilled pineapple and coconut cocktails at a Waikiki luau at sunset. Sashimi and sake in the neon-soaked streets of Tokyo at midnight. We always remember that one meal, the flavours that defined it, and where we were when we ate it.
Seeking out local cuisine and discovering hidden culinary gems is perhaps one of the most satisfying of all travel activities. With the birth of Jamaican jerk right around the corner at Boston Beach, Port Antonio is no stranger to gastronomic gems. From bodega-style jerk chicken shacks and beachfront rum bars, to Caribbean-Japanese fusion and world-class cocktails at luxury hotels, you’ll find it all here. Here are some of our favourite, must-try Jamaican dishes that are sure to enrich your Caribbean adventure.
Follow the smell of Scotch Bonnet peppers and all spice and you’ll find a “Jerk” hut. This Jamaican classic has its roots not far from Port Antonio in Boston Beach, where Maroons learnt to preserve meat by seasoning it with salt, peppers and spices and wrapping it in leaves. Clustered throughout the coastal towns of Jamaica, you can’t go past jerk chicken without giving it a taste.
Also known as Caribbean dumplings, this is bread, but not as you know it. Festival is comfort food at its finest, and is best enjoyed fresh out of the fryer. These crunchy cornbread treats can be served with jerk chicken and creamy coleslaw or popped into a greasy paper bag to be savoured as a snack.
Freshly caught and prepared with the right blend of Jamaican spices, this could be the best seafood dish of your life. Our pick? Belinda’s Crayfish Coconut Rundown, prepared with shredded coconut, the classic Scotch Bonnet pepper and fresh herbs. Belinda’s riverside restaurant is bursting with Jamaican charm and is a favourite amongst guests. A must-visit during a stay in Port Antonio.
Ackee and Saltfish
Sweet and salty, this is Jamaica’s national dish. Quite simply, a visit to Jamaica is incomplete without it. A breakfast favourite amongst the locals, it’s our Estate Chefs specialty. Ackee, a locally grown fruit with lychee likeness, is tossed together with locally caught saltfish and seasoned with Scotch Bonnet peppers, tomatoes and all spice. The result? The undeniable taste of Jamaica.
Bursting with sweet coconut, nutmeg and ginger, this bite-sized dessert has evolved from the Portuguese guisada into a unique Jamaican favourite. Often referred to as a ‘pinch-me-round’ for the characteristic look of the crunchy outer shell, this sweet and spicy tart is hugely popular with the locals and devilishly good.