Jamaican cuisine is a unique cuisine served in Jamaica.
Jamaican cuisine is a healthier diet than most because it is made with many unprocessed foods and uses smaller amounts of red meats with much more fish, beans and vegetables. Ginger, garlic, allspice and hot peppers are basic seasonings used in Jamaican cuisine. Unhealthier trends are emerging as Jamaica has taken on some of the traits of its many visitors, particularly British cuisine and American cuisine.
British cuisine and American cuisine are not new to the island. Through many years of British colonialism the cuisine developed many habits of cooking particular to a trading colony such as the consumption of tea. The natives of Jamaica drink the most tea per capita in the Caribbean to this day as a result.
There is a difference in the flavors of meats, such as pork and chicken, from other countries because of differences in the diet of the animals being fed on local foodstuffs as opposed to imported grains. Jamaican chickens in particular have a unusually rich flavor. Jamaicans eat much more chicken than beef or pork.
Mango and Soursop Ice Cream are two popular desserts. Jamaican ice cream is traditionally made with coconut milk, rather than milk or cream as used elsewhere. The most popular Jamaican ice cream flavors are Grapenut (not the cereal) and Rum Raisin.
Jamaican Jerk Spice
Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meats (traditionally pork, but now including chicken, fish, tofu) are dry-rubbed with a fiery spice mixture (called Jamaican jerk spice) and then cooked in a pit, on a grill or on an open fire (an oven will do in a pinch). Jerk refers to the technique, the spice mixture, and the finished product.
The jerk seasoning relies upon a few typical items: Allspice (Jamaican pepper, Jamaican pimento) and habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers being the most common basic ingredients, (both of which are very challenging peppers). Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme and other ingredients are often added. It is now possible to find pre-made jerk seasoning mixes.
Christopher Columbus visited Jamaica multiple times towards the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, once even shipwrecked off the north coast for 2 years (1503-1504). During these visits he described a way the Tainos (the ancient people of Jamaica) used in preserving meat by mixing peppers, allspice and sea salt to make what is now known as Jamaican jerk spice.
A street food that contains various fillings and spices baked inside a flaky pastry shell. As its name suggests, it is commonly found in Jamaica, and is also eaten in other areas of the Caribbean. It is traditionally filled with ground beef, however, fillings now include chicken, vegetables, fish and cheese.
The Jamaican spiced bun is shaped like a loaf of bread and is a dark brown colour. It is commonly eaten with cheese and is also eaten with butter or alone. Jamaican spiced buns can be toasted.
• Yuca (Cassava)
• Plantains (starchy bananas)
• Scotch bonnet peppers
• Sweet potatoes
• Chayote (locally known as "chocho")
• Malanga (locally known as "coco")
• Jamaican jerk spice
• Black-eyed peas