When traveling to different countries you can’t truly say you’ve experienced that place without trying the local foods. Jamaica is one of those countries where it will send your taste buds on a wild journey. When visiting Jamaica there are some must-have dishes that you can’t leave the island without trying. There are so many different foods to try that it may become a little overwhelming at times. These cuisines can be eaten at any time of the day and are interchangeable between breakfast, lunch and even dinner. Here are our Must Have Jamaican Cuisines:

Ackee and Saltfish

Ackee & Saltfish

Jamaica’s national dish is Ackee and Saltfish(cod), and it is general made the same way by everyone. It is first boiled then after cooked with onions, tomatoes and depending on the chef it can contain different spices, just to add their individual touch to the dish. Ackee is a Jamaican fruit and it originally came to Jamaica from Ghana in the early 1700s.

Jerk Chicken

Jerk ChickenIf you ask anyone from any part of the world, that’s somewhat familiar with Jamaica to name one popular food, the answer will be Jerk Chicken. Jerk chicken is prepared traditionally smoked on a grill with pimento wood, and it’s normal to see it being prepared by the locals on the roadside stalls to a five-star restaurant. What normally gives the Jerk Chicken it’s tasty flavor are the different sauces that the

chicken is marinated in, which can range from mild to extremely spicy. It is a dish that can be eaten with bread or rice.

Curry Chicken/Goat

must have jamaican cuisine

The Indian population is probably the people to thank for Curry spices. The meal is seasoned with a variety of spices and after the spices have marinated, the next step is burning the curry. What this entails is heating the oil with the curry powder until the color starts to change, at that point is where the meat is usually added in. This step isn’t absolute must some people put the curry already as a season on the meat instead of burning it; however you should leave that to the professionals. Then the meat is then slowly cooked until tendered. It is popularly served with rice but you can eat with a side of your choice


Callaloo is a dish made from leaf vegetables, these are known as xanthosomo, taro or amaranth (commonly amaranth, taro or xanthosomo. Callaloo can be mistaken for Spinach, it can be prepared by itself or Saltfish(Cod) can be used to complement the vegetable.

Escovitch Fish

This dish is eaten all year round but more so around Easter, especially on Good Friday. It is said that this dish originated from Spanish Jewish settlers. The way this is usually prepared is a whole fried fish is covered in vegetables, which may include scotch bonnet peppers, carrots, pimentos, onion and chayote. It is a known fact that if you eat it a day later after it is made it is even tastier because the vegetables had more time to marinate in the fish.


Oxtail is rich in flavor, the meat, of course, is seasoned before-hand and this dish is cooked in a pressure cooker which can significantly cut down the cooking time. It is cooked until the desired softness is achieved which is about 20-35 minutes. Then is cooked for additional time until the meat has a dark brown color and the sauce is thick. Some patience is required to cook this delectable meal, and of course, it popularly served with rice and peas.

Stew Peas

This dish can be cooked with a variety of meats, meats that include beef and pigtails are common for the stew and sometimes the stew is had without meat. Red kidney beans are necessary for this dish and are boiled until slightly cooked. The meat is then added and the pot seasoned until its desired saucy taste is achieved. Some cooks may add coconut milk to give it extra flavor, and tiny flour rolls which are called “spinners” that seem to bring something indescribably delicious to this dish. It is most commonly served with white rice.

Beef patty and Coco bread

beef patty & coco bread

There is nothing like a Jamaican Beef patty that is paired with Coco Bread. There are many other options instead of beef but that it the most popular and common patty there is. The different filling ranges from chicken, shrimp, lobster and fish and also veggie. There are two well-known establishments that are said to have the best patties you’ll ever try and they are Tastees and Juici beef.



Rice and Peas

Rice and Peas is a popular side dish that can be served with almost anything. The peas are actually red kidney beans that are common to the States, however, Jamaicans normally cook it with coconut milk for its unique taste.


Bammy is a delicious flatbread that’s made from cassava or known as Yuca. Bammy tastes as amazing as it does because the cassava is soaked in coconut milk and then fried.


Similar to a dumpling but in more of a cylindrical shape, the base is cornmeal but also includes sugar, flour, spices, milk or water. It’s fried until golden brown. It can complement almost anything and be served alongside jerk meats to fried fish.


Breadfruit is another fruit that can be cooked in multiple ways. You can roast, it fries it, and even bake it. It can be eaten with saltfish, ackee, and chicken.



Red Peas Soup

This is made with most of the same ingredients as other soups with the exception of the high dosage of red kidney beans which give the dish its unique flavor and color. Majority of cooks include a small addition of pigtails, however, that is up to the discretion of the cook.

Mannish Water

This has to be the favorite soup of all time for locals, it is made from goat and the actually contents you may not want to know but it’s so very delicious