Jamaica entices visitors with the promise of sun, sea, rum and reggae – and our luxury Caribbean holidays are sure to deliver a welcome helping of all those good things! However, in between the snorkelling trips and sun-lounging, take some time to fill up on authentic Jamaican cuisine. With a heavy emphasis on meat, served with a welcome helping of spice, these are the Jamaican foods to try on your villa holiday in Jamaica.
Jerk chicken and pork
One of the most popular Jamaican foods to try is, of course, Jerk chicken. The marinade and spice rub has been recreated all over the world, but there’s nothing like enjoying your seasoned meat cooked slowly over pimento wood and hot coals. Unsurprisingly, there are few places on the island where Jerk’s not on the menu, but for an authentic experience, we’d recommend visiting the Pork Pit at Montego Bay. Don’t be put off by its rough and ready appearance though: their fresh and spicy meats are the best in the area.
Hard dough bread
Locally referred to as hardo bread, this sweet-meets-savory snack will have you rethinking how you ever made do with Hovis. Best served warm and lathered in butter, it serves as a chewy, slightly sugary take on bread that’s especially good when dipped into thick Jamaican hot chocolate.
For a taste of the finest hard dough bread, make the drive over to Port Antonio and visit the much-loved Coronation Bakery. Then, coast your way back to your luxury villa in Jamaica with the warm sea air on your face and a freshly cooked loaf on your lap. What could be better?
Ackee and saltfish
Dating back to the 18th century when ackee was first brought to the island from Ghana, this unusual duo is actually Jamaica’s national dish. It’s prepared by boiling the ackee until tender, combining with codfish and seasoning with plenty of herbs, spices, salt and pepper. The ackee ends up looking like scrambled eggs, which may explain why it’s enjoyed at both breakfast and dinner.
Sweet potato pudding
Anyone with a sweet tooth will delight in Jamaican sweet potato pudding. This traditional Sunday dessert is made up of grated sweet potato, coconut milk, dried fruit, rum and spices – the perfect precursor to an afternoon nap on the beach. The best kind is soft on top, firmer underneath, and finished with a scattering of pecans. Some places with a dollop of cream if you want to really indulge – you’re on holiday after all!
Jamaican beef patties
Looking for a portable snack you can slip in your pocket or pick up on a beachside stroll? Jamaican beef patties are our top choice. They’ve been imitated around the world, but nothing compares to the ones made on the island. Wrapping flaky, buttery pastry around minced beef, this Caribbean take on an empanada can also be found with seafood or vegetarian fillings to suit all tastes.
Whether it’s eaten fried, boiled or roasted, for breakfast, dinner and dessert, plantain is undeniably Jamaica’s favourite vegetable. Depending on ripeness, they can be used as a side in place of potatoes, or made into a sweet plantain tart, but you’ll find them on practically every authentic menu across the island.