The Very Best of Authentic Jamaican Cuisine: Dishes to Try

A few weeks ago I wrote about Brixton, a cultural mecca in south London. In the article, I mentioned the Jamaican scene there, and the authentic Jamaican restaurants serving traditional Caribbean dishes. Because of its vast population of residents of Jamaican/Caribbean heritage, the food scene there is insane. In fact, it’s probably one of the best places outside of Jamaica itself to try some of the most authentic Jamaican cuisine. So, whether you’re heading to Brixton or Jamaica sometime soon, I thought I’d write about some of the best traditional dishes that you absolutely must try. Being a foodie, how could I resist?

Authentic Jamaican Cuisine You Must Try

Jerk chicken

Jerk chicken had to take first place, obviously. The most well-known of Jamaican dishes is a must-try when in Jamaica (or Brixton, for that matter). Jerk chicken is essentially pieces of chicken rubbed and marinated in a blend of hot spices, called Jamaican jerk spice. It’s then typically smoked over pimento wood. The chicken marinade is usually made from onions, peppers, garlic, white vinegar, lime, and ground allspice. It’s then served with salad and festival or rice and peas. Yum.

Authentic Jamaican Cuisine
Jerk chicken by Naotake Murayama on Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Curry goat

Another incredibly popular dish in Jamaica is curry goat. From my own experiences eating goat in Portugal I know that it’s delicious. It’s like a more tender version of lamb, in my opinion. Anyway, curry goat is made from chopped-up goat meat and typically includes the bones too. The curry is made up of curry powder, onions, spring onions and chillies, plus other spices. The mixture is then blended together and rubbed over the meat pieces, and then browned in a frying pan with butter. The remnants of the marinade is then combined with diced potatoes and carrots, and cooked in a saucepan with the goat. Serve with rice and peas, and you’ve got yourself an authentic Jamaican cuisine, curry goat dish.

Authentic Jamaican Cuisine
Curry goat by Glen MacLarty on Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Jamaican patties

These delicious, much-loved patties are commonly consumed as a snack in Jamaica. Similar to a meat pie/English pasty, Jamaican patties are essentially pastry that’s stuffed with meat, fish or vegetables. Of course, being food from Jamaica, the fillings are usually mixed with a whole host of spices. Definitely worth a try!

Jamaican patties by Jason Lam on Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Bully beef

Typically eaten for breakfast with fried plantains, bully beef is essentially corned beef cooked in garlic, onions, hot and sweet peppers, tomatoes and water. Some of the onions, tomatoes and peppers are diced, and then combined with the bully beef (corned beef) in a bowl. The remaining ingredients are then fried in oil, and combined with the meat mixture and water after about ten minutes. It seems strange that Jamaicans eat this for breakfast, but don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

Frying plantains by Andrew Ratto on Flickr // CC BY 2.0

About Lauren Davidson

Since 2013, Lauren has been writing for various travel and lifestyle websites. Her first piece of writing was a travel guide on the Algarve region of Portugal, where she lived for over a year. Currently residing in Sheffield, England, she is studying Journalism and has a blog at www.natteringblonde.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @Lozikinz.

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