History & Flavour of Jamaican Dishes

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Jamaican cuisine is unique and incredibly delicious. There are two things that make dishes so different. First, food is created using a variety of spices not commonly used in other types of ethnic food and second, this cuisine is a wonderful combination of different ethnicities to include East India, Great Britain, China, and Africa, as well as Jamaica’s own influence.

Along with special seasonings, most of Jamaica’s food consists of fresh vegetables and meats. In addition to being tasty, many dishes are considered healthy. Of course, island grown fresh fruits are one-of-a-kind to include stinking toe, breadfruit, gunep, jackfruit, cerasse, sorrel, and guinep, among others. Jamaica is also known for a variety of fresh vegetables such as Callalloo and Ackee and seafood caught fresh daily.

Although there are several dishes known throughout Jamaica, the island’s national dish is a perfect mixture of Ackee and Saltfish. There are also different methods of preparing food with the most popular being “jerk”. This method of preparing food involves meat being jerked and poked with a sharp object, followed special jerk seasons filling the open holes. This specific cooking method dates back to the days of Maroon slaves who used the method to preserve meat.

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It is common for chicken and beef to be prepared using the jerk method but pork is one of the longest standing traditions, something first done by West African tribe hunters called Cormantee. Even though jerk food is popular throughout the Caribbean, there are several different meanings for the term. However, most Jamaicans believe the term is derived from the word “Charqui”, which translates to dried or jerked. Because jerk dishes are in such high demand, food items are sold by roadside vendors as well as five-star restaurants.

Another popular Jamaican cuisine is made with curry. This particular spice also has a long-standing history, something introduced by Indian immigrants who landed on the island in the mid-17th century. Curry is actually a wonderful blend of several spices used to season various meats and seafood although in Jamaica, it is commonly used when cooking with goat meat.

Vegetarian cuisine is also a favorite among locals and tourists alike. The food typically consists of soy and vegetables, all carefully prepared without the use of salt. While not for everyone, vegetarian food is widely available in Negril Jamaica and other areas of the island.

People who visit Negril will find literally any type of cuisine imaginable but no trip is complete without trying at least one of the authentic dishes listed below:

• Bulla – To satisfy a sweet tooth, Bulla is the perfect choice. Made with flour, baking powder, and molasses, this round cake is simply yummy.

• Rastafarian Corn Porridge – While people enjoy this dish with any meal, it is usually served at breakfast and consists of hominy corn flavored with coconut milk that is turned into porridge

• Grater Cake – This sweet cake consists of fresh coconut that has been grated and then wrapped in fondant

• Escoveited Fish / Lobster – This is a mouth-watering dish made with a variety of fresh caught fish or lobster that is first marinated in heavy spices, then fried, and finally, smothered in hot peppers, onions, and vinegar

• Fritters – For this, meat and a wonderful selection of fresh vegetables are beautifully coated and deep fried to a perfect golden brown color

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Along with delectable cuisine, people also marvel at delicious and unique beverages found on the island. For instance, Irish Moss is hot tea made from creamy milk, as well as a variety of sweet spices, seaweed extract, and for a greater punch, rum is added. However, for breakfast or after an evening meal, nothing beats the rich flavor of island grown coffee called Blue Mountain. In fact, the coffee is so incredible that people who visit Negril Jamaica often purchase beans so the flavor can be enjoyed back home.