Vacations in Jamaica don’t have to break the bank and one of the best ways to make sure you stick to your budget is to plan ahead a little. Where you choose to eat can make a big difference in your daily spend, but when headed to Montego Bay, the local cuisine is high up on the ‘must try’ list for most visitors. This is the ‘Home of All Right’ and the phrase “no problem man” is like a mantra. So relax, we’ve got you covered. Here are the top 5 places to eat in Montego Bay for less than 10 US dollars that will still have you feeling like you’re maximizing your Jamaica experience.
Although there are definitely a number of cook shops that serve up satisfyingly delicious meal, this particular spot receives rave reviews from locals and visitors alike. From a delicious breakfast of the national dish of ackee and saltfish, to lunch and dinner favourites like Bar-B- Fry Chicken (fried chicken with barbecue sauce) and more traditional local cuisine like Oxtail and curry goat, each ‘box lunch’ is served up with a hearty serving of ground provisions for breakfast (like green banana) and rice and peas for meals later in the day along with a basic salad. If you’re hanging out at a spot like Doctor’s Cave, have them deliver and you can meet them on the street. Box lunches are a staple dining choice for most Jamaicans on a work day and usually come in choice of serving sizes and will provide a filling local culinary experience for less than US$10.
Tel: (876) 355-7616
What many people may not know is how much Chinese food is enjoyed by locals. With different waves of immigrants coming from China over the years, the cuisine of that land has been modified with local spices of the years to create a unique version that is a ‘go to’ choice for dine in, take-out and delivery for many Jamaicans. Some food courts even offer it in a similar fashion to the Jamaican ‘box lunch’ where it is priced by how many individual dishes you choose, and the size or weight of the final serving. Choose from main meat entrees accompanied by Chow Mein or Fried Rice for a satisfying, hearty and unique Jamaican dining experience. A spot like China House offers a convenient location on the Hip Strip and even has a view of the sea while you dine. Opening for lunch and staying open ‘til 10 pm, it’s a good lunch or dinner option. Many Chinese dishes are also sharable as the portion sizes are normally substantial. Unlike many lower budget meals, this can offer you a restaurant setting for your evening meal for a special occasion while still remaining budget friendly.
Tel: (876) 979-0056
This Jamaican food spot on Gloucester Avenue in the middle of Montego Bay makes it easy to grab a delicious filling meal on the go, but the setting invites you to stay awhile, sit back and enjoy a hot meal with a cold Red Stripe and a view of the Caribbean Sea. Although the name is The Pork Pit, other jerked foods are served up daily, like chicken, along with side dishes like festival, bammy (fried or steamed cassava bread) and rice. Many portions can be shared so, if your budget is US$10 per person, splurge and share with other for a taste of items like delicious jerked sausage, ribs, shrimp or even lobster.
Tel: (876) 9521046 / (876) 940-3008
Another fav Jerk spot is Scotchie’s on the Falmouth road which heads into the heart of ‘Mobay’, with the sea right opposite on this main thoroughfare to the Second City. Although it’s easy to grab this food to go, do yourself a favour and take the time to sit in the main courtyard and enjoy your meal under thatched umbrellas or on long benches under the main roof. You may even want to hang out at the bar for a bit before and after your meal. Like traditional roadside pan chicken, you’ll get your food served to you piping hot in tin foil at this popular local chain, the better to keep in the tenderness and heat of the chicken just before you decide to dig in. Although you won’t see the sea from in here, it cuts down the roadside noise while offering up a chill vibe where you will rub shoulders with the local lunch crowd.
The Jamaican Beef Patty is world famous and there is an ongoing debate amongst Jamaicans as to which chain or individual bakery has the best one! Juici Beef rose up to battle it out with Tastee, the top contender for many years and has fast become a local favourite. Aside from Beef Patties, callaloo and other flavours are also sold. Pair it with the doughy coco bread for a ‘patty sandwich’ and you’ll be so full you may not want dinner. A really great deal for less than US$10! You can try them all out and declare your own favourite patty spot on the island. Warning, this is a lot more difficult than it sounds with many delicious possibilities. Conveniently located by the Knutsford Express Coach Bus Service and Pier 1 in the heart of Montego Bay.
Bonus: Check out Island Grill, a local fast food chain, serving up Jamaican traditional foods with a location at Sangster’s International Airport for a quick affordable last taste of Jamaica before you head home.www.islandgrillja.com