Jamaican National Dish – What to eat in Jamaica

Jamaica offers great beaches and is the quintessential Caribbean. The people are very warm and the island is rich in history. But once again it was the food that made me fall in love with a country. The food in Jamaica just blew me away. Now you might think that Jamaican cuisine is just like everywhere else in the Caribbean. But wrong thought. Compared to the cuisine on the Virgin Islands, in the Dominican Republic, as well as on the other Caribbean islands, the food in Jamaica is much spicier.

Ackee and Codfish

Ackee and Codfish, also known as Ackee and Saltfish, is the national dish of of Jamaica. In addition to codfish ,salted cod, the main component of the Jamaican main course is ackee – a tree fruit that was once brought from Africa by slaves. It is now considered a Jamaican staple and is mainly prepared together with the aforementioned codfish. This is steamed together with vegetables, plenty of herbs and spices and served with the cooked ackee fruit. The secret for the success of the national dish is solely the ripeness of the ackee. When the ackee is ripe, you can tell by the bright red fruit bursting open, revealing the yellowish flesh inside.

Jamaican National Dish - What to eat in Jamaica
Jamaican National Dish – What to eat in Jamaica

Fish Escovitch

Another Jamaican dish that can be found on almost every menu in the country is fish escovitch. Spanish Jews are said to have brought this dish to the country long ago. For Fish Escovitch, a whole fish, usually red snapper, is first fried. This is then served with a sour and spicy vinegar dressing with carrots, onions, peppers and plenty of Bonnet Pepper. Bammy is often served as a side dish in Jamaica with fish escovitch. Many Jamaicans claim this dish tastes well the day after cooking, after the fish has soaked in the dressing, allowing all the flavors to develop.

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Lobster is not always in season in Jamaica either. From April to June, lobster fishing is illegal on the island, but during the fishing season you should definitely try one of the caught lobsters. Nothing beats freshly caught lobster in my opinion. I just couldn’t get enough of it on my visit and I actually like it fresh off the grill, maybe with a few onions on top.


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