Sample the delights of Jamaican cuisine during your vacation to Jamaica. Best known for its Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, jerk chicken, and reggae (home to Bob Marley), the island is unique in their Caribbean-inspired food. During your stay at Green Castle the local chefs will delight in introducing you to the exotic and unique flavours of Jamaican cuisine.
When it comes to food, Jamaica is irie!
The best thing about Jamaica’s colourful food culture are the variations on the theme. If you’ve been to the island, all of these traditional foods listed here may look and taste slightly different than what you had. That’s because everyone’s version is different, and of course their version is the best. Which makes eating in Jamaica one of our favourite activities!
Callaloo from the Angolan dish “Calulu”, and Jerk chicken from West African seasoning techniques. The fruit of the most popular Jamaican dish, Ackee, was also brought to the Island by West African peoples. The Spanish, the first European arrivals to the island, contributed dishes such as the vinegary escovitch fish (Spanish escabeche) contributed by Spanish Jews. Later, Cornish which could be argued influenced the development of the Jamaican patty, a pasty styled turnover filled with spiced meat. More Chinese and East Indian influences can also be found in Jamaican cuisine like Roti and Curry Goat as a result of indentured labourers who replaced slaves after emancipation brought their own culinary talents (especially curry, which Jamaican chefs sometimes use to season goat meat for special occasions).
When planning your Caribbean vacation, make sure you take time to enjoy the local Jamaican cuisine. At Green Castle, Jamaica’s best eco boutique hotel, you will get to experience the local dishes and flavours cooked in our restaurant by one of our trained chefs. We’ve listed a few of the most well known items, below, for you to try during your Jamaican vacation.
Ackee And Codfish
Ackee and Salt Codfish is Jamaica’s national dish, and an interesting and delicious dish at that. Ackee was brought to Jamaica in the 18th century, and grows on the island quite well, hanging in pod clusters from the tree. To be eaten it requires some timing because the fruit is poisonous if eaten too soon before it’s ripe.
The fruit in the pod resembles a small soft walnut and bursts open when it’s ripe revealing a black seed inside. Once open, the fruit surrounding the black seed is removed and prepared, resembling scrambled eggs when its done.
Ackee is usually eaten for breakfast, and it’s very tasty!
Authentic Jerk Chicken
Synonymous with Jamaican food, and an ever favourite, jerk chicken is aromatic, smokey, and sometimes spicy hot. The chicken is first marinated or dry-rubbed with the cook’s concoction of jerk spices that can include ginger, garlic, sometimes cloves, and cinnamon but always includes pimento (allspice) – a locally grown West Indies spice – and hot peppers, usually scotch bonnets.
Then it’s slow cooked on an open grill over hot coals made from native wood. You’ll find it on the menu at local restaurants, but we seem to always find someone cooking it up as street food.
The Jamaican beef patty is another famous staple of the island that you must try.
The beef is seasoned with curry, onion, garlic and you guessed it, Scotch Bonnet pepper! The beef is then wrapped in a buttery dough, shaped as a half-moon and baked.
Beef is the original version though patties are now available with a wide variety of fillings.
Curry goat is another favourite on the island. Jamaican curry is a little different from the traditional Indian variety. It’s also a little spicier.
Goat meat tastes a little bit like beef, but slightly gamey. It’s a tender and juicy dish served with white rice and is also a favourite at house gatherings.
It can be seen on the table at Christmastime and is served at Nine Nights (the Jamaican equivalent of a wake) to friends and family paying their respects to the dead.
Jamaicans love their sweet desserts and this is no different. Sometimes seen as Grizzada with an ‘r’, the origins of this dessert are thought to be Portuguese.
Gizzadas are small round tarts, whose pie crust is stylistically pinched around the edges giving it the common name of a ‘pinch-me-round’, that’s filled with grated coconut mixed with sugar, nutmeg, sometimes ginger, and vanilla.
Crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside — try one of these. Your sweet tooth will thank you.
Red Stripe Beer
This golden coloured lager is light-bodied and not overly carbonated. It is smooth and goes well with Jamaican foods. The brand is available and widely sold outside the country, but the brand still has a stronghold on the beer sold in Jamaica. When the sun is out, and you are listening to the birds at Green Castle, there is no better way to spend a lazy afternoon by the pool, or in on of the Hammocks at Hotel Green Castle, than sipping on a cold one… or two…
Jamaica is synonymous with the spirit of pirates, and there’s no shortage of excellent rum here. From exquisite special editions to overproof rum, Jamaica produces some of the finest in the world. Appleton Estates has been distilling rum since 1749 and offers rums at just about every price point. From Green Castle Hotel, you can enjoy a tour round the Appleton Distillery. A perfect way to experience some of the local culture, this close by attraction to Green Castle, will leave you with a smile on your face and a new found love for all things rum!
Wray & Nephew White Overproof is a potent favourite of Jamaicans. It’s cheap, goes down easy, and kicks you hard. Finally, Myer’s Rum is a product of Jamaica, derived from molasses and is the favourite of Planters’ Punch lovers. It’s dark and leathery, and not too sweet. When you are having your lunch at Green Castle, enjoy a rum punch which is sure to bring a smile to your face.
Blue Mountain Coffee
World famous Blue Mountain coffee simply has to be enjoyed whilst looking at across the verandas at Green Castle. Green Castle is Jamaica’s number one boutique eco hotel, offering guests a true Jamaican experience, set amongst spectacular views and the best natural surroundings on the island. Blue Mountain coffee is delicious. Jamaica grows one of the world’s top quality coffee beans known as Blue Mountain coffee. It’s expensive not just because it’s excellent, but also because there’s just not a lot of room in the mountains to cultivate a large crop.
Known for its mild flavour without being bitter, Blue Mountain coffee is so much cheaper to buy in Jamaica.
So if you’re a coffee lover, bring home a few bags from your Jamaican vacation at Green Castle. Something else you’ll need to leave room for in your luggage, but well worth leaving some clothes behind!
It’s true, you can easily get Tia Maria outside Jamaica, but we couldn’t write a Jamaica food guide without mentioning one of their tastiest products now could we? And yes, Tia Maria is made right here in Jamaica, by expertly blending Blue Mountain coffee beans, Jamaican rum, Madagascar vanilla, and sugar.
This sweet liqueur is a favourite of coffee cocktail lovers. It’s sometimes blended with milk over ice, or as we prefer, poured straight over ice as an after dinner drink. If You Love The Taste Of Coffee And Banana, Order A Local Drink Known As A Dirty Banana. Your taste buds will thank us!
Whatever your culinary needs, Green Castle Hotel will be happy to accommodate you and we look forward to welcoming you on your Jamaican vacation. If you want to learn more about the food or try some of the local delicacies we will be happy to provide recommendations.