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  • Writer's pictureMeredith Strack

10 Authentic Jamaican Foods to Try

The tiny Caribbean gem of Jamaica has plenty to offer in the way of nature, music, and culture. But when it comes to cuisine, Jamaica takes things to a whole new level. Dive into our guide of top Jamaican foods you should try when you visit the island:


Mannish Water

A Jamaican favorite, mannish water is a light soup composed of scraps from scraps of goat meat.

It may sound scary, but it's a spicy, homey dish perfect as a starter for any Jamaican meal.


Beef Patty

This isn't your average lunchmeat.

A beef patty is a seasoned meat wrapped in a buttery dough and then fried. Delicious!

A must-try Jamaican staple, beef is the original patty, but you can find all kinds of different filling options these days.

There are even veggie patties. 



You can't come to Jamaica without trying a classic stew.

Red pea soup and pumpkin soup are two options you're likely to find as menu starters.

These soups may seem simple, but don't underestimate them.

Jamaican food is always well-seasoned, and marinated stews can simmer in all their flavorful glory until mealtime.


Ackee and Saltfish

Jamaica's national dish is ackee and saltfish, making it a must-taste for tourists.

Ackee is a fruit sauteed in spices and saltfish and served up alongside yams or bananas.

Ackee and saltfish are usually served at breakfast but can be eaten at any hour of the day.


Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Pork

You didn't think we'd forgotten about Jamaica's most famous dish, did you?

Jerk-style cooking dates back hundreds of years on the island, and jerk food is still abundant to this day.

The beauty of this food is that it can be found at the cheapest street stalls and the most elite restaurants. Authentic Jamaican jerk is cooked over pimento chips, and chicken and pork are the most common jerks on offer.

Jamaican Rice & Peas

This dish is perfectly seasoned and usually served as a side dish to stew.

However, it can be eaten with any protein and is an essential dish in Jamaican cuisine.


Curry Goat

Another classic Jamaican staple, curry goat, is spicier than the Indian variety.

It is usually served with white rice and is common at Christmas and family gatherings.


Escovitch Fish

The word escovitch refers to the practice of cooking meat in an acidic vinegar-based sauce.

The origins of this method are Spanish, but Jamaicans have added their own twist to produce escovitch fish, served up with the day's fresh catch.



A locally grown green similar to spinach, callaloo is served as breakfast in Jamaica, alongside other staples.

Jamaican breakfast can be a decadent affair, so take the opportunity to fill up on callaloo, one of the only light and healthy offerings.


Sweet Potato Pudding

Who doesn't have a sweet tooth?

Sweet potato pudding is a Jamaican treat you just have to sink your teeth into.

This dessert pairs perfectly with cold ice cream and a beachside view.

There are so many fun foods to try on your next trip to Jamaica. Reach out to me for recommendations when you're ready to book your getaway!


My name is Meredith Strack -- Adventure and Family Travel Advisor

Meredith loves the excitement of planning travel adventures! She is married and has three young children, ages 3, 5, and 7. She has traveled coast to coast through the United States, and has slept in 47 different states. She has visited 33 countries on 6 different continents, and can't wait to add more to her list each year. Her bucket list includes seeing each of the

7 New World Wonders, and she is so close to completing the challenge!

Meredith specializes in Caribbean/Mexico, European, and Alaskan/Hawaiian experiences.


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