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Jamaican cuisine includes a mixture of cooking techniques, flavors, spices and influences from the indigenous people on the island of Jamaica, and the Spanish, British, Africans, Indian and Chinese who have inhabited the island. It is also influenced by the crops introduced into the island from tropical Southeast Asia. Jamaican cuisine includes various dishes from the different cultures brought to the island with the arrival of people from elsewhere. Other dishes are novel or a fusion of techniques and traditions. In addition to ingredients that are native to Jamaica, many foods have been introduced and are now grown locally. A wide variety of seafood, tropical fruits and meats are available.

Some Jamaican cuisine dishes are variations on the cuisines and cooking styles brought to the island from elsewhere. These are often modified to incorporate local produce. Others are novel and have developed locally. Popular Jamaican dishes include curry goat, fried dumplings, ackee and saltfish (cod) – the national dish of Jamaica – fried plantain, "jerk", steamed cabbage and "rice and peas" (pigeon peas or kidney beans). Jamaican cuisine has been adapted by African, Indian, British, French, Spanish, Chinese influences. Jamaican patties and various pastries and breads are also popular as well as fruit beverages and Jamaican rum.

Jamaican cuisine has spread with emigrations, especially during the 20th century, from the island to other nations as Jamaicans have sought economic opportunities in other areas.


Women selling desserts in Kingston, Jamaica, c. 1899

Development of the cuisine[edit]

The Spanish, the first European arrivals to the island contributed dishes such as the vinegary concoction escovitched fish (Spanish escabeche) contributed by Spanish Jews. Later, Cantonese/Hakka influences developed the Jamaican patty, an empanada styled turnover filled with spiced meat. African cuisine developed on the island as a result of waves of slavery introduced by the European powers. More Chinese and East Indian influences can also be found in Jamaican cuisine, 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).

African, Indian, American, Chinese and British cuisines are not new to the island. Through many years of British colonialism the cuisine developed many habits of cooking particular to a trading colony.

Jamaican Cuisine and the Rastafarians[edit]

The Jamaican cuisine is quite diverse and mention must be made of the Rastafarian influence. Rastafarians have a vegetarian approach to preparing food, cooking, and eating, and have introduced a host of unique vegetarian dishes to the Jamaican cuisine. They do not eat pork, and the strict ones do not eat meat, including poultry and fish. There are even some who believe in cooking with little or no salt and cooking in an 'Ital' way.

Popular ingredients[edit]

Curry goat with rice and peas
video demonstrating cooking curry chicken with rice.

Popular dishes[edit]

Dinner plate with black beans, shredded beef, jerk chicken, rice and plantain

A Jamaican breakfast includes ackee and saltfish, seasoned callaloo, boiled green bananas, and fried dumplings.[1]

Main courses[edit]


Side dishes[edit]

Breads and pastries[edit]


Irish Moss drink in can and over ice

Desserts and sweets[edit]

Gizzada pastry with coconut, sugar, nutmeg and vanilla

Mango and soursop ice cream are two popular desserts. Jamaican ice cream is traditionally made with coconut milk, and come in popular flavours like grapenut and rum and raisin.

Other popular desserts include potato pudding, gizzada (a small tart shell with sweet spiced coconut filling), grater cake, toto (dessert) (a small coconut cake), banana fritters, coconut drops, plantain tart.

Tie A Leaf, or blue drawers is a dish made by combining a starch (usually cornmeal or cassava) with coconut milk, then wrapped and tied in banana leaf before boiling.

Asham is parched corn that is ground and combined with brown sugar.

Bustamante Backbone, named after the first Prime Minister Alexander Bustamante, is a candy.

Jamaican food abroad[edit]

Jamaican cuisine is available throughout North America, the United Kingdom, and other places with a sizeable Jamaican population. In the United States, a large number of restaurants are located throughout New York's boroughs, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and other metropolitan areas. In Canada, Jamaican restaurants can be found in the Toronto metropolitan area, as well as Vancouver, Montreal, and Ottawa. Jamaican dishes are also featured on the menus of Bahama Breeze, a US-based restaurant chain owned by Darden Restaurants.

Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill is a chain of about 120 franchised restaurants found throughout the U.S. These restaurants sell Jamaican patties, buns, breads, and dinner and lunch dishes. They also supply food to several institutions in New York.

In 2001 Port Royal started manufacturing authentic style Jamaican Patties in London and are available in Tesco, Asda, Morrissons and Caribbean takeaways across UK. A Patty is the Caribbean version of a Cornish Pasty, pastry with a meat filling.

See also[edit]


Ackee fruit
  1. ^ Deborah S. Hartz Authentic Jamaican breakfast Aug 1, 1991 Ocala Star-Banner page 44
  2. ^ Dictionary of Jamaican English By Frederic Gomes Cassidy, Robert Brock Le Page page 420
  3. ^ "Newsday – The Long Island and New York City News Source". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 1987-02-04. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaican_cuisine — Please support Wikipedia.
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38 news items

Online Athens
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 08:22:30 -0700

Whether or not heat is the goal here, the essence of Jamaican cuisine's India meets Africa meets the Caribbean soul is alive in Athens no matter the geography. But there are differences. Rashe's food is prepared without salt, which can come as a shock, ...

Irish Independent

Irish Independent
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 05:56:15 -0700

Like Cajun and West African cooking, Jamaican cuisine has its own Holy Trinity of ingredients – Scotch bonnet peppers, spring onions and fresh thyme. The newest kid on the block is Covent Garden's Jamaica Patty Company, a 17-seat takeaway opened by ...

The Independent

The Independent
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 14:57:22 -0700

Like Cajun and West African cooking, Jamaican cuisine has its own Holy Trinity of ingredients – Scotch bonnet peppers, spring onions and fresh thyme. The newest kid on the block is Covent Garden's Jamaica Patty Company, a 17-seat takeaway opened by ...
Poughkeepsie Journal
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:26:15 -0700

Vendors at the fair range from bistro food, Jamaican cuisine, barbecue and falafel to more standard hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza. But food lovers might also wish to graze the handcrafted specialty foods selection in the 4-H building. About 15 vendors ...
what's up
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:26:15 -0700

Adding to the Northeast's multicultural landscape of restaurants is Rita's Jamaican Cuisine. This sparsely decorated eatery focuses their attention on authentic, traditional food from an island known for its fusion of cuisines and vibrant flavors. Rita ...
Packet Online
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:28:55 -0700

Also, Jump Zone, Kings Bridge Dry Cleaners, Kumon Math and Reading Center of Hillsborough, La Costenita Mexican Grocery and Deli, Little Island Jamaican Cuisine, Mailbox Business Center, Mathnasium of Hillsborough, Newell Strength, Pheasant ...
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 12:07:57 -0700

To show our thanks we are opening our new location in Hyde Park (The new Harper Court Development on 53rd and Harper Avenue) in the very very near future. We will continue to offer the same authentic Jamaican cuisine with some new surprises...".

Jamaica Gleaner

Jamaica Gleaner
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 23:33:45 -0700

At left: Half Moon's Erica Morrison (left) and Olympic Sports' Simone Flowers are a picture of elegance at the JHTA Montego Bay Celebration of Jamaican Cuisine, Food and Wine Pairing social. - Photo by Karrie Williams. Sandals Negril's long-service ...

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