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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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42 news items

New Bern Sun Journal
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 11:56:15 -0700

Majorie Salmon, left, and Tommy Isaacs stand behind the counter at their new Joy's Jerk Shack Jamaican restaurant on Thursday, June 26, 2014, at the Westbrooke Shopping Center in Havelock. The restaurant just opened and serves a variety of Jamaican ...
The Star-Ledger
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:56:15 -0700

... Momoya Sushi; Nevada Diner; Obal's Inn; Pandan Asian Cuisine; Prime Time Pizzeria & Restaurant; Senorita's Mexican Grill; Spice Thai Cuisine; Stamna Greek Taverna; Taste it Again Jamaican Cuisine; Taqueria Autentica; The Orange Squirrel; Town Pub ...

Jamaica Gleaner

Jamaica Gleaner
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 02:56:15 -0700

Tropical salad - a calypso of pineapple, cherry tomatoes, congoed with red sweet peppers and arugula, sweated with virgin coconut oil. Linton's Uliuli Fish (blue Parrotfish) seared one side, steamed on the other with a coconut sauce, this balance of ...

Eater LA

Eater LA
Fri, 11 Jul 2014 12:41:15 -0700

Natraliart Market & Restaurant has been serving up genuine Jamaican cuisine for close to 30 years in the Arlington Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles (N.B. This particular place is two blocks north of the 10 Freeway and, therefore, technically does ...
The Union of Grass Valley
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:41:15 -0700

The Evening will begin warming up with Jah Mikey One spinning some conscious reggae music to dance to or enjoy some authentic Jamaican cuisine. Speaking to the importance of this holiday will be Jamaican born Gio Giza (promoter) followed by a ...
Riverfront Times (blog)
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 05:08:32 -0700

If you're the first correct answer, we'll give you $20 to De Palm Tree Jamaican Cuisine (8631 Olive Boulevard, University City; 314-432-5171). Rules: To be eligible, you must leave a valid e-mail address (or Twitter handle or Facebook profile URL) in ...
what's up
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:15:00 -0700

Rita's Jamaican Cuisine has been open for a couple of months at 5929 Dyer. You'll find jerk chicken, curry goat, oxtail, fried plantains and more. The TripAdvisor website ranked Sparky's in Hatch, NM as the third best burger in the nation. Their green ...
Eater LA
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:43:38 -0700

2008_10_hasmapsla.jpg As airports go, the latest additions to the food courts at LAX over the past couple years have improved the general quality of food in the airport by quantum leaps. But what if you're not going inside, or if you're picking up a ...

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