Jamaican Food Culture
Jamaican food culture reflects the rich culinary heritage which is a unique blend of the different cultures that make up this beautiful island. The Jamaican food is abundantly flavored with a variety of pungent spices bringing out some of the most unique fusion of ingredients that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
The most popular food that you are introduced to when you visits the island, is the well-liked jerk. This is a marinade than can be added to most meat and other food item and is usually very spicy. The seafood is also customary in Jamaica, but is not as popular as the other dishes, seafood can be eaten anywhere. The dishes that are truly Jamaica, like the “run down”, “goat belly soup” or even the “stew cow foot”, these are the ones that visitors will try.
Most of the cuisine is diverse, just like the people, the dance or the music. Although agriculture is not the country’s leading contributor to the economy, the Jamaican people love their food. This island is blessed to have an almost perfect climate and very rich and fruitful soil to plant most of the food produce. Adding to that, all year round a number of fruits that can be enjoyed, we are known for having large varieties of mango.
The people that inhabited the island in those early years, all left a touch of their cuisine that makes up this unique culinary heritage. The Tainos left the cassava, prepared meat on the grill – barbecue and the pepper pot meals. They also left the pineapple, naseberry, sweet potato and maize (corn).
The Spanish then came with their seasonings such as hot peppers and vinegars, this contributed to the escovieth sauce that is used on the fried fish. They also had stew peas with cured meat, peas and beans dish and the sugar cane. The British brought the sweet and savory, puddings, wines, ham, bacon, sausage, rum, patty, jackfruit and menu and recipes.
The Asians introduced the spices and the curry powder, while the Africans influence the cooking everything in one pot, this includes the soups and stews. All of these combine and help to create the unique food that exists in the culture today.
Some of the Jamaican food culture is imitated in other countries, but they lack that unique touch of the local flavoring. The popular jerk that can be in the form of jerk pork, jerk chicken or other meats and fish, is imitated widely and can be seen serving in restaurants overseas. But it tastes nothing like the one that is cooked in Jamaica or by a Jamaican with the special ingredients and preparation.
Another food that is gaining popularity in Jamaica today is the vegetarian dishes. This kind of cooking was always present, but it is highlighted more frequently now because of the conscious eating and the Rastafarian culture. At one time when you mentioned vegetarian and it seem strange, but now in almost every little corner there is an “Ital Restaurant”.
But when it comes to the Jamaican cuisine anything you try will be a treat. If you want to try one of roadside shops, grandma’s cooking or restaurants that offers fine dining, you will be sure to taste something new and different.