If you have ever visited Jamaica and wondered why their food is so spicy, there are some good reasons for this. Like all the islands in the Caribbean, Jamaica is influenced socially, historically and in their cuisine by several cultures. Each has a hand in making some of the most delicious and yes, very spicy food in the Caribbean.
A blend of recipes from Indigenous people – known as Arawak Indians, the Chinese, West African, Spanish and British are partly to â€œblameâ€ for why Jamaican food is both tasty and hot! The other â€œculpritsâ€ are the foods that grow in Jamaica naturally.
Typical Jamaican Breakfast
Itâ€™s quite common for Jamaicans to eat liver with codfish or herring accompanied by a fried or boiled dumpling, boiled banana and a yam.
To break up the monotony, they might eat sardines with eggs with fried or green plantains or alternate with a bowl of banana porridge.
Two ingredients, youâ€™ll notice, that are becoming a theme are fish and plantains, or bananas. Both starches grow in abundance throughout the Caribbean and given that Jamaica is an island, why not utilize the treasures of the sea?
Lunch and Dinner
The two can be similar, with lunch sometimes being a smaller portion of the dinner menu. Beef patties are popular as are curried dishes â€“ chicken, goat or shrimp. Alternatively, if you are in the mood for meat, thereâ€™s oxtails, jerk pork, stew pork or tripe. However, if you feel you didnâ€™t get your fill of fish, by all means, indulge in more codfish, roasted or fried fish.
If you were hoping for a little fiber with your meal, by all means, indulge in boniato (sweet yams), kidney beans and rice, or gungo peas (also known as pigeon peas, which grow on trees in pods) or lima beans.
And if youâ€™ve worrying all this time that someone is calling you a jerk, far from it! â€œJerkâ€ like curry, is a spice used to season meat. The jerk can range between hot and extremely hot. Itâ€™s rare that youâ€™ll find a mild jerk.
Rice and peas is a normal staple with dinner as are okra and cabbage. Seeing as okra comes from West Africa, itâ€™s a given that itâ€™s going to put the jerk chicken to shame on the spicy scale.
â€¢ Assuming that you have any room, some popular desserts in Jamaica are:
â€¢ Coconut milk
â€¢ Banana or rum raisin ice cream
â€¢ Banana fritters or plantain tarts
If you arenâ€™t accustomed to eating spicy food, you might wish to start of slowly and pace yourself. When visiting Jamaica, perhaps ask for â€œgringoâ€ style, which lets the chef know to tone it down about ten notches.