Some of the good food you may be served on a Cool Runnings Catamaran Cruise, or you can find out walking in the town of Ocho Rios.
Food we eat in Jamaica
Food cooked in Jamaica takes the best from all the nationalities that have ever graced the island’s history and its shores.
Ackee and Saltfish
African, Chinese, Indian, Jewish, English, Irish, Welsh, and all the mixes that you can think of between these races and their cuisines.
You may find that you are given ackee and salt fish for your breakfast. The ackee was brought to Jamaica from Africa by slaves, it was planted and became so successful that it has become one of the symbols of Jamaica.
The part that we eat comes in a bright red pod, which is shown closed in the photo. You need to wait until the pod opens and then you can take out the pale yellow flesh that holds a shiny black seed. This you can cook up with onions, sweet peppers and the delicious salt cod, which has been soaked to get most of the salt out and to soften it.
Source: Photo by J. Walker via Wiki Commons
Now, why would Jamaicans be eating a cold-water fish in the tropics. This is because when Jamaica was the sugar capital of the world, sugar and rum went north, some say as far as Newfoundland in what is now Canada and to England, in exchange for the salt cod.
Patties are street food, you can buy them and walk along the road eating them, just as your grandmother probably told you not to do. Best friends with the pattie is the locally brewed Red Stripe Beer.
Pattis are yellow colored pastry with a rich mix of minced beef and hot pepper inside. The best are so hot they make your mouth feel like it is on fire. Some of us like this feeling!
Source: Photo by ritcharnd moskow via Wiki Commons
Something else you might find sold as hand food, is a gizzada, which is also made with pastry, but is sweet. On top you will find coconut that has first been mixed with brown sugar and nutmeg, some recipes add ginger or vanilla … delicious. This food amazingly came from Portugal with the Portuguese Jews who came to Jamaica when they fled religions persecution Spain and Portugal in 1530.
Source: Photo by C. Collins via Wiki Commons
Rice and Peas
At lunch or dinner you may be served rice and peas. These peas, you will notice are more like kidney beans or pigeon peas or gungo peas, which are also beans rather than peas, and you are right.
In Jamaica beans just get called peas most of the time. The rice and beans are cooked with coconut milk, sometimes hot pepper will be in the mix, some people cook the rice and peas with a little pork or beef, and others do not.
The very hot pepper found in Jamaica is called the Scotch Bonnet, it may turn up in some of the food served. But if you see it all by itself, do not try to put it into your mouth. Try a teeny, tiny piece of it, because it is very hot and should be cultivated with a warning label attached.
Photo by Temaciejewski via Wiki Commons
Enjoy your meals in Jamaica and don’t forget to book a cruise with Cool Runnings Catamaran Cruises in Ocho Rios. If you plan it right, you will also get to eat a real Jamaican meal on board watching a real live Caribbean sunset melt slowly into the warm waters of our Caribbean Sea.