Top 10 Street Food You Must Try In Jamaica

street food in jamaica

If there is one place you will always find yourself coming back to it’s Jamaica. The country has so much to offer including a unique culture, favourable weather and countless attractions. Some of the top attractions you have to visit whenever you are in Jamaica include Dunn’s River Falls, Rose Hall Great House, Bob Marley Museum, Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios and Mystic Mountain, Rainforest Adventures. When you are done exploring the attractions that the country has to offer, you should try out the street food. Scroll down to check out our list of the top street foods that you must try in Jamaica.

1. Roasted yellow yam

Rosted Yam and Fish
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Noahalorwu used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you love street food, you cannot miss the opportunity of tasting the roasted yellow yams. It is the staple food in Jamaica and many believe that it is behind the track and field success of Jamaican athletes. Preparing this meal is quite easy; all you need is four yams. All you have to do is to clean the yams, put them on a grill and cook all sides until brownish-black and finally cut them into pegs. The roasted yam is often accompanied by callaloo or ackee. Many people would rather peal off the skin but it is often encouraged to enjoy it with the skin.

2. Peppered shrimps

HK food seafood Shrimps 蝦仁 Prawns June-2012
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Souprascoco used under CC BY-SA 3.0

When exploring the gems that Jamaica has hidden, one thing you will come across is the peppered shrimp that is sold in snack-sized plastic bags. Referred to by locals as ‘Pepper swims”, peppered shrimp is normally bright red in color and is prepared with both the shell and head so as to preserve its rich flavor. Preparing it is quite easy and it will take you up to six minutes. All you need is your shrimps, garlic cloves, vegetable oil, salt, vinegar, and bonnet peppers. To cook it, you will need to mince the garlic and pepper. Warm the garlic, oil, salt and peppers then add the shrimps and the crushed pimento to the mixture as you stir for up to three minutes. Lastly, add vinegar and stir for three minutes then serve.

3. Ackee and codfish

Ackee and Saltfish
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user gailf548 used under CC BY 2.0

Another street food you cannot miss spotting in Jamaica is ackee and codfish. The meal is among the popular food in Jamaica enjoyed for breakfast. Normally, it is served alongside hard dough bread, fried plantain or breadfruit. To prepare this delicious meal, you will need black pepper, sweet pepper, ackee, bonnet pepper, onion, tomato, vegetable oil, scallion, salt fish and garlic. If you have all of those ingredients, now all you have to do is to soak the salt fish for an hour in cold water, then cook with fresh water until tender. You will then need to debone the salt fish as the vegetable oil, onion, garlic, tomato, scallion, bonnet pepper and sweet pepper get warmed. Add the salt fish and ackee and cook over low heat for two minutes

4. Boiled corn

Boiled corn in Turkey
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user E4024 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Another street food you have to try out during your visit to Jamaica is the boiled corn. Being a local’s favorite street food, you are guaranteed to find vendors selling it in every corner. Even though preparing it at home is very easy, most people prefer those prepared by the vendors. If you would rather prepare yours at home, the procedure is quite easy. All you need is your corn, water, and fire. To enhance the corn’s flavor, you should consider adding chicken flavored soup, chopped parsley, and black pepper to your recipe. All you have to do is add the chicken soup and the parsley to your boiling water. Let it cook for five minutes then add your corn and let it cook for another 15 minutes. You can serve hot or cold, however, you prefer it.

5. Conch soup

Brunswick stew
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Joe Loong used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Conch soup is another local’s favorite meal you will find in Jamaica. If you have had one before and you would love to prepare it at your home, you will notice that it is not difficult to prepare it as most people assume. All you need are four large conchs, three medium-sized cocos, one onion, crushed garlic, a diced carrot, diced bacon, sliced plantain, coconut milk and thyme. The measurements depend on how many people you are planning to serve. All you have to do is boil the conch for a minute, drain the water and transfer the conch to the heated oil. Add flour and stir until it is brown in color. You will then need to add water as you stir. Finally, add salt, carrots, thyme, diced coco and the sliced plantain one at a time as you stir. As soon as the soup starts to boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Fried fish and bammy

fish and bammy
Source: Photo by user purpleglobetrotter used under CC BY-ND 2.0

If you ask me, I will tell you that there is nothing as delicious as fried fish and bammy. Once you taste it, you will want to prepare some at the comfort of your home. To do that, all you need is your fish, flour, bell pepper, onion, carrot, pimento berries, white vinegar, bammies and bonnet pepper. First, you will need to prepare your fish by cutting it into small pieces, season it with pepper and salt and then dredge in flour. Fry the fish and once it is cooked, you will need to prepare the bammies next. For the bammies, you only need to cut it into pieces and soak in coconut milk for 10 minutes. Once soaked, fry the bammies until it turns golden brown. Once done, put the fish on top of the bammies and serve.

7. Drum pan jerk chicken and pork

street food in jamaica | drum pan jerk chicken and pork
Source: chefbeardman on Instagram

Whether foodie or not, drum pan jerk chicken and pork is a must-have whenever you are in Jamaica. Once you experience the taste, you will keep wishing for more. If you prefer making yours at home, you better prepare it Jamaican style. Preparing it is quite easy; all you need is the spices of your choice which may include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, thyme, garlic or ginger. All you need to do is to marinate your chicken with the spices then you let it cook in a barrel fired with charcoal. As an alternative, you can also use wood-burning ovens.

8. Patty

Pork Patty with Fried Rice
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ceeseven used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Jamaican patty is one of those street foods that you will find in every corner in Jamaica. It is basically a combination of various spices baked inside a flaky pastry shell. The Jamaican patty is easy to prepare and is larger than the normal patty. Preparing it varies from region to region but the common ingredients include all-purpose flour, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of turmeric and a cup for water which are used to make the pastry dough. To prepare the fillings, you will need ground beef, black pepper, vegetable oil, thyme and garlic. After making your pastry, slice them into triangular pieces and put your spices into your triangular pastry. Finally, you bake them until golden brown.

9. Coco bread

Coco bread
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jason Lam used under CC BY 2.0

It is almost impossible to visit Jamaica and go back home without tasting their famous coco bread. Most people who have had a taste of this delicious meal find it hard going home without knowing how to prepare it. In case you tasted it and loved it, preparing it in the comfort of your home is quite easy. All you need to have is spices of your choice and dough. After preparing the dough for coco bread, you will need to cut it into pieces and then roll them into balls and leave them to rise for five minutes. Afterward, roll the balls into pancake form and brush with butter then fold in half and brush with butter again. Place the little triangles of dough on a greased baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.

10. Yam and saltfish

The Favorite Roast Yam & Saltfish appetizer @charcoals.flame. Get some today

Posted by Charcoals & Flame on Saturday, 12 October 2019

Yam and saltfish can be found on every street but preparing it at home is quite easy. The ingredients required include the yams, salted cod, onion, parsley, garlic, olive oil, thyme, tomatoes, bonnet pepper and scallion. You just have to peel the yams, cut them into large pieces and boil till tender. As the yam boils, prepare the other ingredients by chopping or grinding where needed. Add the olive oil and when it is hot enough, add the onions, garlic and salted cod, and let it cook for four minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for another four minutes then add your yams and mix well till all the pieces are coated with the cod

Delicious Jamaican treats

Exploring natural and historical attractions can be fun, but it can never be as fun as strolling the streets of Jamaica discovering the street food. Check out some of the best street foods in Jamaica above and be sure to try them all for a worthwhile experience.

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Irene Mwikali is a graduate student in Kenya who has a passion for travelling and exploring the world. Currently, her love for travel has taken her to several destinations including South Africa,...Read more

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