Different nationalities who have settled in Jamaica have all left their mark on the country’s cuisine. The British, Spanish, African, Indian and Chinese have all spent time there over the years. This has rubbed off on the various dishes and methods of cooking.
Jamaica’s most famous food is ‘jerk spiced’ meat or fish. This style of cooking originated from the Maroons who were descendants of the Spanish of slaves who managed to escape from their masters. ‘Jerking’ meat and fish involves marinating it for a long time in a mixture of thyme, peppers, pimento seeds and nutmeg. The meat is then cooked outdoors over a pit with pimento wood (again over a number of hours). This pit is kept at a low heat so, as it cooks the meat over such a long space of time that it the meat keeps its juices, resulting in a very tasty piece of meat or fish.
Allspice, which originates from the pimento tree, figures in a lot of Jamaican dishes, as does ginger and nutmeg. A sauce which you will only find in Jamaica is called Pickapeppa Sauce. Not many know it’s ingredients as it is top secret!
Some other national dishes include Jamaican Cow Foot, Curry Goat and Oxtails Stew.