A very important part of our Jamaican culture is the food. There are quite a few well-known menu items in the Jamaican culture that people will almost always cook at home, request a restaurant/cook shop/food stall. Meanwhile, there are others that may be deemed underrated, I believe, because not many people have tried or because someone may have tried once and didn’t like how it was prepared in that one instance.
Here is a list of 12 underrated Jamaican foods that more people should try:
1- Curried Tripe and Beans – cow tripe and beans are the main ingredients in this dish, seasoned with curry, coconut milk, peppers and pimento berries with other vegetables and spices. Though a seemingly strange combination, this can be quite a crowd pleaser when made right.
2- Turn Cornmeal – a Jamaican classic made by cooking refined cornmeal in coconut milk, and seasoned with different herbs and spices. It can be eaten on its own or served as a side with your protein choice.
3- Cowskin & Peanut Soup – the main ingredients are dumplings, cow skin and of course peanuts. Though not a very common soup choice, it is definitely a must try when next you are in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica.
4- Mackerel Run Down – Salted mackerel first precooked to remove excess salt, then cooked in a seasoned coconut milk into a thick sauce. You can have this with boiled green bananas and dumplings, fried dumplings or any other side you wish.
5- Ackee & Corned Pork – Ackee and saltfish gets its popularity from being the national dish. In this case the saltfish is substituted with corned pork and can be eaten for breakfast or dinner.
6- Fried Dumpling/Johnny Cakes – whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, these crispy, soft comfort food can be paired with anything and will have anyone falling in love immediately.
7- Bully Beef & Rice – this easy and low budget meal is a quick fix for a weeknight dinner. Add some sweet corn to the Bully Beef and grab a slice of pear (avocado) and enjoy!
8- Roast Yam & Saltfish – this meal is a popular roadside food on the island and fairly easy to get. This most common yam for this meal is the yellow yam.
9- Twice Fried Plantains (Tostones) – popular side made using green plantains, that are fried, smashed/flatten then refried, hence the name “twice fried”.
10- Stew Peas & Rice – this can be had with meat or ital for vegetarians/vegans. If serving with meat, pigtail and beef are usually the preferred choices.
11- Stew Chicken – chicken cooked in a browning sauce, to which some people add potatoes and carrots. This can be eaten with boiled bananas and dumplings for breakfast or some white rice for dinner.
12 – Saltfish and Susumba – Susumber otherwise known as “Gully Beans”, is a green fruit that grows in the wild and is believed to have some medicinal properties. This flavourful stew is made with coconut milk seasoned with pepper, herbs and spices.