Jamaica’s 5 Best Street Foods

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - August 31, 2017
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By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor

On our travels to Jamaica we’ve sampled all manner of culinary delights, from world-class sushi in a fancy Kingston restaurant to a “secret” and sumptuous breakfast buffet in Port Antonio and flavorful Indian dinner in Ocho Rios. But there’s nothing quite as delicious as Jamaica’s traditional cuisine, and nowhere we love getting it from more than straight off the street (jerk chicken, anyone?). As in the wider Caribbean, roadside stalls and tiny Mom ‘n’ Pop shops serve up a fresh and authentic flavor of the destination that you just can’t get in a posh dining room. So on your next trip to Jamaica, we recommend wrapping your lips around these popular street eats, which make on-the-go grazing no problem.

PATTY What the burger is to Americans the patty is to Jamaica, an inexpensive and delicious snack enjoyed by everyone from humble bus drivers to high-powered business people. Related, some say, to England’s Cornish pasty and the Latin empanada, this is a turnover made with flaky pastry, traditionally stuffed with beef but now widely available in veggie, chicken and seafood varieties and also in diminutive “cocktail” size. Some patty lovers open the pastry and tuck in a slice of cheese; others enjoy theirs with cocobread (see next item). The only rule we abide by: You gotta eat your patty piping hot, straight from its traditional brown paper bag. There are patty shops in every town –Tastee (shown here) and Juici are the major bakers); they’re sold in supermarkets; from heated glass cabinets in tiny roadside stalls; and even offered complimentary in the VIP airport lounges, Club MoBay and Club Kingston. So there’s no excuse to leave Jamaica without trying (at least) one.

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