If you love Caribbean cuisine and Jamaican food but you aren’t sure what dishes to try, then the following guide will take you on a journey through the most amazing Jamaican dishes that you simply have to try as soon as possible. Thankfully, it is easier than ever to enjoy flavorful, authentic Jamaican food no matter where you live; simply look for the nearest Jamaican restaurant that is sure to have a selection of these stunning authentic dishes that will blow your socks (and your taste buds) away.
A quick note on finding the best Jamaican restaurant near me: look for restaurants that offer online menus so you can get a feel for what type of dishes they offer, as some restaurants may offer more specialized or unique dishes spending on the chef of the region of Jamaica they are from. You can find great Jamaican restaurants in many areas, including Jamaican restaurant in Maryland options, so don’t be afraid to search even if you’re as far away from the Caribbean as you are from Alaska.
With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the most amazing Jamaican dishes to order from the nearest Jamaican restaurant.
Jerk is the most well-known Jamaican dish, and for a reason: it’s simply delicious! “Jerk” refers to the method for preparing certain meats, typically chicken and pork, though jerk beef is not unheard of as well. Jerk is made by rubbing the meat with an exceptional blend of spices and then cooking it to give it a smoky flavor. Jerk can be served alone but more often than not it is accompanied with some side dishes like rice or cooked fruits.
Jerk can be spicy, so make sure you ask the restaurant about the spice level for their jerk before you order. Some restaurants may let you make it more or less spicy depending on your preference, whereas others will have “default” jerk spices that can’t be changed. As a general rule, jerked chicken tends to be slightly less spicy as a default than pork, so keep this in mind if you want to try something on the milder side.
If you love fish, then this traditional Jamaican fish dish is a must-try. Escovitch is made by first seasoning the fish with a special blend of spices before frying it and then serving it with a truly unique Jamaican dressing. The dressing is made by combining vinegar with onions, peppers and carrots. If you do plan on eating Escovitch fish, make sure that you know that it is typically fried whole (meaning with the head, bone and tail intact)–though sometimes it is deboned at restaurants, depending on the price and personal preference of the chef. The traditional version of the dish is not deboned since it has its an inexpensive “shack” dish, and because frying it whole gives the fish a different flavor, but restaurants may offer deboned versions because they are easier for customers to eat.
Ackee fruit and salt fish
If you’re in the mood for Jamaican breakfast food, then this tasty and contrasting combination is the perfect option. This dish features ackee fruit that is boiled to give it a buttery, smooth texture that is similar to scrambled eggs. The ackee fruit is then cooked with onions, spices and seasoning, along with salted fish. The end result is a slightly sweet, salty dish that will warm up your taste buds no matter what time of day you eat it.
Patties are delicious, rich pastries which are filled with savory fillings such as minced beef, curry chicken, or curried vegetables. Patties are popular both as a quick snack and as a heartier meal when served with side dishes. The key note of any great pattie is the flaky crust, which gives the filling a crispy, light texture contrast that makes for a great meal.
There are many more authentic Jamaican dishes out there, but if you’re headed to the nearest Jamaican restaurant that serves up classical dishes, you’re sure to find most (if not all) of these classical dishes on the menu.