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escovitch fish

Traveling to Jamaica and not sure what to eat?  I ate my way through Jamaica for nine days, compiling the best restaurants and must have foods to try in Jamaica.

Jamaica is well know for it’s jerked chicken, but that’s not the only great eats Jamaica has to offer.

Jamaica is a cultural melting pot of indigenous people living on the island: Spanish, Irish, British, African, Indian and Chinese. These diverse people created a unique fusion of culinary delights.

How to Eat Your Way Through Jamaica: Best Restaurants

The best way is to avoid familiar fast food restaurants and discover the diversity of the Jamaican way of life through the markets and street food. With the exception of this first one:

KFC

KFC

I know, you want to stop reading already. I debated not adding this until the end to build up some credibility, but trust me Jamaica has the best KFC in the world! Rumor has it that the local franchise holders got permission from KFC HQ to modify the Colonel’s original recipe. I can’t confirm on this, but I know I brought a bucket back to the states when I came.

Where else in the world can you try barbecue, battered, fried chicken rolled in a spicy/sweet sauce in KFC

Scotchie’s

MoBay / Ocho Rios

There are a few Scotchie’s restaurants located throughout the island and they are all known for their authentic Jamaican jerked chicken and jerked pork. Along with great food and a real Jamaican outdoor atmosphere, the prices are relatively reasonable.

NOTE: If you can handle the heat, go ahead and add a few dashes of the hot sauce provided.  You should pair your jerked pork or chicken with festival, it will help you tolerate the spiciness

Tastee / Juici / Mother’s Patties

Tastee / Juici / Mother’s

There’s a great debate on who has the best patties in Jamaica. I’m not here to settle the debate, but these Tastee’s, Juici, and Mother’s are the best in my opinion. No matter which you prefer you MUST order a Jamaican patty with coco bread. I know what you’re thinking, who puts a sandwich inside of a sandwich?!? I thought the same but trust me, you need to try this.

Get past that mental block, just do it, it’s worth it. If Jamaicans see you doing this. You’ll be sure to hear “Ya, Mon!”

Sharkie’s

 A1 Main Street, Salem, Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Now you need to have a bit of patience when visiting Sharkie’s because the service can be very slow, so I’d recommend trying to go at an off hour because their food makes up for it.

There’s one dish I’d recommend from here and that would be the Brown Stewed Fish with a side of festival or bammy

Far Out Fish Hut

221 E 54 St 11 Montego Bay, Jamaica

Set on the water, this shack might not seem like much but it has some of the best seafood on the island. You’ll find fresh parrot fish, snapper, lobster, shrimp, and conch at this local dive. The snapper is prepared in foil and steamed with spices, onions, and okra – served with plastic silverware to boot.

If you ask to spice it up, they will add some Scotch bonnet peppers (Jamaican Habanero peppers), so be ready for it! I

Devon’s House I-Scream

If you’re looking for something sweet to eat after enjoying all of the rich and dense food, come over to Devon House Ice Cream for their dessert. They have great ice cream flavors, bread pudding, and fresh baked pastries.

Border near St. Elizabeth

Scott’s Cove

I saved the best one for last! There are more than 30 vendors at the popular stop at Scott’s Cove, and it is known for its fried escovitch fish and bammy. While here don’t be afraid to haggle with the price and do yourself a favor and purchase the large fish. Don’t even waste your time buying several smaller fish. It’s not worth it.

If you do you’ll end up like me water-eyed asking yourself why you didn’t go for the large fish.

I hope you are able to try the best restaurants when you’re in Jamaica. They give you a nice sample of the great foods Jamaica has to offer. As a “JAmerican”, American born with Jamaican parenting, I grew up eating a lot of these food but nothing compares to having Jamaican food in the motherland.

For more travel and tips be sure to check out my other travel destinations

Vania Nettleford

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My name is Vania and I started my travel journey in 2012, even though I didn’t actually start frequently traveling…

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