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What Do Jamaicans Eat?

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falmouth_jamaica_food_tour_wellesley_gayle_with_pattyWhat Do Jamaicans Eat?

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Jamaican cuisine is quite different from everyone elseโ€™s. There is no mistaking Jamaican cuisine and its distinctive flavours. Yes even when you find similar dishes, if you are familiar with Jamaican food you will immediately be able to separate it from the rest.

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Across the world, the three primary meals observed for the day are breakfast, lunch and dinner and it is no different in Jamaica. You will find though that most Jamaican dishes can be had at any time of the day. 

So what do Jamaicans eat?

Here are some dishes that Jamaicans eat throughout the day.


For most contemporary-style breakfasts, preparation can be done within 30 minutes, however, if you plan on preparing a Jamaican-style breakfast you will need much more time to prepare. Jamaican breakfasts are usually pretty heavy and hence also very filling.

The main dishes are usually paired with Boiled foods such as Banana, yam, dumplings or fried dumplings, or roasted or fried breadfruit. Below are some of the most popular Jamaican breakfast dishes, couple any of these with a cup of Jamaican tea for the perfect combo.

jamaican_food_ackee_jerk_chicken_plantainAckee and Saltfish
  1. Ackee and Saltfish- this is a combination of pickled saltfish and the islandโ€™s national fruit, Ackee, that has been boiled and then sauteed.

  2. Fritters- This is one of the fastest Jamaican breakfasts you can prepare. It's a mixture of saltfish or sometimes crushed ripe bananas with flour and additional herbs and spice which is then fried until golden brown and crispy.

  3. Steamed vegetables- itโ€™s popular to have steamed vegetables in the mornings for breakfast, especially cabbage or callaloo or a mixture of both.

  4. Liver- this is usually chicken or beef liver that is cut into bite-size pieces and seasoned with herbs and spices then cooked in traditional Jamaican brown stew style.

  5. Franks and beans- this is another quick breakfast dish and is a sauteed mix of chicken frankfurters and canned baked beans.

  6. Brown stew or curry chicken- this is not a popular breakfast that is made at home but is typically bought at local cookshops and restaurants.

Lunch and Dinner

Lunch and dinner in Jamaica are typically made up of the same dishes. Most proteins are served with sides such as plain rice, rice and peas, pumpkin rice, boiled foods, Roasted breadfruit, festivals and much more. Pair it with any popular Jamaican drink for the full experience.

jamaican_beef_soupJamaican Beef Soup
  1. Soup- Saturdays are notoriously soup days in Jamaica but it can also be had any day of the week for breakfast or lunch. Some of the most popular soups are chicken foot soup, pumpkin soup, red peas soup and Mannish water or goat soup. All Jamaican soups traditionally include meats(with exception of the ital sip), dumplings, yams and other ground provisions.

  2. Chicken- chicken is probably the most had protein in Jamaica. From fried chicken, curry chicken, brown stew, and jerk, chicken is very versatile and pairs with just about any side dish.

  3. Fish- the most popular fish dishes in Jamaica include plain fried fish, escovitch fish, brown stew fish and steamed fish. These are all popularly made at home or bought in restaurants for lunch or dinner.

  4. Pork- Pork may not be as popular but it is still a favourite for many Jamaicans. The most popular pork preparation style in Jamaica is a jerk or Brown stewed.
  5. Beef- beef is typically brown stewed as well, but is also curried to be used as a substitute for the more expensive curry goat dish.

  6. Stew- the two main types of stews in Jamaica are stew peas, which have a mixture of various types of meat and red kidney beans, and ital stew, which are non-meat options made from a variety of beans and vegetables.

Dessert or Sweet Treats

jamaican_pudding_cornmeal_and_sweet_potatoCornmeal and Sweet Potato Pudding

Jamaica isnโ€™t mainly known for its desserts, or maybe itโ€™s better to say that they are not really considered desserts by Jamaicans because they are typically had as snacks and eaten throughout the day. But here are some Jamaican sweet treats to close off your Jamaican meal with:

  1. Gizzada
  2. Potato or Cornmeal Pudding
  3. Toto
  4. Rum Cake
  5. Christmas Cake

There you have it, things Jamaicans eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert. Want to know what Jamaican dishes make for a great appetizer, click here.

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References & Sources For What Do Jamaicans Eat?

  1. Jamaican appetizers! A tasty introduction to Jamaica's cuisine (no date) My. Available at: (Accessed: October 17, 2022).
  2. Jamaican food (no date) My. Available at: (Accessed: October 17, 2022).

What Do Jamaicans Eat? | Written: October 17, 2022

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