When you eat Jamaican food, you are enjoying a culinary blend of foods from Africa, India, China, Spain and Britain mixed with spices such as ginger, nutmeg, garlic and peppers. The influence of East Indians is what mostly contributes to the popular curry dishes found in Jamaica. Curry is now widely known as a staple dish in Jamaica. Other popular dishes include salted cod and ackee, callaloo, breadfruit and jerk dishes. Each of these dishes has their own unique flavor, and is available in virtually every Jamaican restaurant, regardless of where in the world it is located.
Ackee and codfish is a very popular meal that is served for breakfast. Ackee is a fruit, and the fleshy portion of the fruits seedpod is what is used when making this dish. This food combination is known as a national dish in Jamaica. The ackee fruit is not a sweet fruit. In fact, it takes on the appearance of scrambled eggs when cooked. The fruit compliments the cod and the Jamaican seasonings very nicely, and is generally served with dumplings, plantains or breadfruit.
Breadfruit is a dish that initially became popular due to its low cost, but is now a staple dish in Jamaica. Breadfruit can be fried, roasted or boiled, and is either served as a side dish, or as a main dish in vegetarian cuisine. Callaloo is another popular Jamaican food dish that is served in vegetarian cuisine or as a main dish; you will find it on the menu of just about every Negril restaurant, if not every Jamaican restaurant worldwide. Callaloo is a vegetable that is in the spinach family. It almost tastes like spinach, but is slightly milder. It is used in soups, together with meats, and is often served together with okra.
Jerk dishes are also very popular in Jamaica, and around the world. Jerk seasoning consists of allspice, peppers, cinnamon, cloves, scallions, nutmeg, garlic, salt and thyme. This combination creates jerk seasoning, which is used to season chicken, pork, fish, shrimp, beef, tofu and sausage.
Combining the popular herbs and spices from various cultures together with the spices available in Jamaica result in the delicious Jamaican food that people from all over the world have come to enjoy.