It’s no secret that Jamaica is popular for its Reggae music and its beautiful white sand beaches but did you know that Jamaica also boasts delicious cuisine?
Why yes, yes it does!
But here’s a secret, the food tastes even better in the Christmas season! Jamaicans become even more creative in the kitchen as they prepare traditional Christmas meals with ingredients that are often only seasonal to the December period.
If you happen to be visiting Jamaica in the Christmas season you’re in luck! Satisfy your inner foodie by indulging in these delicious traditional Jamaican Christmas food and drinks!
Ackee & Saltfish:
To kick off the Christmas day celebrations the typical breakfast Jamaicans prepare is none other than the national dish, ackee and saltfish. Paired with this dish is typically breadfruit, a local fruit in Jamaica that can be roasted or fried (roast or fry?)
A Jamaican Christmas dinner wouldn’t be complete without Christmas Ham! Prepared Jamaican style this popular meat choice is garnished with pineapples, cherries and cloves.
Jamaican Meat Dishes:
For those persons who prefer to avoid pork, oven baked chicken, curried goat, oxtail and fish (prepared in varying Jamaican methods) are other meat choices you’d typically find on the menu for a Jamaican Christmas dinner.
Gungo (Pigeon) Peas & Rice:
A typical side order in Jamaica is what is known as rice and peas (rice with red kidney beans). However, during the Christmas season Jamaicans switch it up a bit by cooking this side order with gungo (pigeon) peas instead. Since these peas are seasonal to the December period, it’s the perfect time to include it in any Christmas meal!
The most popular Christmas drink in the Christmas season for Jamaicans is what is sorrel. It is an essential staple at any Jamaican Christmas dinner! This flavourful drink’s main ingredient is the Roselle, a type of hibiscus flower indigenous to West Africa but brought to Jamaica in its days of slavery. The drink is made by drying the Roselle and then boiling it with ginger pieces and then. Additional spices can be added to the drink such as Jamaican pimiento. Once the mixture cools, grab a glass of ice and enjoy yourself a refreshing cup of this sorrel drink! Many Jamaicans like to kick this recipe up a notch by adding authentic Jamaican white rum to increase the Christmas merriment. Cool sweeten and serve on ice.
Egg Punch (Egg Nog):
This creamy delight is one of the staple drinks for the Christmas season and is usually prepared by mothers on Christmas Day. A popular Jamaican twist to this Christmas classic is the addition of Guinness Stout.
Jamaican Fruit Cake:
Cake lovers rejoice for you’ll be pleased to know that one of Jamaica’s traditional sweet treats in the Christmas season is fruit cake. Now this isn’t your average fruit cake, but rather, one with Jamaican flare and spices galore! Fruit pieces are soaked in Jamaican rum from as much as a year in advance! This yummy cake is a flavourful blend of spices and like sorrel Jamaicans love to add Jamaican white rum to increase the flavour. Don’t worry though, we also have non-alcohol fruit cakes as well 😉 Serve this cake up with a nice cold glass of sorrel and you’re well on your way to enjoying a real Jamaican Christmas!
December is the month for all things citrus in Jamaica so it’s no wonder these fruits are popular in the Christmas season. You’ll be able to buy oranges, mandarins and even a special fruit Jamaicans call “Mangerine” as it’s a biological mix between mandarins and tangerines.
Have you ever tried any of these traditional Jamaican food & drinks? Which would you love to try?
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Want to try more traditional Jamaican dishes? Check out these Jamaican cookbooks!
- The Real Taste of Jamaica
- Easy Jamaican Cookbook
- Jerk from Jamaica: Barbecue Caribbean Style
- 50 Favorite Jamaican Recipes: Taste the Islands Essentials
- Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook: Delicious Meals Made With Whole, Organic Ingredients from the Marley Kitchen
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