When i was a 10-ish my parents took me on a Caribbean cruise and one of the islands we were suppose to visit was Jamaica. I remember being so excited to visit the land of Mr Marley, the land of the red gold and green and yeah also the Land of the special cigarettes. Unfortunately we were not able to get into the Jamaican harbour as a storm had hit the island. I don’t remember much from that trip but I do remember not visiting Jamaica!!!
So when our local airline had their annual sale and found Jamaican airline tickets were 40% off we quickly booked our tickets. March 2015 I finally got to visit that one island I never had a chance to visit.
When thinking of food in combination with Jamaica only one thing springs to mind; JERK! Yes i admit i have a fair amount of Jamaican Jerk on this trip however not all nights. Are you hungry for my Top 5 places to eat in Jamaica?
Port Antonio Area
In Port Antonio on the junction of Harbour and West street you have a teeny tiny little shack that cooks a fantastic jerk. The smells coming from this wooden house are mouthwatering good. First time we went ( yes we actually did go twice in the 4 days we were in Port Antonio…… BUSTED) we had our first taste of the Jamaican Festival which is pretty much fried up dough later on we found out that this is teh thing you eat with your jerk. The Jerk chicken is juicy, tasty and literally falls of the bones ( they actually ask you which bit you want from the chicken, i always forgo the fillets and go straight to the legs or wings). Nom Nom
Because it is just a shack there is no sit-down area however the beach is just across the street. grab a Red Stripe from the corner shop, your Pigggy’s Jerk chicken and find yourself a nice spot in the sand whilst watching the sky change it colors during sunset.
Dickie’s best kept Secret
Yes, i kid you not, that is actually the restaurants name. And for the right reasons! it took us 45 minutes to find it ( we had passed it about 10 times) until I asked a local fisherman who pointed me to Dickie’s place.
Dickie’s place is Alice in wonderland meets queen Victoria. His entire house is perched on the side of the cliff and walking through it you will pass several levels. As the boys went to park the car, us girls gave our eyes a wander through the place. Wooden knick knacks, rasta flags and drawings, photo’s and local arts , you name it, it was all stowed away in this truly mesmerizing place. There is no Menu, Dickie will cook you his best meal ( one of the reasons to reserve a table, so he can go shopping). We were lucky and had lobster tale, snapper, salads, shrimp and a fantastic chocolate desert. it is a feast for all your senses!
Boston bay Jerk
According to our trusted Lonely Planet, one must have tried the jerk in Boston Bay. Who are we to ignore that statement right? They say Jerk originated from this area. The smells immediately trigger your taste-buds best to quickly choose a stall of your liking. The Jerk here (pork or chicken) is prepared on an open fire on aluminum roof sheets. Simmering for a couple of hours means the flavor just oozes out. You buy you portion per pound so the big and the small appetite can be satisfied. We choose a portion of pork and chicken plus bought some bottle of freshly squeezed fruit juice. Loved it!! A little note we did not eat the jerk at the beach but the little array of stalls right near the streets.
If you were to visit this beach in 1988 you would might have heard Tom Cruise juggle with his cocktails, the movie was filmed only a mile away from the beach. These days the beach is tranquil spot admired by tourists and locals alike. The food vendors on the beach prepare fresh fish dishes as well as chicken and pork.
Spend the day on the beach, enjoy a nice lunch and the scenery. If you fancy a walk explore the stretch of sand and find the little fresh water inlet or go snorkeling and admire the pretty corals.
Runaway Bay Area
Scotchies (OUR FAVORITE JERK)
Half way our trip we stayed in the sleepy town Runaway bay not a whole lotta options here so we knew we had to go out a bit to find a nice spot to eat. And there it was SCOTCHIES! A heavenly jerk spot i can tell you that. As in runaway bay they prepare the jerk between aluminum roof sheets. The Jerk pork and chicken are seriously finger licking good. This is a popular stop for locals and tourists and our little gang actually went back twice ( WHOOPS!).
They build a few huts to create an outside seating which just ads to the vibe. No table service tho! you get to order and then watch your food be prepared as you stand in line next to the kitchen. Nom Nom
Oh if your palette can’t do spicy to well?! be careful with the spicy sauce cuz this one is SPICY!
Treasure Beach Area
Treasure beach is a very laid back not so touristy place in Jamaica. Everything is easy going. At this point on our vacation we were pretty much “jerked out”, yeah sorry but that just had to be said ;). We were looking for something different and were advised to to Gee Wiz who cooks real ITAL food for you. Developed by Rastafarians, Ital food is a natural way of cooking that tries to avoid processed food, additives, oil, salt and sugar. Delroy runs the place with his brother and served us two plates of fantastic vegetarian food. It was like a tasting platter something of everything. We had a chance to have a chat with Delroy and his way of living following his religion which is fantastic to listen to. He is a Rastafarian who embraces mother nature with a great business sense. Not only was this a fest for our palette our wallet was a happy bunny as well only 20 bucks for 4 people!
Smurf’s is an open all hours bottle shop but in the back is a little hidden gem called Smurf’s cafe. This is a breakfast cafe that always has a fresh pot of coffee waiting for you. Grab a mug and serve yourself. For breakfast they do great omelets and fantastic fruit juices (I am o coffee drinker but i love myself a fruit juice in the morning).
And just because you can…… drink a coconut and enjoy a sunset… you know only becayse YOU CAN!