There is so much great food to try in Jamaica and this girl was definitely not sad about being there for 10 delicious days! I knew there would be plenty of jerk chicken, but there were some surprises in store for me in Jamaica. Let’s start with the drinks.
I first tried a “Yellowbird” which was a pineapple fruity drink made with Jamaican rum, of course. I’m not such a huge pineapple fan, but this was pretty good. Wine seemed a little hard to come by in the restaurants, especially in Negril. One restaurant actually had to go to the store to get us a bottle! Red Stripe is brewed in Jamaica and is a great lighter beer. I prefer Red Stripe Light but the regular is okay too. We ordered it when we got home and it just wasn’t the same taste. Maybe it tastes better when you have an awesome view. Last but not least, is my absolute new favorite drink, the “Dirty Banana.” Like I said in an earlier post, this was my drink of choice in Jamaica and I had to have one every day!
photos taken from Mystic India’s Facebook page
While I was in Jamaica, I tried two different Indian Restaurants. Both times, the friends I was eating with ordered a ton of food for the table to share. This is such a great way to order when you are trying something new. In Ocho Rios, we went to Passage to India and had Butter Chicken, a delicious vegetarian dish- Karahi Vegetables, and Tandoori Chicken. It was so good, I couldn’t stop eating. This was the first time I had ever been to an Indian Restaurant and I was surprised at how much I loved it! After talking about this experience, another friend took Ben and I to Mystic India in Montego Bay and it was just as good! At Mystic, we tried Saag Chicken (cooked in a spinach gravy), some sort of Mutton- one bite was enough for me, and a few other awesome appetizers. I will be seeking out Indian restaurants here in Charleston now. If you have any rec’s, let me know!
Each day we were on the beach in Negril, a Jamaican would kayak up to the beach with stingrays following him. Turns out, he was out fishing each morning and would clean the fish right in front of our hotel. The stingrays were harmless, they just wanted some breakfast! He was selling the fresh lobsters for $7/each. We had to try it! He was so nice, he took the lobster home and cooked it for us then brought it back. When he brought it back, it was still too hot to touch. This lobster was the most delicious lobster we have ever tasted. It was very sweet and we loved being able to crack it open on the beach.
There was another lady on the beach selling fresh fruit and patties. Patties are the thing in Jamaica, you may have seen something similar to this in the freezer section of the grocery store. It’s a sort of savory pastry dough filled with chicken, veggies, or beef then flash fried. We tried the chicken patties and noticed some Jamaican and Indian spices in the chicken mixture. The more flavor the better! The fruit; pineapples, Jamaican apples, and bananas, were so much sweeter than we are used to. It was like dessert. Can you believe our lunch was $8?! Add two red stripes and call it perfect!
Jamaican Jerk is something to write home about. I am still looking up recipes and methods of cooking jerk chicken and as soon as I get it right, I will share the recipe with you! If you’ve never had jerk, you can taste the smoke on the meat from the grill but also all of the spices they use for the rub. Each place has their own spin on Jerk sauce- some more sweet like Sweet Baby Rays BBQ and some very spicy! It’s all pretty spicy though. And delicious! Outside of bacon, I’m not a huge pork eater and I think I may have preferred Jerk Pork to Jerk Chicken. My favorite jerk sauce was at Scotchies at Discovery Bay- the sauce was sooooo spicy! In Negril, right at the Treehouse where we were staying, there was a little beach restaurant/shack where the Singing Chef would cook jerk chicken and pork each day. He calls himself the Singing Chef because he sings as he cooks. He was super nice and makes a great jerk sauce!
Thanks, Jamaica! We will be back!