Jamaica: Jerk Chicken, Curry Goat and Soursop

Ackee and fish? Jerk chicken? I was very excited about these Jamaican dishes. I had no idea what ackee was, and did not know what spices are in the jerk seasoning. Aside from all kinds of drinks with Jamaican rum, I set it as my mission to find soursop juice. Another ingredient I did not know.

牙買加必吃的當地菜色充滿我看不懂的食材或調味,像是阿開木煮鹹魚ackee and saltfish(又叫西非荔枝果) 或者牙買加香料雞jerk chicken。

The common carbs on a plate is of course rice and peas─rice and usually kidney beans cooked with coconut milk. We were at a supermarket in Negril. Those kidney beans looking beans were labeled as “red peas.”

牙買加餐點常見的主食是椰汁豆飯 rice and peas,看起來是大紅豆,但當地人不叫它kidney beans而是red peas,通常椰子味不重,點香料雞或豬等等的餐都會附這個大紅豆飯。

Jerk chicken from Margaritaville at the Montego Bay airport.

Jerk chicken from Margaritaville at the Montego Bay airport.

During our five-day trip, I tried jerk chicken from five different places and jerk pork from two. Jerk seasoning is the Jamaican style barbecue rub. Some are spicier than others. You can find jerk pork, jerk conch and other grilled meat with jerk seasoning, but jerk chicken is the most popular. Be sure you look for street food stands with a grill made out of an oil barrel. Highly likely that’s where you would find the best jerk chicken of your trip.

If you happen to stay in Grand Palladium resort, the jerk chicken that comes with paella from the Jerk Hut at Sunset Cove is probably the best you would get in the resort. Check their hours so that you don’t miss it. The jerk chicken at the second floor restaurant Xaymaica was good. Don’t get it from the Poseidon restaurant at Sunset Cove! (In fact, don’t eat there…) If you try jerk chicken from the buffet, chances are what you have does not do this famous dish justice.


如果你住Grand Palladium的話,Sunset Cove Jerk Hut的香料雞大概是渡假村裡最好吃的,營業時間比其他餐廳短,要注意一下他們什麼時候開。二樓Xaymaica餐廳的香料雞還不錯,千萬不要點Sunset Cove Poseidon餐廳的香料雞!真的蠻難吃。

The best jerk chicken we had was from a stand at a parking lot across the street from Rick’s Cafe. Our tour guide said this guy won a national “jerk off” jerk chicken contest before.

street food jerk chicken

We got an order of jerk chicken for six dollars. Aaron said it was the best six dollars we spent over there. It was so good that I forgot to take a picture. The chicken was so tender, moist and well-seasoned. Nothing beats grilling over charcoal. That smoky taste made the chicken so much better. All the jerk chicken we tried in our resort could not compare. His jerk seasoning is better than all other ones that I tried.

The flavor was one of the biggest differences from this street food jerk chicken and what we had at the hotel. The jerk spice blended together very well. Normally if you let a sauce or marinade sit overnight or longer, the flavors come together. The sauce of the jerk chicken that we had at the Poseidon restaurant of the resort tasted like they just whipped everything together and brushed it on the chicken.

我們吃到最厲害的香料雞是在Rick’s Cafe對街停車場的路邊攤,導遊說這位小哥得過全國”jerk off”烤雞大賽 (jerk是那個香料的名字,jerk off是打手槍的意思…),我們點了一份jerk chicken,六塊錢,Aaron說是整趟花得最值得的六塊錢,好吃到我忘了照相,雞肉很嫩又一點也不會乾,很入味,炭火烤的味道很香,比飯店的好吃一萬倍。他的jerk調味是我吃到的香料雞和豬裡面第一名。


curry goat

Curry goat is another must-eat. I only got to try it once though, at the Xaymaica restaurant of the Grand Palladium resort. I thought goat would be tough, but surprisingly it was more tender than I expected. I was happy with what I got.


ackee and fish

The national dish of Jamaica is ackee and saltfish. Ackee is a local fruit that kind of looks like scrambled eggs in this dish. I again only tried it once at the same restaurant. I was not impressed. The saltfish, supposedly dried codfish, was very very dried. I was convinced that the hotel cooking did not do this national dish justice.

牙買加的國菜是阿開木煮鹹魚(ackee and saltfish),阿開木(或者叫西非荔枝果)是一種當地水果,煮成菜在盤子裡乍看像炒蛋,我也只有在飯店餐廳吃過一次,說真的還蠻難吃的…鹹魚是魚乾,非常非常乾,害我很好奇想要吃吃看家常菜或有名餐廳的這道菜,深信一定是在渡假村遇到不好的手藝。

From my search prior to the trip, I read about this soursop drink but never saw it in the resort. I asked our super nice waiter at the Xaymaica restaurant. He said he was in fact going back home that weekend and would be picking soursop and making soursop juice with his family. That confirmed my mission searching for soursop was not crazy and made me want to try it even more.

When I saw soursop juice in a bottle at the supermarket we stopped in at Negril, I was so excited! I did not quite know what to expect. This is what I read online: “It tastes like a combination of strawberry and pineapple, with a hint of creaminess and sour citrus.” That really does not help. And the store bought juice did not taste like what this description said either. The drink I bought was sweet and a bit thick. If you have ever tried the Japanese uncarbonated soft drink, Calpis / カルピス / 可爾必思, then you would have an idea. Calpis was what the store bought soursop drink tasted like. The consistency was in between Calpis and Asian yogurt drink.



Looks like a soursop tree to me. (What do I know?) 自以為像是soursop樹

Looks like a soursop tree to me. (What do I know?) 看起來像是soursop樹 (自己在亂講)

Red Stripe is the most common beer in Jamaica. Many people buy Blue Mountain coffee or Appleton Estate rum as souvenirs. I personally did not like the almost whiskey taste of Jamaican rum. A friend of mine who used to work at this coffee shop for coffee connoisseurs said the Blue Mountain coffee that I bought from the resort was very good.

很多地方要點啤酒幾乎都只有Red Stripe。簡單的伴手禮是藍山咖啡或Appleton Estate的蘭姆酒,在高檔咖啡店工作過的同事說我在飯店買的藍山咖啡很好喝,我個人不愛牙買加蘭姆酒,味道像威士忌,(喝習慣Sailor Jerry…)。


9 thoughts on “Jamaica: Jerk Chicken, Curry Goat and Soursop

  1. Pingback: Jamaica: Cliff Diving and Sunset at Rick’s Cafe 牙買加跳水和夕陽 | Near and Far

  2. Reblogged this on THE ISLAND JOURNAL and commented:
    Ackee and fish? Jerk chicken? I was very excited about these Jamaican dishes. I had no idea what ackee was, and did not know what spices are in the jerk seasoning. Aside from all kinds of drinks with Jamaican rum, I set it as my mission to find soursop juice. Another ingredient I did not know.

    • Thank you. This is my five-day tourist perspective of a glimpse of one corner of your lovely country. I’m sure some of my experience did not do the Jamaican cuisine justice, but I had lots of fun and certainly enjoyed the food!

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