Jamaican food is some of the best you will have in the entire world. In general, Caribbean cooking is a treat because so many spices are combined in different ways to make the food extra appealing. People also make good use of ingredients most others would throw away. That means you get hearty dishes that are flavorful and exceptional. There are many Jamaican dishes I would consider to be near the top of the list. In this article, I will describe the different dishes and what makes them special. You will be able to see why Jamaican cooking is so special. There are many others that could make this Jamaican food list, but I would only stick with those I personally tried and really like. If you are a fan of Jamaica, you will really like these different dishes.

 Curry Goat

 Curry goat is a mainstay in the Jamaican diet. It is exactly what it sounds like, which is goat meat that has been chopped up and slowly cooked in a spice mixture that includes curry powder. What makes this dish so special is the tender goat meat that loses its gamey taste once you apply that spice mixture. If you cook it right, it also gets a texture that makes it really delicious. You can have this with plain white rice or rice and peas. This meal is popular on special occasions, but many people choose to have it as a weekly dish. Some people also prefer to have it with coleslaw and rice. No matter what you add to it, it is one of the best dishes you can have in Jamaican cuisine.   

Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Food - Jerk Chicken

 Jerk chicken is one of the most famous Jamaican dishes around the world. When people think of Jamaican food, jerk chicken often comes to mind. Jerk chicken in Jamaica is done on a custom-built drum pan that has been repurposed for jerk chicken. It is made by soaking the chicken in a large number of tropical spices and infusing them into the meat in the process. You then slowly roast it over the coals, making it soak in the flavor and become tender. After this process, the jerk chicken is flavorful and tender. It is served in aluminum foil with a generous drizzling of jerk sauce. It is the quintessential Jamaican street food, which is what most people don’t realize. Jerk chicken is street food in Jamaica. 

 Beef Patties

Delicious Jamaican beef patties

Contrary to popular belief, beef patties are street food in Jamaica. These are also called turnovers, which are also known as empanadas. A Jamaican beef patty is made with a special dough with curry and other spices. It is then filled with spicy ground beef, which is one of the most delicious fillings you will ever taste. What makes this special is that there are a variety of fillings, from chicken to vegetarian, which means you can get a beef patty that suits your specific tastes. These delicious turnovers are excellent when you want a small meal to walk around with. You can also use them as a snack, which is what children in Jamaica do during their primary and high school years.

Ox Tails

Ox Tails, as the name suggests, is the meat from the tail of a cow. That makes it really specific and expensive because it has blown up in popularity over the years. It used to be one of the many throwaway cuts that only became fancy when people from abroad started taking an interest in it. Ox Tails is slow cooked, resulting in fatty meat that is also tender to the touch. It essentially falls off the bone. When cooked well, you won’t find many other cuts of beef that can match the rich flavors you get from Ox Tails. It is usually a special dish cooked on weekends with rice and peas.

Bun and Cheese

Delicious Bun and Cheese

While people in other places hunger for eggs during Easter, Jamaicans prefer to dine on bun and cheese. The spice bun is a special sweet pastry that was shaped to look like bread. It is then paired with a delicious cheese that mostly originates from New Zealand. This cheese has a savory flavor that is comparable to mild cheddar. Jamaican Bun and Cheese is a great choice if you want the ultimate sweet treat.

 Coconut Drops

Coconut drops are a delicious snack consisting of cubed coconuts slowly boiled in a syrupy solution with additional spices to give it a unique tropical flavor. These are the perfect choice for people needing a quick, sweet treat. You can find them on the roads while driving across the country. The good thing about these snacks is that they are quite cheap and easy to make. These also taste really good for the work and effort you must put in.


Jamaica has many culinary delights, and you will love everything available. These options are just a few of our favorites, but there are many more you might want to try on your next trip. Learning Jamaican patwa is a great way to connect to the culture and learn more about the different foods you can try.