(Whole fried snapper (escovitch) with a spicy onion/pepper vinaigrette)
MissInfo.TV is back with another special foodie tour for our lovers of the culinary arts. This time, my travels have taken me to Ocho Rios, Jamaica for the annual Rebel Salute Reggae festival. The beloved event brings together a mix of the veterans and new talent in the Reggae/Dancehall scene. Last night, I was front row for the kick-off, where crowd favorites like Damian Marley, Bugle, Max Romeo and many more tore up the stage (More on that later). I’m definitely here for the music but there’s now way I could have come to the islands and not explored the food culture. Honestly, Jamaica is another place that I dreamed of visiting since I was about 13-14-years old, so I’m really trying to eat everything possible. Stick around, because this is going to be good.
Click begin to start the food tour…
Started From The Bottom:
You have to start with the classic beef patty. A one of the easiest and most common snack foods in Jamaica, the combination of flaky crust and spicy peppered meat in the inside makes this the equivalent of an island hamburger.
The real deal: Skip the standard beef patty with cheese, though. Get the “meat loaf.” Instead of a thin crust, the meat loaf patty comes with a thick soft and sweet roll. The meat isn’t as spicy as the standard beef patty. This is nothing like what you will find in a NYC bodega or pizza shop. Try Juici’s when in JA, the local favorite.
There’s a ton of great homemade ice cream around the island. Don’t skip out on trying the local flavors. Guinness beer and guava fruit were unbelievable.
From the Ocean:
Obviously, Jamaican cooking utilizes the waters that surrounds it. I’m trying my best to hit up all the small vendors and street food chefs who cook up tasty saltwater bites along the roads. I had an incredible whole fried snapper last night as a start.
Keep it real:
Don’t let the head freak you out. There’s tons of juicy bits of white flesh and crispy, salty bits to pick from that thing. Real chefs know that the cheek is the best part.
How to Eat:
Use your hands family, get down and dirty with this thing. It’s the island way.
Those aren’t just onions and peppers, people. It’s comes with a spicy pepper-infused vinegar sauce. Very hot.
Look how flaky white and juicy the meat is. With a perfectly crisp exterior, the textures were perfect.
Local Roots brew to stay in shape. HAHA.
Oh my my.
Go for the giant coconuts with a straw. That Vita-Coco crap can’t even compare.
Sure, you can pretty much get Jerk chicken anywhere these days but there’s a big difference between some restaurant that just slapped pepper sauce on a piece of chicken and put it in the oven. The roadside guys who barbecue the Jerk Chicken out of makeshift barrel grills are always the best. The meat has been marinaded for days and the smoke from the wood seals in all the juices. Notice how succulent the inside looks.
Where the Locals Shop:
I took a tour through a local outdoor market. There were tons of vendors hawking, fruits, vegetables, spices, meat and everything else. Grilled Yuca shown above.
Boiled Yuca and vegetables.
Local Markets: Incredible tropical fruits. Everything tastes like candy.
The Rastas cook strictly vegetarian dishes.
Better Than Ours:
Jamaican apples have white flesh, are really juicy and a bit tangy. Excellent.
The Sour Sop is a trademark Jamaican fruit. It’s flesh is creamy and not overly sweet
Special Powers: It’s also good for men..
Catch of the Day:
The Escovitch here literally goes from the ocean to an old barefoot rasta man’s knife in 15 minutes.
This is an island drink. Info must have tricked me because this is gross. Big globs of spongy muck. Not for me.
Where the locals eat:
I found these pastries at a local bakery that looked like definitely did other things on the side. They were filled with plantains and cherry. Amazing.
Also, I always hit the local cornerstores and taste all the local
More Than Jerk: Aside from Jerk chicken and fish, the island has lots of other greater seafood. I highly reccomend getting the island lobster for dinner. Island lobster is definitely way sweeter than Maine lobsters. The flesh has more of a bite but takes in the mellow garlic sauce well. There’s tons of meat in the tail.
So fresh, that it didn’t need any extra butter.
The Classic: Ackee & Saltfish comes in many forms in Jamaica. One of my favorite ways was at this tiny hut that made a creamy and herby Ackee & Saltfish Roti wrap. I’m sure going to miss this.
Local Fast Food: There’s a number of different chain resturatns for beef patties in Jamaica, but Mother’s also serves up some bangin’ fried chicken. Now it’s not find dine cuisine, but awesome fast-food munchies. Way better than KFC, but I can’t say it’s better than Popeyes.
I got the classic two piece, 1 barbecue breast.
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