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Yea Mon – Jamaican Cuisine
Jamaican cuisine is unique and delicious, bringing together the island’s produce and spices. The island’s cuisine is represented by the Jamaican motto, “Out of Many, One People”. People living in Jamaica have come from all over the world, including the British, Dutch, French, Spanish, East Indian, West African, Portuguese and Chinese, who brought their own ways of cooking, seasoning, and spices, mixing with the abundance of the island. harvest.
The first inhabitants of Jamaica were the Arawak Indians, who died after the arrival of the Spanish in 1509, due to disease and overwork. The Spanish then began importing slaves from Africa to replace their workers. The Spanish brought their own cooking powers. Also, many Spanish Jews also arrived during the Spanish rule and contributed to Jamaican cuisine, such as the dish that is popular today, fish escovitch.
In 1655 the British took over Jamaica from Spain and turned much of the land into sugar plantations. English influenced the development of one of Jamaica’s most popular foods, the Jamaican Pattie, a spicy meatball similar to the island’s hamburger. Many varieties of Jamaican patties can be found in most refrigerators these days.
A century later, Chinese and East Indian indentured laborers replaced freed African slaves. These immigrants influenced the curries that favor almost all Jamaican dishes today, such as goat, chicken and seafood.
Of particular interest is the number of Jamaican Maroons. The Maroons are a people descended from escaped Spanish slaves, savage warriors who went to the mountains and were never recaptured. They settled in a remote mountain area south of Montego Bay in the Cockpit Country. The Maroon now live a self-sustaining lifestyle from the mainland and are known as the chief herbalists of the island.
As seen above, Jamaican food is influenced by its history. “Bammie”, a flat cake eaten with fried fish today, was made from cassava grown by the Arawak. The Maroons, slaves who were always on the run, developed a method of “shaking” meat (through spices and slow-cooked pork) that is popular in Jamaica today. Breadfruit, yams, vegetables and ackee were brought from Africa to feed the slaves cheaply. The fruit is said to have arrived with Captain William Bligh on the Bounty. And, as we have said, the Indians of China and the East brought exotic spices in curry and other spices.
In addition to the contributions of foreign influences, vegetables, such as cho-cho (squash-like vegetables) and callaloo (similar to spinach) are also known in Jamaican cooking today, along with the island’s fruits of bananas, coconuts, and mangoes. and pineapple. Some of the exotic fruits popular in Jamaica are guineps, pawpaw, candy and star apple.
The pimento tree produces many Jamaican foods, such as ginger, garlic, nutmeg, and the Scotch Bonnet pepper, which is considered one of the hottest peppers in the world. The Scotch bonnet is essential in the production of bacon, chicken and fish for which Jamaica is famous. Amaroon would braise the meat for hours in a mixture of pepper, pimento seeds, scallions, thyme and nutmeg, then slow cook it over an outdoor pit lined with pimento wood. Jerk stands can be found all over the island these days offering tourists and locals alike a unique flavor that is famous around the world.
Negril, located on the west coast of Jamaica, is famous for its “hippie” atmosphere. The hippies set up a community there and enjoy a laid-back lifestyle and “ganja”. From here, vegetarian food is plentiful.
Middle Quarters, the southern part of the beach, offers dried shrimp sold by the bag. Stamp and Go (saltfish fritters eaten as an appetizer) and mackerel Run-Down (fried fish cooked in infused coconut milk until the fish falls apart or “falls down”), as well as baked green bananas and yams are offered all over the island.
Jamaica is also world famous for its Blue Mountain coffee, which takes its name from the Blue Mountains where the coffee beans are grown. The coffee industry in Jamaica began in 1725, when the governor brought seedlings from Martinique and planted them on his estate. Mountains cover about one-fifth of Jamaica, with the Blue Mountains reaching a height of 7,400 feet. The coffee is grown on the hillsides, at an altitude of 1,500 to 5,000 meters above sea level, and is often shaded by pear and banana trees.
The national food of Jamaica is saltfish and ackee, the island’s breakfast. Ackee, cooked looks and tastes like scrambled eggs. Ackee is poisonous until cooked and is always served cooked.
Rice ‘n peas is a popular dish on the island, but it’s not actually peas but beans (usually red kidney beans.) Other favorite Jamaican dishes are red pea soup (again kidney beans, salted pork tails, etc. beef and vegetables), very hard bread. , fish tea (a fish bouillon), Johnny cakes (fried or baked bread), mannish water (spicy soup made from goat’s heads), bulla (spicy bun), nandolo (red pea or pea soup), Solomon Gundy ( a delicacy made from fish) and a festival (a type of bread).
As you can see, Jamaica offers a variety of cuisines based on the island’s history. From British, Spanish, African, East Indian and Chinese, Jamaican cuisine is delicious and spicy, and is a culinary experience that everyone can enjoy.
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