Report from Jamaica

ackee fruit

My brother just came back from visiting his girlfriend who’s interning in Kingston, Jamaica for the summer. It sounds like a pretty groovy way to build your resume, but considering it was in the city’s public health administration, it may have been a little more involved than buying shell necklaces and lounging on the beach listening to reggae. I wish I had more to tell about an area I find really fascinating, but since I wasn’t there I only managed to glean these tidbits on Jamaica and its food:

Beef patties are commonly sold at two chains owned by Chinese shopkeeper families, Juici Patties, and Tastee Patties. Both entrepreneurs of these chains have won accolades for bolstering the economy in Jamaica, while Juici Patties has successfully entered the Canadian market (for some reason).

Jerk originated at Boston Beach in Portland Parish, Jamaica, and was largely unknown outside of Portland until the 1950’s. The dry rub mixture includes allspice and Scotch Bonnet peppers, and the meat is traditionally wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over Pimento wood. Today, most people tend to think it’s the most Jamaican thing ever beside Red Stripe beer.

The Jamaican national dish and common breakfast is “ackee and saltfish.” The ackee is the crazy fruit pictured above, related somewhat to lychee nuts, and to eat it requires taking out the poisonous big black seeds and de-veining the “bready” sections. It has a strange taste and a texture “like scrambled eggs.”

Other weird fruit native to Jamaica and the Caribbean include breadfruit (which tastes like bread), sweet sop (or custard apple), ugli fruit, guineps, and sour sop.

Mangosteen, all praises to flavor aside, you are totally yesterday’s elusive fruit.

(for more info on Jamaican dishes check out this tourism page on food)

5 Responses

  1. kmonique

    Sweet Sop and Custard Apples are two different fruits. Related maybe, but they are different texture and taste. Sweetsop has a green bummpy exterior while the Custard Apple has brown smooth skin.

  2. Daggerin

    I don’t comment on many blogs but after reading a few of your posts I thought I would just say thanks and keep up the good work.

  3. soursop

    I don’t know about the jamaican ackee but I can testify that soursop is a must have fruit when in the caribbean.

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