Follow Me Foodie to Jamaica!

Follow Me Foodie to Jamaica!

I did it to you again! Did you know I was gone!? Well I was! But I’m back, and this time from foodie paradise! I was recently invited on a culinary bloggers press trip to Jamaica, and I think I ate my weight in fish and sweated it all out in Scotch Bonnet peppers. Hot damn those are spicy! But you know what else is spicy? My upcoming Jamaican blog posts! Can I get a “Day O”?! Daaaaaay O… daylight come and me didn’t wan’ go home!

Climbing the coconut tree barefoot at Prospect Plantation in Ocho Rios… that isn’t me though.

But everything has to come to an end, and I can’t complain when home tastes good too! Of course, if you’re familiar with my blog, everything will be based on honesty. So if you’re ready, Follow Me Foodie to Jamaica!

Wait! Isn’t this New York? Yes, but just a heads up, I haven’t quite finished with Follow Me Foodie to New York and there’s still more to come! And of course I’ll never ever be finished with Vancouver, so I’ll have posts for that too. I’ll just be switching things up here and there to keep things interesting. Anyways, I’ll say a temporary farewell to city life and slow things down, and I mean really ssllooww things down… to island time.

The Jamaican “Statue of Liberty”

“One Love! One Heart!
Let’s get together and feel all right.”
One Love lyrics, by Bob Marley (Photo from the Bob Marley Museum)

If feeling all right meant stuffed, I definitely could relate to Bob Marley’s state of mind. He enjoyed his country’s home grown herbs, and I enjoyed his country’s homegrown food! But wait, can you grow rum cakes?

It was a packed eating itinerary of exploring Jamaica’s culinary scene in Kingston and Ocho Rios, and you can be sure I tried everything in order to report back. I can’t say I was too familiar with Jamaican food before this trip, but now I have a better idea.

I have visited Jamaica on a Caribbean cruise way back when, but at that time I was more interested in the banana boats than the bananas, so that doesn’t really count. Other than that, I think the closest I’ve come to authentic Jamaican food is from Jamaican Pizza Jerk in Vancouver, BC. Okay, but wait, don’t roll your eyes! The word “pizza” might throw you off, but after this tour, I can say that it was actually a pretty good representation of the food there. Pizza is really just a small portion of what they offer.

There’s also The Reef (which is more Caribbean) and a few other Jamaican restaurants in Metro Vancouver, but I have yet to explore them. But now I’m even more eager to do so!

I got to explore the low and higher end dining options in Jamaica and I’m sure I barely scratched the surface of what the country has to offer, but it gave me an idea.

It’s a country that’s reliant on its natural environment. From home grown herbs (legal ones), to tropical fruits and the fish from the surrounding sea (always served fully cooked), it can be a healthy diet, although most of the time it’s served with heavy or deep fried starches. It can be vegetarian friendly, but it’s ideal for fish lovers and pescatarians (vegetarians who eat fish/seafood).

At Scotchies, the place for authentic Jerk chicken.

And if you’re a meat eater, no worries for sure! You’re guaranteed to settle your carnivorous cravings whether it’s from goat curry, oxtail stew, and of course Jerk chicken.

Scotch bonnet peppers roasting for a home made hot pepper sauce at the Belcour Blue Mountain Preserves farm.

I have to give a shout out to these. Scotch bonnet peppers came up often, but not everything is spicy. I wouldn’t say the spices are as strong as they are in Indian food, but there are some cultural influences from cuisines including Indian, African, Chinese and Spanish. I warn you though, these scotch bonnet peppers are ridiculously hot.

I had a horrible eye touching experience with them when I was 11. My mom brought them home thinking they were mini orange bell peppers, and I discovered the hard way that they weren’t.

Anyways, during my trip in Jamaica I accidentally ate one with all the seeds, and all I wanted to do is curl up into a ball, puke, and cry myself to sleep… it was bloody painful. Most Jamaican people don’t even eat them whole and they even try avoiding the seeds… it was an experience I’ll never forget and I hope not to relive.

I must say that it’s really hard to give restaurant recommendations if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Actually even if you’re familiar with the area, it’s still challenging. Mainly because none of the “real deal” Jamaican restaurants have signs. Most of them are literally hole in the walls, or shacks, next to rows of other hole in the walls, or shacks, so describing which shack, or how to get there is near impossible.

I could only go as far as the tour took me, and it was enough to give me an idea of what’s considered a local favourite and what’s a tourist trap. To be honest, I had a taste of both. However, what’s important is that I got familiarized with the ingredients, food and culture, and there’s definitely lots of delicious things to report back on.

Don’t you even think that I forgot about the desserts! I could never. As for the desserts, carrot cake, banana bread and coconut tarts come up often. I was surprised that rum cake actually didn’t, although I did have an amazing one while I was there. I’m trying to land my hands on the recipe, but watch for my posts!

The more traditional Jamaican desserts and candies include Grater Cakes, Coconut Drops, Jackass Corn, Coconut Gizada, and Rum Balls, which I got to try compliments of Jaci’s Multi-Treat Pack.

And of course, for some, there is the dessert after dessert… Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum.

So sit back, relax, and let me fetch you a coconut!

Jamaica starts tomorrow!

12 Comments

  • KimHo says:

    That’s Mijune for you: even in the tropics, while trying to fetch a coconut, you will be wearing heels! 😉

    BTW, remember, when eating spicy food, the counter is a dairy product. Milk, yogurt, ice cream, et al. However, I still can’t imagine you doing all you said you were about to do after tasting (even accidentally) that Scotch Bonnet!

  • Kevin says:

    Wow, I had to comment on the heels as well, but look who beat me… lol.
    Oh Mijune… 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @KimHo – it wasn’t “tasting” a Scotch Bonnet.. I ate the WHOLE pepper! Seeds and all! I couldn’t talk for 30 min… lol… that’s how you can get me to shut up though! o.O And yes! I was looking for the milk and they had no milk :*( so I just ate the bread.

    @Kevin – you know me pretty well… it shouldn’t really surprise you anymore right? 🙂

  • Linda says:

    hahaha even before reading kimho and kevin’s comments, i wanted to say something about your heels as well! lol that’s probably your signature item now.. that and your cute apron! 🙂

    ya mon! i can’t wait to hear about your culinary adventures in jamaica! i wished there were more options here in vancouver so i’m going to have to live vicariously through your experiences there 🙂

    scotch bonnets eh? have you tried a ghost pepper? poor adam richman always has to eat those lol

  • Bow says:

    @Mijune, next time you got to eat some sugar to soak up the oil which is in the mouth,,,it’ll kill the chili burn(or eat soft bread or have a milkshake), anything to soak up the chili capsicum; that’s why water is a temporary relief…water doesn’t absorb the oil. It must have hurt !
    Such a traveller now, posts from the Far East, America, Jamaica…is Europe on the horizon?

  • Looking forward to more of these delicious posts. Jerk chicken is one of my all time favourite dishes. I was lucky enough to have a Jamaican woman live with my family when I was young who practically became my aunt. I owe her my love of cooking and spicy foods.

    The Wanderfull Traveler

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – A ghost pepper… no…. I don’t think I could do it… it hurts… I would rather eat a bug lol…. but not a spider… lol

    lol the funny thing is that the shoes didn’t phase my friends at all because they know me so well. I’ve been doing it since high school so they’re used to it lol!

    @Bow – YES!! Sugar helped!! So funny you say because I learned that afterward! If no milk.. SUGAR!! I should keep some on me. Water was adding fuel to the fire! i did Europe about 4 years ago and I REALLY wish I was blogging then… now I await the day… hopefully lol.

    @Wanderfull Traveler – Ahhh I have a GREAT place for you in Jamaica then! You’ll see! OMG.. you ARE lucky… I hope she taught you some recipes!

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