10 Jamaican Food Most Visitors to the Island Will Be Too Scared to Try

Many dishes that Jamaicans have cooked for centuries may seem odd to visitors. A history of slavery perpetrated on the nation by various countries has taught residents the importance of using every resource at their disposal. The following are 10 Jamaican foods that visitors are afraid to try.

Chicken Foot Soup

When chicken feet are added to stewed peas, the result is chicken foot soup. Other variations incorporate chicken feet with carrots, yams, pumpkins, potatoes, corn and other ingredients for a hearty meal.

Cow Cod Soup

Prepared primarily in rural areas, the main ingredient in the soup is bull’s penis and it’s purported to be an aphrodisiac. In addition to the meat, cooks add liberal portions of vegetables, dumplings, yams, bananas, and rum.

Cow Foot Stew

The cow feet are seasoned and combined with garlic, onion, pimento, thyme, butter beans, and Scotch Bonnet peppers. It’s been a staple since the 1600s.

Cow Tongue Stew

Cow tongue is the meat portion of the stew and the skin is removed before it’s cooked. Cooks combine their own special blend of herbs, spices, and ingredients that can include peas, potatoes, onions, okra, carrots and plantains. Some incorporate dumplings for a filling stew base.

Cow Tripe

Tripe is the entrails of the cow and in Jamaica it’s consumed as an entrée. Cow tripe is meticulously cleaned with boiling water before being cooked and served with butter beans and the cook’s own selection of spices.

Curry Goat

A perennial favorite in Jamaica, it’s seasoned with garlic, onion, thyme, scallions, Scotch Bonnet peppers and the cook’s own blend of other spices. The meat is immersed in a bath of curry powder, slow cooked until tender, and popular at family gatherings.


One of the island’s most well-known dishes, escovitch is steamed whole fish. Jamaicans cook the whole fish, including the head, in the popular delicacy. The fish is seasoned with garlic, spices, herbs and generous portions of butter, wrapped in foil and left to steam in its own juices. It can be prepared in the oven or on the grill.

Mannish Water

The original recipe was a savory soup that incorporated generous portions of almost all parts of a ram goat, including the head, belly and entrails, along with unpeeled boiled green bananas. For those that don’t have time to cook, it’s now available in soup packets at supermarkets.

Pepper Shrimp

Available throughout the island as a street snack known as “swims,” peppered shrimp is seasoned with garlic, Scotch Bonnet peppers, onions, butter, lemon and paprika for a tasty treat.

Stew Peas and Pig Tails

Rather than actual peas, the hearty dish utilizes kidney beans and a combination of spices and herbs. Pig tails are added for meat flavoring.

Photo – Monie Skin Care, Chef Noel Cunningham, Reggae Cafe Jamaican Jerk and Seafood, seasoningbottle blog,  Chef Sian Rose