The popular website tasteatlas.com has compiled a list of the 100 most popular dishes served in the Caribbean, and 30 of the featured dishes come from the island nation of Jamaica, including the Number 1 most popular Caribbean item: Jamaican jerk.
The Jamaican foods on the tasteatlas.com list of the top 100 Caribbean dishes, with their rankings, are as follows:
Number 96: Toto
A popular cake made from flour, sugar, grated coconut, eggs, milk, butter, and flavorings like allspice, nutmeg, and ginger. Sometimes raisins and rum are added as well.
Number 94: Ackee and Saltfish Pizza
A uniquely Jamaican pizza in which the crust is topped with sliced onions, shredded cheese, tomato sauce, and cooked ackee and saltfish. The combination of fruit, fish, cheese, and onions has made it a popular choice on the island.
Number 93: Grater Cake
A traditional dessert that relies on freshly grated coconut and granulated sugar for the main ingredients. These ingredients are cooked in water until the mixture becomes sticky and the coconut is soft in texture. The cake is often colored red or pink with food coloring. Also known as “grater brute” when brown sugar is used instead of white sugar.
Number 89: Mannish Water
A soup made from goat legs, head, intestines, and testicles, which are combined with yam, coconut, green bananas, dumplings, and hot peppers. White rum is sometimes added for additional flavor. The soup is often served at large gatherings and is believed to be an aphrodisiac.
Number 79: Peanut Drops
These snacks are made by boiling roasted peanuts and minced ginger in water with brown sugar until the water has evaporated, leaving a sticky caramel-like substance. After the drops cool and harden, they make great treats for young and old alike.
Number 77: Bulla Cake
A round and flat cake made of flour, molasses, and baking powder and often flavored with ginger or nutmeg. Popular with children, it is typically eaten with butter, avocado, and cheese.
Number 76: Curried Lobster
A flavorful dish made with the spiny, clawless Caribbean variety of lobster, tomato, garlic, onion, water, and seasoned with curry powder, hot peppers, thyme, and cumin. Cooked slowly until the gravy is thick, it can be garnished with chopped coriander.
Number 75: Coconut Drop
A traditional treat made by boiling small pieces of coconut in a mixture of brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and powdered ginger. When left to cool on a flat surface, they take the shape of rough cakes with an unusual shape and visual appearance.
Number 73: Red Pea Soup
A thick and flavorful stew of beef or pork, yams, potatoes, red peas, and dumplings that is usually flavored with pimento and thyme.
Number 71: Ital Stew
A hearty stew made of plantains, split peas, squash, taro root, potatoes, carrots, okra, onions, and collard greens in a coconut milk broth seasoned with thyme and pimento. It is generally associated with the Rastafarian movement. “Ital” is derived from the word “vital” and denotes the fact that the food is vegetarian and unprocessed.
Number 70: Tamarind Balls
A Jamaican specialty made from the tamarind’s sticky flesh, water, and brown sugar, which is rolled into balls having a sweet and sour flavor. An alcoholic version includes rum.
Number 69: Jamaican Mackerel Rundown
A classic Jamaican dish that features salted or pickled mackerel and a sauce made of coconut milk boiled with various seasonings until it becomes a custard. The sauce is often flavored with garlic, black pepper, scotch bonnet peppers, scallions, and thyme. Often eaten at breakfast with green bananas, festival, bammy, or roasted breadfruit.
Number 55: Coco Bread
A bread made of flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter, and coconut milk, then baked until golden brown. The bread is typically split in two and filled with a Jamaican patty.
Number 50: Peppered Shrimp
A street food that consists of shrimp cooked in a skillet with garlic, hot pepper, butter, and thyme. Often sold to travelers from roadside stands.
Number 49: Brown Stew Fish
A stew featuring a combination of marinated and fried fish fillets with a brown sauce made from onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, butter, and water. Often seasoned with thyme and different kinds of hot peppers and traditionally served with rice and peas or yams and bananas.
Number 48: Escovitch Fish
A classic made of seasoned and marinated fried firm-bodied fish and a vinegar-based dressing of bell peppers, carrots, and onions. A traditional Easter dish.
Number 44: Gizzada
A dessert that consists of a pastry shell with a sweet and slightly spicy coconut filling. Its characteristic feature is its pinched crust, which gives the name “gizzada” or “pinch-me-round.” Thought to be of Portuguese or Jewish origin.
Number 38: Steamed Cabbage
A side dish made of sliced and steamed cabbage flavored with garlic, hot pepper, and tomatoes that is often eaten at breakfast along with black mint tea, fried dumplings or bread.
Number 35: Oxtail with Broad Beans
A traditional Jamaican stew made of chopped oxtail, onions, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, fava beans, water, cornstarch, and seasoned with black pepper, allspice, thyme, and salt. The stew is cooked slowly until it thickens and the meat falls off the bone.
Number 34: Festival
A dumpling made with cornmeal, flour, water, salt, sugar, and baking powder and traditionally shaped into an oval with a crispy exterior, which results from being fried in hot oil. Served with saltfish or mango coleslaw.
Number 29: Hummingbird Cake
A cake made with flour, vegetable oil, bananas, pineapple, pecans, eggs, vanilla, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and leavening. Often served with cream cheese frosting. Originally called Doctor Bird Cake in reference to the nickname for a Jamaican hummingbird variety known as red-billed streamer-tail because the cake’s yellow streaks of banana are like the bird’s plumage.
Number 23: Sweet Potato Pudding
A favorite Sunday dessert made of sweet potatoes, flour, coconut milk, dried fruits, and flavored with vanilla, nutmeg, sugar, and salt. Usually baked in an oven, but some Jamaicans still make it on a coal pot in which charcoal is placed under and on top of the baking pan.
Number 22: Ackee and Saltfish
The national dish of Jamaica, it is made with ackee, a fruit that originated in West Africa and was brought to the island in the 18th century. The ackee is combined with dried and salted fish, usually cod, mahi mahi, or mackerel. Often eaten for breakfast or as an appetizer for lunch or dinner.
Number 19: Stamp and Go
A street food that consists of fritters, which are usually made with salt cod, but callaloo, ackee, and conch may also be used. Eaten at breakfast or as an appetizer and usually served with a sweet dipping sauce on the side.
Number 16: Brown Stew Chicken
A spicy stew made with chicken pieces, which are browned and simmered in a gravy made with onions, peppers, ketchup, and water. Traditionally served with rice, peas, fried ripe plantains, and sliced tomatoes and garnished with chopped green onions.
Number 15: Jamaican Steamed Fish
A dish made by cooking any firm white fish in a sauce made of butter, tomatoes and onions, and herbs like thyme, garlic, and black pepper. The sauce is typically flavored with scotch bonnet peppers. Often served with rice, boiled bananas, and crackers.
Number 12: Bammy
A traditional flatbread made with cassava. The dough is often soaked in coconut milk before being fried, steamed, or baked. It originated with the Arawaks, Jamaica’s original inhabitants.
Number 11: Fish Tea
A light fish broth seasoned with salt, pepper, and thyme, featuring small fish like herring and vegetables including bell peppers, carrots, onions, and green bananas. Believed to be an aphrodisiac.
Number 5: Jamaican Patty
A street food that consists of meat pie featuring African and Indian influences. Patties are flat and shaped like half-moons, then coated with turmeric. The filling usually consists of finely ground beef, breadcrumbs, and flavorings of thyme, onions, garlic, Scotch bonnet chilis, and a zesty curry powder.
Number 1: Jamaican Jerk
Jerk refers to the unique Jamaican cooking method in which pork, chicken, beef, seafood, or even fruits and vegetables are cooked over a fire pit or on a grill. The key to jerk is its seasoning made of a mix of onions, green onions, thyme, Jamaican pimento, chilies, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.