Jamaica lures most travelers with scenic beaches and hard-to-resist reggae rhythms, but a visit to the island’s bustling capital of Kingston reveals a foodie paradise waiting to be explored. We’re diving into an important aspect of Jamaican culture with a look at our four favorite local foods — and the best places to find them.
1. Patties from Tastee or Juici
The ultimate Jamaican street food is a flaky, savory pie stuffed with an assortment of fillings — from traditional beef or saltfish to veggies or curried chicken. The locals take their patties so seriously that there’s even a rivalry between the two main shops, Tastee and Juici. At Tastee, you’ll find a wide variety of patty flavors, plus options for classic meals like curried goat, while Juici’s menu includes soups, sides, and seafood options like shrimp. There are multiple locations for both businesses throughout the city, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to join Jamaicans for their daily patty break.
2. Jerk at Sweetwood Jerk Joint
Sweetwood Jerk Joint claims to have the best Jerk in town, and draws locals and visitors alike with its mouthwateringly juicy meat, from pork, chicken, sausage, and lamb to fish and conch. Sides include sweet potato, yam, breadfruit, potato salad, and corn.
3. Stew beef at Tracks & Records
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt’s sprawling restaurant and sports lounge delivers a dizzying selection of Jamaican dishes, but none stand out more than the “yaad style stew beef” — a traditional beef stew that’s braised and spiced to perfection. We like to order it with a side of potatoes and roasted local vegetables.
4. Ice cream from Scoops (Devon House Ice Cream)
Heralded across the island as the creator of the country's best ice cream — or "I scream," as it's called there — the historic Devon House serves up an array of creamy goodness to hordes of locals and visitors. The small shop offers 27 flavors that include rum raisin, soursop, coconut coffee, and Bordeaux cherry, among others.