Happy New Year from the island of ‘one love’! On a recent trip to Kingston, Jamaica I enjoyed the authentic food and scenes of the third largest island urban capital city in the Caribbean Sea.
The natural fruits and vegetables are grown and celebrated in Jamaica’s cuisine. The roots reggae music evokes peace, love and unity despite many Jamaicans are living through economic struggles and hardships.
Naturally beautiful, Jamaica’s landscape is green and hilly with great Blue Mountains in the east. In the hills, there are plenty coconut, banana trees, mango trees and the national fruit tree – the ackee tree.
Authentic Jamaican cuisine comes from the land. The national dish called ackee and saltfish, is fried in oil with cod fish, onions and hot peppers. The dish is served at breakfast with iron-rich leafy green callaloo, boiled green bananas, yams and fried Johnny Cakes.
With the Caribbean sea surrounding the island, fish dishes like snapper are also served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In Kingston and throughout Jamaica, people sell fruits and vegetables from the land along the road and in large outdoor markets like the popular Coronation Market in downtown Kingston. Fruits sold roadside include the green breadfruit that looks like a large cantaloupe and sugar cane chopped into bite sized stalks are sold in as a juicy snack.
Jamaican Reggae Music
Known for its reggae music, Jamaica’s music scene is a vibrant part of the Jamaican culture. Kingston is the site for the famed Bob Marley museum. I had the privilege to spend time at the Youth Promotion Music Center of late reggae artist Sugar Minott. Inside the walls of the center grounds, are colorful painted murals paying homage to some of Jamaica’s top reggae artists such as Dennis Brown, Mighty Diamonds, Garnet Silk, Tenor Saw, and Bob Marley. Many up and coming reggae musicians work and perform at Sugar Minott’s studio.
Watch the Drive through Kingston with background music “Jah Love Cover Me” by reggae artist Staddaday, whose melodic sounds is mix of Sanchez and Bob Marley.
A visit to Kingston, Jamaica is an opportunity to enjoy food and music grown directly from the island and its people.