Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Nyam Good Food: Part I

Nyam means eat. The word originates from our ancestral roots somewhere in West Africa.  Look out for a future post on the people of Jamaica where I'll discuss who we are, our history and ancestral roots.

Today's post however is about Jamaican food!!! I'm going to talk about a few dishes and in future post highlight some pastries/deserts, drinks that are unique to the Jamaican cuisine.

The average person when they hear Jamaican food most likely thinks of Jerk, curry goat/chicken, Oxtail or rice and peas.  There is SO much more to the Jamaican cuisine and I'll take the time to highlight a few outside of this bracket.

One thing I dream about when I miss home is the FOOD.

Below are a few highlights:


  • Various sources state the ackee tree is indigenous to West Africa and was imported to Jamaica in the 1700's on a slave ship.

Ackee Tree
Jamaican National Fruit – Ackee

  • Ackee is derived from the original name Ankye which comes from the Twi language of Ghana. (If you are from West Africa, have you seen this tree before? just curious)
  • Ackee cooked with salt fish is the National dish of Jamaica.
  • Traditionally eaten with Jamaican side items such as boiled or fried dumpling, boiled yam, green bananas, fried or roasted breadfruit.

National Dish: Ackee and Salt Fish
Picture of Ackee and Saltfish

Stew Peas:
  • Stew peas has gown to be one of my favorite Jamaican food to eat. It is a red kidney been stew that is so comforting and aromatic.  My mouth is watering now just thinking about the smell...........

Jamaican Stew Peas
  • For a demonstration and list of ingredients to cook Stew Peas, check out this link: Cook Like a Jamaican


  • A green leafy vegetable that is steamed with onions, garlic, tomatoes and sometimes salt fish.
  • Mostly eated as breakfast dish with traditional Jamaican side items  such as boiled yam, green banana, boiled or fried dumpling.
Manish Water/Goat Head Soup:
  • Manish Water is popular soup served at large gatherings mostly wakes and funerals and is popularly served in a Styrofoam cup.
  • The soup is made mainly from the goa'st head. The soup includes, green banana, coco yam, dumpling, pepper and various seasonings. Very aromatic.

Mannish Water/Goat Head Soup
Manish Water-3
Okay, let's stop here.  Look out for part II where I'll introduce some deserts and pastries.

And what is a post on Jamaican food without Jamaican Music?
Down by the River By Morgan Heritage


  1. When we went to Jamaica on our honeymoon we stopped at this little restaurant on the side of the road. It was very small and not exactly where the tourist were eating but we wanted authentic Jamaican food. I can't remember what we ordered but it was so, so good! For months after we came back we went into so many stores trying to get a sauce to mimic this dish but nothing to date. We've given up and just have to go back!

    1. You are absolutely right, you need to go to Jamaica to eat authentic Jamaican food, not even the Jamaican restaurants/carry outs can compare. It's just not the same.

      One needs to go to Jamaica to eat authentically GOOD Jamaican food!

      Did you enjoy your honeymoon in Jamaica?

  2. This post reminded me of a line from the song Jamaica Farewell that I learned over 20 years ago in school: "Aki rice and salt fish are nice and the rum is fine any time of the year". I always thought the ackee (which I've misspelled in my head for decades!) was a type of rice, but now I'm more curious than ever—is it a fruit?

    1. Ackee is scientifically classified as a fruit, but it cannot be eated as you would a "normal" fruit; It has poisinous properties/chemicals so the ackee has to be picked when the pods are fully opened and cleaned properly prior to cooking/canning.

      I can see why you thought it was a type of rice do to the lyrics of the song (cute/funny) but it is eaten with rice or traditionally with boiled green bananas, yam, dumplin.


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