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11 bizarre Jamaican foods you’ll wish you knew about earlier

Every country has their fair share of bizarre foods, but Jamaican cuisine must surely take the cake (yep, excuse the pun). This lush island nation is home to some of the most delicious meals around (jerk chicken, coco bread and banana fritters, anyone?). But there are also some meals that are so bizarre, you’ll wonder how they were ever created. 

We’ve come up with eleven of Jamaica’s most bizarre foods that might seem odd at first, but, heck, you’ll be VERY happy we introduced you to them once you’ve tried them. At least, we think so.

1: Fish tea
Fish tea

Ok, so it’s not tea as in a cup of tea, but more like a spicy soup. Fish tea takes many hours to prepare and includes everything from pumpkins and yams to cassava, coconut milk, and of course fish. Up to 15 pounds of fish can be used in a single batch. All the ingredients are boiled until they become soft… and delicious. Oh, and some believe it to be an aphrodisiac, so have fun with that!

2: Peanut Porridge
Peanut porridge

Looking for a good source of protein? Make yourself a bowl of peanut porridge. This tasty dish was once only served by Rastafarian street vendors in Jamaica, but it has since become a favourite all over the country. The porridge consists of peanuts, cornstarch, evaporated milk, water, and spices, with a little condensed milk to sweeten it up. Sounds delish!

3: Easter bun with cheese
Easter bun

Easter buns are huge in Jamaican culture… but so is sticking a slice of cheese on ’em. Jamaican Easter buns are more like fruit cake than the buns Aussies know of, and they’re rich with molasses, so they need a little bit of creaminess. So why not cheese? If you travel to Jamaica during the Easter season, you’ll definitely be able to feast on this snack — it’s everywhere.

4: Ackee
Ackee

This fruit was imported to Jamaica from West Africa back in the 18th century and since then it has become prevalent in many Jamaican dishes. The fruit is kind of buttery with a mild taste, but don’t let that fool you — the unripened parts of an Ackee contain toxins that can make you vomit, become dehydrated, and in some cases, die. So eat with caution. Or better yet, don’t eat at all!

5: Run down 
Run down

Weird name but delicious meal! Run down is a stew that consists of fish (usually mackerel), coconut milk, yams, tomato, and seasonings. If fish isn’t available, you can expect to eat this with pickled fish, cassava, or — get this — bull pizzle. Run down is a traditional Jamaican breakfast dish, which is usually served alongside dumplings, boiled green bananas and breadfruit.

6: Mannish water
Mannish water

Looking for a good old fashioned aphrodisiac? Grab a bowl of Mannish water, a Jamaican goat soup made out of the animal’s head, brains and heart, with a mix of veggies. This soup is sometimes served to a groom of the night of his wedding and is a popular meal at large functions.

7: Solomon Gundy
Solomon Gundy

What goes great with a cracker in Jamaica? Solomon Gundy! This is a pickled fish pâté that’s usually served as an appetizer. Typical Jamaican Solomon Gundy is made with smoked red herring, chili pepper and spices, and is available in jars to take home.

8: Soursop ice cream
soursopicecream

You haven’t tried all the ice cream flavours after all! Soursop ice cream is made with puree from the soursop fruit, fresh ginger, lime juice, vanilla, and condensed milk. Since soursops are a little tart, the ice cream has a bittersweet flavour, which is surprisingly delicious.

9: Cow cod soup
COW-COD-SOUP

Also considered an aphrodisiac in Jamaica, cow cod soup is made with a bull pizzle and cooked in a rum-based broth with a scotch bonnet pepper (spicy lovers, this one’s for you!). While the idea of eating genitals isn’t too appetizing, the soup also contains yams, carrots, turnips, and spices to make it mouth-wateringly good.

10: Matrimony
Matrimony

It might look like a regular fruit salad but Matrimony is 100% Jamaican thanks to exotic spices thrown into the mix. Oranges, grapefruit and star apple are sliced up, with nutmeg, sweetened condensed milk and freshly chopped mint added before serving. What a treat!

11: Stamp and go
Stamp and go

These little fritters are made with salt fish and eaten as a traditional breakfast meal in Jamaica. The name of Stamp and Go allegedly comes from the 18th century when things had to be done in a hurry on British sailing ships to the order ‘Stamp and Go!’ The fritters can be made with a variety of different ingredients, such as scallions and scotch bonnet peppers.

Now, it’s not just the food that makes Jamaica irresistible. It’s the rum, too!

Appleton Estate has been creating authentic Jamaican rums in lush and fertile terrain at the island’s heart for more than 265 years. And now these incredible rums are making their way to Australia with three very exclusive events, starting November 20th.

Over three weekends in November and December, Sydneysiders will get to experience the tastes of Appleton Estate for themselves, with a unique multi-sensorial experience that sees CBD and inner-city bars transformed into the heart of Jamaica with Jamaican music, Jamaican food, bespoke styling recreating the lush interior of Jamaica’s cockpit country, as well as Appleton Estate free tasting and signature cocktails (made with Appleton Estate Rum, of course!).

If you love all things Jamaican, mark the calendar for the Appleton Trail. This unique event kicks off at the Village Inn, Paddington from November 20-21, moving to Sweet Hearts Rooftop from November 27-28, with the trail concluding at Taylors Bar in Sydney CBD on December 4-5, 2015.

About the author

Rachel Oakley is an Aussie writer based in NYC with an obsession for the creepy, cool and quirky side of life. Some of her main passions include philosophy, art, travel, and sarcasm.