Explore Authentic Jamaica through a food festival. Jamaica has many interesting foods and several annual food festivals. The Portland Jerk Festival is one of the most well-known festivals because it involves one of Jamaica’s most popular ways of cooking – jerk!
Jerk is the process of spicing and grilling. Meat is rubbed with a mixture of herbs and spices. The main ingredients in the mixture are scotch bonnet pepper and pimento. The meat is then grilled over charcoal or pimento wood. Jerk at its best has a hot, juicy, spicy and tender flavour.
At the festival, anything that can be jerked will be jerked, and over the years, new additions such as jerked lobster have added to the “tastiness” of the festival. Considered the home of jerk, the village of Boston in the parish of Portland draws jerk-lovers from all over the island, who spend hours sampling chicken, pork, fish, sausages, lobster, and accompaniments such as bread, festival, and breadfruit.
The food festival includes performances from local artistes and community dance groups, arts and craft displays, a bounce-about, a merry-go-round, and face painting appropriate for all age groups.
Yet another culinary event which is growing in popularity is the Yallahs Chicken Festival held in the parish of St. Thomas. In the summer months, a wide variety of chicken dishes from vendors across Jamaica are showcased. Cultural and musical entertainment is also featured, and chicken-lovers flock to the area to get their “belly full.”
The Westmoreland Curry Festival is one of Jamaica’s leading community food festivals, growing in the number of attendees from 2,000 persons to over 10,000 in seven years. The festival is the largest of its kind and continues to be the major fundraiser for the Mannings School, a high school located in the parish of Westmoreland.
Other festivals held locally include a Bussu Festival in Portland, which features the Bussu meat taken from the shelled creatures of that name in local rivers; and the Fish Festival at Little Ochi in Alligator Pond, Manchester, where one can eat fish cooked in every style, hear good music, and enjoy the beach as well.
In Jamaica, you will never be hungry, but a food festival may be just the thing you need to really appreciate the variety of food which makes Jamaica such a unique place. Be sure to explore authentic Jamaica through a food festival.