With the opening of Jerk Pit at the MARKET and after working with two contractors and an employee from Jamaica, I took an interest in learning more about Jamaican food. Now, I don’t know too many Jamaicans, maybe four in total, but all four that I know have a passion for food and are selective eaters with high standards. I decided to do some research and found the following information.
The original inhabitants of Jamaica, the Arawaks, grew papayas, guava, corn, potatoes, peanuts, peppers, and beans. They also invented “barbecue” when they roasted seafood and meat on a grate held up my four sticks called “barbacoa”. Later, the Spanish introduced coconuts, sugar cane, lemons, and limes. Jamaican food is known to be spicy and consists of a lot of seafood (including lobster, shrimp, and fish) since Jamaica is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. In addition, the tropical climate is excellent for growing fruits including mangoes, pineapple, papaya, bananas, guava, and plaintains.
Popular Jamaican dishes include curry goat, fried dumplings, ackee and saltfish (cod), fried plaintains, jerk, steamed cabbage, rice and peas, Jamaican patties, fruit beverages, and Jamaican rum. Jerk is a spicy sauce that includes many of the Island’s native ingredients. Rastafarians also have a large influence on Jamaican cuisine as they have a vegetarian approach to cooking food.
It is so fun to learn about foods from other parts of the world. Jerk Pit, an authentic Jamaican restaurant, just opened in the MARKET at the FAREWAY in Chestnut Hill Philadelphia. For those of you who don’t know, the MARKET at the FAREWAY is an indoor farmer’s market offering groceries, prepared foods, and specialty items. Customers can buy poultry, meat, deli, and produce groceries as well as specialty items (soaps, meals for your slow cooker), and many prepared foods (coffee, baked goods, sushi, pizza, and Korean and Mediterranean cuisine). You can also get your knives sharpened there! It is a community gathering place where you can hang out with friends, buy groceries, eat lunch and dinner there or take food to go.
One of the owners of Jerk Pit, Grace, is the chef and mastermind behind the delicious dishes. They just opened and customers are already raving! The grilled vegetables, which have an amazing smoky flavor, are a personal favorite! Stop by and experience Jamaican cuisine for yourself!