Top 10 Things to Eat in Montego Bay

The tropical shores and serene waters of Montego Bay offer those traveling on a Caribbean cruise a chance to enjoy a beautiful and exciting Jamaican port of call. With so many options for relaxation or adventure, not to mention great shopping and plenty of sightseeing attractions, this Jamaican paradise certainly doesn’t disappoint when deciding on things to do in Montego Bay.

After a bit of exploration or shopping, you’ll likely work up a good appetite for some Montego Bay cuisine. You’ll find plenty of local eateries and restaurants serving up delicious, traditional and very popular Jamaican food — a true taste of the tropics, indeed!

After all, no cruise to Montego Bay is really complete without the chance to sample some popular Jamaican food enjoyed by the locals and tourists alike. If you are wondering what to eat in Montego Bay, consider these amazing options.

1. Jerk Chicken

You just can’t go to Montego Bay without sampling this popular Jamaican signature. A traditional staple of Montego Bay, it is sold everywhere in Jamaica, from roadside food shacks to fancy restaurants. The pieces of chicken are first rubbed with an assortment of flavorful spices, and then smoked or grilled. Traditional jerk seasoning is very spicy, so be prepared with a tasty beverage to cool your mouth off!

jamaican jerk chicken served on a plate

2. Red Snapper in Parchment Paper

This mouth-watering dish takes a freshly caught red snapper, seasons it with an amazingly delicious wine sauce or bold seasonings, and then bakes it in an oven, while wrapped in parchment paper to lock in the flavors. If you love seafood, you simply must try this dish when deciding what to eat in Montego Bay.

3. Ackee and Saltfish

This national dish is typically served at breakfast. Although the ackee is actually a local tropical fruit, when it is cooked, it looks very similar to scrambled eggs. The saltfish is simply dried codfish. The two are cooked together in one pot with onions, tomatoes and various spices. It’s a hearty meal that can also be enjoyed at dinner. It is also often served with bammy, which brings us to our next must try food in Montego Bay.

jamaican ackee and saltfish in a bowl

4. Bammy

This fried bread accompanies many Jamaican meals. A flatbread made from cassava flour, it is sold by street vendors as well as in stores. Soaked in coconut milk and deep-fried, the flatbread can be eaten on its own as a snack. It can also be made in varying thicknesses. The thinner bammy can act as a tortilla, while thick bammy is more like an English crumpet.

5. Curry Goat

You guessed it! This curry dish is prepared with goat meat. Another extremely popular Jamaican food, the curry sauce is usually spicy, and the goat is simmered until the meat is tender and falls off the bone. It is usually served with rice and peas, which is another traditional dish in Montego Bay!

curry goat with potatoes from montego bay

6. Rice and Peas

Sounds simple, right? Well, when you consider that peas in Jamaica actually refer to a type of bean similar to kidney beans, and that there are various seasonings added to the dish, you get something much more flavorful than simply rice and peas. The dish is also cooked with coconut milk, giving it a distinctive tropical taste.

7. Jamaican Patty

These delicious and addictive meat pastries are a great comfort food and will definitely delight your taste buds. The crispy, flaky pastries are filled with seasoned meat, fish or chicken, and are the epitome of comfort food in your hand. You’ll find them being sold everywhere at this Jamaican port of call, and they make a great, easy to eat snack as you go souvenir hunting in Montego Bay.

jamaican beef patties in the oven

8. Gizzada

Were you looking for something sweet? Then look no further than this amazing Jamaican dessert. This delicious pastry looks like a small tart that you can hold in your hand. It is traditionally filled with a coconut-flavored filling that is rich and gooey, and seasoned with ginger and nutmeg. Also called a “pinch-me-round,” you might be calling it by its other name of “bring me more”!

9. Callaloo

Many of the Caribbean islands have their own version of Callaloo, and Jamaica is no exception. In Montego Bay, this flavorful dish uses an assortment of leafy green vegetables that are native to the area. The fresh vegetables are hearty and healthy, and will keep you feeling energized for quite some time as you continue to look for things to eat in Montego Bay.

callaloo served with plantains and dumplings

10. Pepperpot Soup

Jamaica actually has a wide array of traditional soups and stews to offer, but one of the most popular is pepperpot soup. Made with callaloo, yams and scotch bonnet peppers, the spicy broth is a classic taste of traditional Montego Bay cuisine. The addition of the leafy green vegetables give the soup a rich color and bold flavor, and helps to tame some of the heat from the hot peppers. Some recipes for pepperpot soup may include pork or beef — many places have their own distinctive recipes, but it is bound to be a flavorful experience no matter where you try it.

When you stop at Montego Bay on your Caribbean cruise, you should definitely consider trying some of the above foods. You may not get the chance to try them all, but a sampling will give you a good idea of why so many tourists and locals alike rave about the food offerings in the Caribbean!