Are you a fan of Jamaican food, or curious to try it for the first time? Do you want to learn how to order food like a Jamaican, and enjoy the delicious and diverse flavors of this Caribbean island? If so, this lesson is for you!
Jamaican cuisine is a mix of the people and cultures that have made Jamaica their home. It has a bit of everything: Taino, African, European, Indian, and Chinese.
Some of the most famous Jamaican dishes and drinks are jerk chicken, ackee and saltfish, patties and oxtail, No matter what you like, you will find something to make your mouth water in Jamaican cuisine.
In this lesson, you will learn how to order food like a Jamaican, and enjoy the secrets of this awesome food culture. So, are you ready to order food like a Jamaican? Then, let's go!
How to read and understand a Jamaican menu
One important step to order food like a Jamaican is to read and understand a Jamaican menu. Jamaican food has some unique terms and abbreviations that may confuse you if you are not familiar with them.
Here are some of the common words and phrases you will encounter on a Jamaican menu, and what they mean:
- “ Escovitch „
- English Translation: Spicy dressing
- Definition Escovitch is a style of cooking fish that involves frying it and then marinating it in a spicy vinegar sauce with onions, peppers, and carrots. Escovitch fish is usually served cold or at room temperature, and is a popular choice for breakfast or lunch.
(Patois) Gimmi wah escovitch fish
(English) Give me a escovitch fish
- “ Ital „
- English Translation: Vital
- Definition Rastafarian slang used to describe food that is in its natural state; does that contain any artificial elements. This term is also used to describe food that is cooked with very little or no salt.
(Patois) Bredrin, mi nuh waah nuh ital callaloo
(English) Brethren, I don’t want any calalloo without salt on it
- “ Bammy „
- English Translation: Cassava Bread
- Definition A traditional Jamaican flatbread made from cassava.
(Patois) Mi nyam bammy wid di escovitch fish.
(English) I eat bammy with escovitch fish.
- “ Festival „
- English Translation: Fried dumpling
- Definition A traditional Jamaican fried dumpling made with a mixture of cornmeal, flour, sugar, and spices
(Patois) Mi like to eat festival wid some jerk chicken
(English) I like to eat festival with some jerk chicken
These are just some of the examples of the words and phrases you will see on a Jamaican menu. There are many more dishes and drinks that you can explore and enjoy, such as jerk, curry, patties, rice and peas, callaloo, plantain, coco bread, oxtail, goat curry, fish tea, pepperpot soup, rum punch, ginger beer, and Blue Mountain coffee.
Don't be afraid to ask questions or try new things when you order food like a Jamaican. You might discover your new favorite dish or drink!
How to order food like a Jamaican using Jamaican phrases
The final step to order food like a Jamaican is to order food like a Jamaican using Jamaican phrases. Jamaican Patois is the language spoken by most Jamaicans, and it is a blend of English, African, and other languages.
Jamaican Patois has its own grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, and it can vary from region to region and person to person. However, there are some common words and phrases that you can use to order food like a Jamaican, and sound more natural and friendly. Here are some examples:
|What is the soup of the day?
|A wah a di soup a fi di day?
|What are you serving for breakfast this morning?
|A wah yah serve fi breakfast dis mawnin?
|Give me a plate of curry goat with rice and peas
|Gimme a plate a curry goat and rice and peas
|What's the price for the oxtail?
|A wah di price fi di oxtail dinna?
|What are the side options?
|A wah yah serve pan di side?
|I want to order the jerk chicken
|Mi waan ordah di jerk chicken
|I want a cold Red Stripe beer
|Mi want a cold Red Stripe beer
|I want a cup of mannish water soup
|Gimmi a cup a mannish wata
|Give me an ackee and saltfish breakfast
|Gimme di ackee and saltfish breakfast
|Give me rice and peas with stewed chicken
|Gimmi di rice and peas wid di stewed chicken
Beginner's Guide to Speaking Jamaican Patois
Looking for a quick and easy way to learn Jamaican Patois? Our Beginner's Guide has everything you need to get started;
- Learn correct word pronunciation
- Understand grammar and structure
- Handy everyday phrases
Get Your Copy
Ordering food like a Jamaican is not only a way of satisfying your hunger, but also a way of experiencing and appreciating Jamaican cuisine and culture. Jamaican food is rich, varied, and vibrant, and it reflects the history, geography, and identity of Jamaica. By ordering food like a Jamaican, you can discover new dishes and drinks, learn new words and phrases, and connect with the people who make and serve your food.
If you want to learn more Jamaican food phrases, you can check out these resources that we offer:
- Jamaican Food Dictionary: This is a comprehensive online dictionary that lists and defines hundreds of Jamaican food words and phrases, along with their pronunciations and alternative spellings.
- Jamaican Patwah Academy: This is a fun and engaging YouTube channel that offers easy-to-follow video lessons on how to speak Jamaican Patois.
We hope you enjoy these resources and learn more Jamaican food phrases. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be shy to use your new skills when you order food like a Jamaican. One love, one heart, one food!