In Negril, you can eat at jerk stands by the beach that serve delicious Jamaican food like jerk pork, chicken, fish, and even jerk sausage from barbecue grills made from metal drums. You can also try Rastafarian “Ital” (a Rasta word that comes from “vital”) vegetarian restaurants that serve platters of callaloo, yams, and cassava. Traditional Jamaican restaurants serve fried chicken, jerk chicken, pork, fish, and lobster, spicy “peppa” shrimp, bammies (cassava cakes), roasted breadfruit, fresh fish Escovitch, and curried goat at casual picnic tables.
There’s a wide choice of venues you can dine at in Negril. You can eat at a table perched near the edge of a cliff, directly on the white-sand beach, and even in a candle-lit cave by the sea. Many of the restaurants have special dinners on certain nights, so check the local restaurant listing to see who’s having seafood buffets on the beach and who’s having lobster night.
It’s always a gastronomic adventure to eat in Jamaica, but don’t forget to try Jamaica’s special drinks, especially fruit juices. There’s a mind-boggling variety of fruit, most of which are made into drinks. Mango, pineapple, naseberry, sweetsop, and mamey are just a few.
Among the many delicious beverages you will encounter, be sure to try at least these three:
Jamaican Ginger Beer
The ginger-flavored soda has a crisp, spicy taste similar to ginger ale. Serve icy cold with a slice of lime. It’s made by the Jamaican company D&G, which brews Red Stripe beer.
This unusual sparkling soda made with grapefruit juice is tart and refreshing, a perfect complement to spicy jerk chicken or pork. It is also an invention of D&G.
Jamaican Coconut Water
This refreshing drink is the clear liquid of the young, green coconut, before it turns milky. It’s often sold by the side of the road. The vendor will chop the top off with a machete and give you a straw to drink from the coconut. You can’t leave Jamaica without trying coconut water fresh from the tree.