‘ON THE WAY’ FOOD STOPS
hile traveling through Jamaica on a tour bus or with your own car, the many colorful food stalls bursting with a variety of more or less known specialities do not go unnoticed. Any tour to the Appleton Estate, YS Falls, Black River Safari and Treasure Beach, will take you past an incredible row of local roadside delicatessen stands between Mandeville and Negril on the A2. Everything from exotic fruits to full meals can be picked up ‘drive through’ style on your travel through the beautiful countryside. W
The road between Lacovia and the Black River leads through the famous Jamaican picture perfect landmark of Holland Bamboo, also known as Bamboo Avenue. Here, amid the thick green stalks of bamboo, peanuts grown nearby are sold at the many stalls, raw in dark red skin or roasted in beige shells. Not only used as a nutritious snack, Jamaican peanuts are often blended in beverages known as Peanut Punches. Rich in antioxidants, the legumes are also used to make popular Peanut Drops, a sweet treat which consists of ginger, brown sugar and of course, peanuts.
The picturesque Bamboo Avenue in St. Elizabeth (Photo: Heidi Zech) Refreshing soda beverages can be found at most authentic Jamaican stalls, but the health conscious will be delighted to know that they can satisfy their thirst with the wholesome water of a jelly coconut straight out of the shell. Coconut water contains approximately seven times the potassium found in cranberry juice, is low in calories and has neither fat nor cholesterol. It is said to prevent a number of diseases, including hypersensitivity and goiter. After enjoying the life-giving water, ask the vendor to crack the nut open – a feat that is usually done with a machete. The jelly is like flesh and is a treat usually eaten from the coconut shell, often with a spoon made from the shell.
Tasty fish and bammy at Whitehouse by the sea (Photos: Heidi Zech)
Jelly coconut cracked in half exposing the tasty flesh
Whitehouse fish is achieved using lots of onions, vinegar, scotch bonnet pepper and the unbeaten smoky flavor of wood fire cooking. As a side order, simple, hard dough bread works, but we highly recommend that you try bammy - a flatbread made from the cassava root which is either fried or steamed until golden on both sides. The fish and bammy is usually sold by the ‘plate’, but you can specify the amount you want. Don’t be overwhelmed by the many vendors trying to make a sale, just select your favorite person or best looking plate to satisfy your craving.
The best way to enjoy your food is to find a quiet spot with a great view, park the car and get lost in your mouthwatering fare. This is a real Jamaican treat – be sure to try!
Welcome to ‘Pepper Shrimp Country’ (Photo: Heidi Zech)
Peanut and coconut vendor close to Bamboo Avenue (Photo: Heidi Zech)
Only 10 minutes down the road from Bamboo Avenue lies Middle Quarters, nicknamed ‘Pepper Shrimp Country’, due to the many pepper shrimp vendors who display the bright red shellfish in their colorful basins. Freshly caught in the Black River, the shrimps are boiled whole in salted and peppered water. Delicious, but beware of the hot
Continuing westward, you will find Whitehouse between Black River and Bluefields. Otherwise known as ‘Border’, referring to the parish border between St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland, this is the place any Jamaican will send you for the best fried ‘fish and bammy’. The small village is located in a picturesque spot directly on the sea, guaranteeing that your meal will consist of the absolute freshest catch. The authentic taste of