Breakfast in Jamaica is like nowhere else in the world. People love our food. In fact, millions of people around the world are craving Jamaican food as you read this; most will tell you how much they love Ackee and Saltfish, Jamaica’s national dish, out of all.
Despite ackee’s unhappy origins as slave food, which originally native to West Africa, Jamaicans have reclaimed it as part of their national dish, including Salt fish which comes from Norway. Unripe ackee fruit contains a poison called hypoglycin, so preparers must be careful to wait until the fruit’s protective pods turn red and open naturally. Once open, the only edible portion is the yellow arilli, which surround always-toxic black seeds. If improperly eaten, though, ackee can cause what has been dubbed the Jamaican Vomiting Sickness — which, other than the self-explanatory symptoms, can lead to coma or death. With all that risk comes a delicious payoff.
Jamaica’s Ackee and Saltfish is ranked as the second-favorite on a top-ten list compilation of national dishes by National Geographic in their book, Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places To Eat Around The Globe
While most Jamaicans, including the Diaspora, prefer to stick to the traditional ackee and saltfish with fried dumplings, there are no set foods you must eat with our national dish. Over the years, we have posted several different foods Jamaicans have served with it. As we say in Jamaica, “Tun Yuh Han Mek Fashion” which simply means be creative. Use what you have and make something new. Variety is the spice of life!
A nutritious fruit with a buttery flavor, Jamaicans sauté the boiled ackee with saltfish (salt-cured cod), onions, and tomatoes. Here is what it should look like when prepared properly — not mashed out. Use a BIG spoon and TURN the ackee after adding to the saltfish, DON’T stir.
Here are some delicious foods you could eat with Ackee and Saltfish 🙂
1. Ackee & Saltfish, Roasted Breadfruit, Boiled Bananas, Fried Plantains and a slice of Jamaican Pear (Avocado).
2. Ackee and saltfish with boiled dumplings, Yellow yam, and sweet Potato.
3. Or you could add some fried dumplings and Callaloo along with boiled dumplings, bananas, and yellow yam.
4. Or minus the Callaloo and add vegetables. 🙂
5. You can also have it with fried sweet potato, and fried plantains!
6. Have some overnight rice and peas? Try it with Ackee and saltfish. You can add fried green plantains too.
7. Here is a typical dish you will most likely be served at most resorts. They are merely offering variety. A little bit of everything. Think of the different delicious flavors and food to choose from including the pumpkin.
8. How about Ackee and saltfish with some roast breadfruit? Yes, please!
9. Ackee and saltfish with fried breadfruit
10. Instead of Callaloo, try Pak choi!
Lastly, this might be a bit over the top for most of you, but I know some will appreciate it. 🙂