How Spicy is Jamaican Food?

Thanks to tourism and a number of authentic Jamaican restaurants cropping up across the country, Jamaican food is becoming increasingly popular. But is it spicy? The answer is yes — and also no.

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Authentic Caribbean Food is Traditionally Hot

Caribbean food is traditionally served with plenty of spice. Staples such as Crab and Callaloo come loaded with allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and chiles. You’ll find many of these same spices in other dishes from the region. Jamaica has its share of hot dishes as well, the most popular and perhaps most well-known being jerk chicken.

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But Jamaican Food is (Usually) Not Spicy

This island nation has plenty of flavorful dishes that won’t scorch your mouth. Delicious fish sandwiches, curries and oxtail — oxtails stewed in spices until they’re fall-off-the-bone tender — are all great picks for the heat-conscious. Pair your meal with some sorrel and you’ve got a lunch or dinner exploding with flavor that won’t burn going down.

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What Makes Some Jamaican Dishes Hotter Than Others?

The answer to this question is in the spices that Jamaicans traditionally cook with, as well as the cooking methods Jamaican chefs use. Jerk cooking is a popular technique where food (usually meats) is rubbed with a spicy dry rub and then cooked to perfection. The dry rub lends a lot of heat to dishes like jerk chicken, making them popular across the country.

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Wat’s on Your Plate Can Serve Food Spicy or Mild

As one of the most unique restaurants in New York City, Wats on Your Plate can prepare the best Jamaican food to cater to any taste palette and spice tolerance.

Paired with traditional Jamaican sides like plantains, rice and cabbage, you can enjoy a Jamaican meal that’s mild, or as searing as jerk chicken. Check out our menu today!