National Geographic Puts Jamaica’s National Dish In Top 10

“Most countries have a favorite or national dish. Popular with residents and forming part of a country’s identity, they are an essential experience for visitors,” noted the National Geographic book Food Journeys of a Lifetime.

And Jamaicans in their celebration would sing:

 All nations have their sensation

And every nation have dem botheration

This is the time for a happy meditation

 Cause when I check it out Lord

No weh nuh better dan yard

Tinga Stewart

So, the country’s national dish ackee and saltfish has received worldwide acclaim, ranking second in National Geographic’s Top 10 National Dishes.

This is how the popular magazine captures the cuisine Jamaicans take pride in sharing at home and abroad.

“Despite ackee’s unhappy origins as slave food, Jamaicans have reclaimed it as part of their national dish. A nutritious fruit with a buttery-nutty flavor, ackee resembles scrambled egg when boiled. Jamaicans sauté the boiled ackee with saltfish (salt-cured cod), onions, and tomatoes. Sometimes the dish is served atop bammy (deep-fried cassava cakes) with fried plantains.”

Now, to segue a little from the topic, this is how Jamaicans row their ackee and saltfish boat:

How to cook ackee and saltfish?

Preparation time 10m


For 4 Person(s)


1 teaspoon(s) black pepper

1 small sweet pepper, julienne

1 dozen fresh ackee or 1 can of ackee

1 teaspoon(s) scotch bonnet pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 tablespoon(s) Vegetable Oil

2 stalk(s) escallion, chopped

1/2 pound(s) saltfish

2 clove(s) garlic, chopped

Ackee and Saltfish Directions

  1. Put saltfish to soak in cold water for about 1 hour.
  2. Pour off water; add fresh water and cook until tender.
  3. De-bone and flake saltfish.
  4. Heat Virgin Olive Oil and sauté onion; garlic; escallion; tomato; scotch bonnet pepper and sweet pepper. Add flaked saltfish; Black Pepper.
  5. Toss lightly; cover and allow to stand over low heat for about 2 minutes…

Jamaica’s ackee and saltfish is only bettered by U.S. hamburger which occupied the number one position, albeit its origin is reportedly disputed.

Nevertheless, a vintage classic on Americans’ menu.

Jamaica’s sister Caribbean island, Barbados, grabbed the number 3 spot with its coo-coo and flying fish dish.

Korea’s bulgogi, Kibbeh, which the National Geographic attributed to Lebanon or Syria, and Hungary’s Goulash were fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively, on the list of best national dishes.

Austria’s wiener schnitzel, France’s pot-au-feu, England’s roast beef, and Yorkshire pudding, as well as Ireland’s Irish stew, rounded off the top 10 in seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth positions respectively.

Barbara Green, Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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