We don’t call it street food here, though that’s what it is and it’s been around for a while. When I was about 6 or 7, and we only used to jerk pork, there was a man who’d go from house to house selling pork from a metal pan that was attached to the front of his bicycle. The pan was like a portable barbecue with smoldering pimento coals at the bottom and another pan which contained the pork. You could smell it long before he arrived at our gate.
Back then, the economy was mostly agrarian and families prepared their meals at home. Women would send their men off to the fields with lunches that were packed in “carriers,” aluminum containers that had compartments to keep the components of the meal separate. It also had a handle that made it easy to carry — I suspect that’s how it got it’s name.
If they had further to go, say to Kingston, the capital, there’d be stalls that sold seasonal fruits, like oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, otaheiti apples, etc., and a few that sold roasted yam and salted cod fish – inexpensive, popular and easy enough to make over an open fire.
To supplement the household income, some women would make baked goods – coconut drops (called drops for the way the sugary coconut mixture was dropped from a spoon and baked), cut cake, grater cake (a coconut and sugar reduction that is cooled and cut into small squares), peppermint candy, gizzadas (grated coconut in a crunchy shell), etc., that they sold as snacks, mostly at schools.
With more Jamaicans working further from home in the service based sector, few have time to prepare home cooked meals and stalls selling a variety of foods have become ubiquitous. Here are a few that I’ve eaten at.
Despite its name, not all the food here was roasted. We stopped for a breakfast of green bananas and mackerel.
Food stalls can be as elaborate or as rudimentary as the owner wishes. Some are small enough that they can be placed anywhere. At this stall in Clarendon, our lunch consisted of soup, roasted yam and codfish.
At festivals, the number and variety of food stalls are sometimes overwhelming. I get food overload and can’t decide what to eat, like the day I took this photo at the Accompong Maroon Treaty Celebration.
The operator at this stall didn’t want anyone taking photos of his dressed up pigs but I couldn’t resist.
Roasted yam is still quite popular maybe because it’s relatively easy to prepare. All you have to do is put the yam over the fire and the heat does the rest.
On hot days, a drink of cold coconut water is refreshing.
My friend, Karen, is taking her coconut with a shot of Jamaican rum – a delicious combination. We were laughing at how decadent it was to be drinking so early in the morning. It might have been about 11 o’clock.
Here, the stall was the back of this guy’s car. He also had straw bags, change purses made from small calabash gourds, banana chips, knitted caps with locks and frozen jelly coconuts – one stop shopping.
Do you try street food when you travel?
This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.
This week, I’m also linking up with the Friday Daydreaming series organized by Becca at Rwethereyetmom. Hope to see you there!