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Eat Your Way Through Jamaica on a Jerk Journey

Updated: Nov 29, 2018

One of the best ways to learn about history is by eating. So though you may not typically consider a luxury vacation to Jamaica to learn – that's just what you'll do as you sample spicy fare & eat your way through cultural tradition on the Jamaica Jerk Trail.

Since the birth of jerk flavor, this style of cooking has become something of a culinary phenomenon. According to Visit Jamaica, it's believed that descendents of slaves developed this method of marinating meat in pimento seeds, peppers & scallions over a wood-lined pit. While the meat slowly roasts, the wood smoke infuses it & gives it a unique flavor. Since then, chefs around the globe have incorporated jerk into a variety of dishes, from pork to rabbit. On the Jamaica Jerk Trail, you get to see – & taste – how it all began.

"Jerk cuisine has made its way onto menus worldwide, but we invite travelers to come Jamaica & sample this dish the way it was meant to be experienced – in our laid back, tropical environment," said Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, as quoted by Visit Jamaica. "The Jerk Trail creates a culinary adventure featuring the distinct flavors of Jamaica, along with its breathtaking natural beauty & truly unique culture, as visitors travel across the island from Negril, through Montego Bay & Ocho Rios, to Kingston, ending in the home of jerk – Port Antonio."

Start at Ossie's Jerk Center in Negril, which locals have been flocking to for more than 20 years to get their fix. The jerk chicken, pork & fish are clearly a highlight – but save room for sides like festival, a sweet fried cornbread, or roasted breadfruit. If you're feeling adventurous, head to the Ocho Rios Jerk Center for conch & wash it down with an all-natural tropical juice. For an ultra-indulgent experience, tantalize your taste buds at the Ultimate Jerk Center, where chefs steam local lobster in jerk seasoning.

While you're at it, do as the Jamaicans do & kick back with a cold Red Stripe beer. Remember – it's all part of your education.

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