, is the birthplace of jerk, a well-known and delicious cooking style where meat is marinated or dry-rubbed with a very hot spice mixture. Jerk is a staple of the street food markets of Kingston, along with other foods such as fresh fruit, ripe vegetables and scrumptious seafood. Street markets in the city are mainly comprised of makeshift stalls selling foods produced by whole families, and are colorful, energetic places to sample home-grown and tasty produce which is high in quality and low in price. For jerk foods, fresh fish, vegetable cakes and much more, here’s our list of ten exceptional street food spots in Kingston, Jamaica.
National Heroes Park
Boasting an immense historical background, National Heroes Park has been an extremely important place for Jamaicans in Kingston for decades. The land was previously used for various different festivals as well as horse races, and in 1973 the space was redesigned and renamed. Today it stands as a place to honor national heroes, prime ministers and other patriots. Along the entrances and pathways of the park many families set up makeshift food stands and sell homemade street food. Things such as fruits, vegetables, meat and more are sold here. The park is such an attractive spot because of the cheap price and the high quality of the food, much of which has been made with one-of-a-kind recipes that are impossible to find elsewhere.
Watch out for: Changing of the guards ceremony in front of the tomb of honored soldiers.
Address and Telephone: Allman Town Kingston, Jamaica
Aunt Merle’s Fish Shack
Aunt Merle’s Fish Shack is known for blending the flavors of the island with traditional African recipes to create unique and savory tastes. This street food spot is tucked away on Hellshire Beach, one of the best spots in Kingston for seafood. Fishermen dock their boats and set up stands directly off of the beach where they sell everything from raw fish to grilled lobster. The marinades and tricks of the trade found here are exclusive to Aunt Merle’s, making it a unique spot for seafood. Similar to many other street food spots, fishermen sell their fresh catch here at cheaper prices than most grocery stores, another appealing aspect of the shack!
Watch out for: The famous pepper shrimp.
Address and Telephone: Hellshire Beach, Kingston, Jamaica
Sweetwood Jerk Joint
With jerk being the most popular type of street food in Jamaica, the Sweetwood Jerk Joint provides moreish, authentic flavors that make it one of the best stops in Kingston. Although a simple and small shack, the joint cooks up your choice of chicken, pork, sausage, lamb, fish or conch with unrivalled deliciousness. To go along with the jerk, customers have the opportunity to choose between sweet potato, yam, breadfruit or corn as a side dish, and can choose a refreshing drink from a wide selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Sweetwood has a casual, open-air atmosphere, along with a friendly staff and affordable prices. Bask in a Jamaican breeze and the scorching sunshine at this charming street food spot!
Watch out for: Emancipation Park, located directly across from Streetwood Jerk Joint.
Address and Telephone: New Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica +1 876-906-4854
Reggae Jammin’ takes the speed of fast food but removes all the unhealthy, fatty ingredients typically found in the cuisine to create a brilliant new taste. Well-spiced chicken products are the speciality here, and the establishment uses unique marinades and authentic herbs and spices to serve an array of mouth-watering delicacies, a selection which includes rotisserie chicken, chicken burgers and chicken frankfurters. Founded in 2003, this is a top spot to sample authentic Jamaican street food with less of the calories.
Watch out for: Chicken bologna has just been added to the menu!
Address and Telephone: McCooks Pen, Old Harbour Rd. Kingston, Jamaica +1 876-943-4376
Veggie Meals on Wheels
Food Truck, Restaurant, Vegan, Jamaican
Veggie Meals on Wheels
One of the most successful and eco-friendly food truck stories surrounds Veggie Meals on Wheels in Kingston. In 2010, owners Alfred and Keteis Brissett transformed a U-Haul truck into a beautiful, green portable kitchen, a vehicle which they like to call their ‘tropical vegan dining oasis’. To share their passion for clean eating and a vegan lifestyle with others, they established an entirely unique menu of foods and beverages that soothe and replenish one’s mind and body. Each meal is served with a ‘food for thought’ for the end of the meal, and the outgoing staff and owners are sure to make you smile. Veggie Meals on Wheels continues to be a hit success in Kingston.
Watch out for: A one-of-a-kind vegan meal: green island stew!
Address and Telephone: Regal Plaza, Kingston, Jamaica
Truck Stop Bar and Grill
Bar, Restaurant, Jamaican, Street Food, $$$
Truck Stop Bar and Grill
Truck Stop Bar and Grill is another one of Kingston’s best spots for Jamaican street food. Open from 5pm to 12am on Fridays, and until 2am on Saturdays, this hidden gem serves a signature jerk pork, as well as homemade jerk chicken, beer and much more. The open-air interior makes locals and tourists alike feel relaxed and laid-back. The staff here are exceptional, and talented chef Garfield Sutherland is the mastermind of the kitchen, a man who creates exquisitely spiced dishes again and again. Guests are welcome to either eat-in or take home their orders.
Watch out for: Ice cream and bread pudding dessert.
Address and Telephone: 18 W Kings House Rd. Kingston, Jamaica +1 876-631-0841
Boston Jerk Centre
Boston Jerk Centre can be found in Boston Bay, the original birthplace of jerk. The centre was established by a network of local families, many of whose ancestors were the original people who founded this way of cooking meat. Boasting seven jerk pits, customers can come and watch as meat is roasted on an open fire before being marinated or dry-rubbed in aromatic jerk seasonings. Additionally available are jerk sauces, fresh fruit juices, fruits and jewelry. This street food stop knows exactly how jerk is supposed to taste, and promises customers that the tradition will be kept alive with the original, juicy flavors it serves!
Watch out for: Resident DJ on-site, usually playing authentic Jamaican and reggae music.
Address and Telephone: Boston Bay, Kingston, Jamaica +1 876-290-7150
With a charming thatched roof and a rustic outdoor seating area, Scotchie’s is the perfect place to pull over quickly and grab some tasty Jamaican street food. Although they are famous for their jerk fish, Scotchie’s also offers a wide variety of other food and beverages too. A perfect accompaniment to the fish here is the ice-cold Red Stripe beer, one of the most popular ales in Kingston. The beef soup is extremely popular and is infused with an aromatic jerk seasoning which gives it that extra kick. Furthermore the establishment boasts a beautiful location, and is set amongst some of the most idyllic and lush greenery in the city.
Watch out for: Roast breadfruit, one of the most popular side dishes.
Address and Telephone: New Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica +1 501-832-2203
Jojo’s Jerk Pit and More
Open Mondays 11am-6pm and Tuesday through Sunday 11am to 11pm, Jojo’s Jerk Pit and More offers something for everyone. As well as authentic Jamaican dishes customers can sample sandwiches, burgers, wraps salads and pastas here, with a range of fresh fruit juices providing the perfect refreshing beverage to follow. One popular drink impossible to find elsewhere is the ‘Under de tree Ice Tea’, which includes Smirnoff vodka, triple sec, tequila, gin, white rum, lime juice and Pepsi. This jerk pit hosts live music every Saturday, an event which sees local artists as well as well-known bands and singers take to the stage.
Watch out for: Weekly original recipes posted on the website.
Address and Telephone: Grants Pen, Kingston, Jamaica
Farmers' Market, Farm Shop, Jamaican, Vegetarian, Vegan, Healthy
One of the most memorable and life-changing experiences in Jamaica is the Coronation Market . This is the top street food destination for Jamaicans from all over the island. Tourists are encouraged to hire a cart as well as a guide for their first time through as it can be crowded and hectic, but in the best way possible. Saturday is the busiest day for vendors, farmers and retailers, and, as they come from many different places, they spend days preparing their stands. Saturday morning brings a chaotic cluster of new sights, sounds, and smells here, and every sense is stimulated whilst experiencing the market. Coronation Market has much to offer, but the majority of foods that can be found here are fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, spices and seafood.
Watch out for: The opportunity to get to know new people, and understand a major aspect of the Jamaican culture.
Address and Telephone: Pechon St. Kingston, Jamaica
By Emily Langan