Breakfast in Jamaica: Ackee, Saltfish, Callaloo

Serious Eats' Culinary Ambassadors check in from time to time with reports on food fare in their homeland or countries of residence. Here's the latest! —The Mgmt.

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[Photograph courtesy of Sarah Hsia ©2010]

The classic Jamaican breakfast tends to be savory and includes a wide variety of dishes, the most iconic of which is ackee and saltfish: Jamaica's national dish. Ackee is a fruit that, when cooked, has a flavor and consistency not unlike firm scrambled eggs; ackee and saltfish together is something akin to a Caribbean version of lox and eggs.

Another dish that appears on almost every Jamaican table at breakfast is callaloo: a dark green, leafy vegetable sautéed with a little onion and garlic that tastes like a more robust version of spinach. No Jamaican breakfast would be complete without a wide variety of fried foods: johnny cakes, ripe plantains, and breadfruit.

My favorite part of breakfast? Jamaican hot chocolate. Cacao boiled with ground nutmeg, cinnamon leaf, and condensed milk, it is aromatic, unusual, and delicious.

Sarah Hsia

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