Arguably, the biggest traditional ‘nyamings’ on the Jamaican calendar is Christmas dinner. For many, it is the only time that family and close friends get together annually, to share good food and enjoy each other’s company. The spread on the table is likely to have lots of fancy offerings. But most Jamaicans want the tried and true traditional meals for Christmas dinner. Here are our picks.
1. Gungo rice and peas
Christmas is one of the few times people eat gungo rice and peas. Perhaps it’s because people want something different for holiday meals than the red peas version we consume all year.
2. Roast beef, baked chicken and curried goat
While daily family dinner often includes a protein, Christmas dinner isn’t so casual. More than likely Jamaicans present two or more for Christmas dinner.
3. Macaroni/ Pasta Salad
We can agree that Christmas dinner is about going all out. Macaroni and cheese, two styles of vegetables and potato salad with and without eggs are frequent sides on a Christmas dinner plate.
4. Fruit cake
What started out as fruits left to soak in an ocean of wine and rum becomes a drunken after dinner snack. Not the most fancy dessert, but a popular traditional at Christmas dinner.
No Jamaican Christmas dinner is truly complete without a glass of sorrel. The fruit bears just in time for the jolly season and Jamaicans traditionally make the brew extra spirited. Only for adults though! Sorry kids.
We know this list has not exhausted the variety of dishes found on your Christmas dinner table. Tell us what we’ve missed.