Jamaica is a melting pot of cultures from across the world —Dutch, French, Chinese, British, East Indian, West Africa, Portuguese, Chinese, and Spanish to name just a few — and the island's food reflects this history and heritage with its mixture of flavors. The magic of Jamaican cuisine comes from its ability to blends these and many other cultures and flavors together to make it's own unique cuisine. Spanish flavors include "escoveitch fish", a vinegar-type seafood dish that was brought to the island by Spanish Jews in 1500s, which has since evolved to become a local favorite. The English contributed foods like the "Jamaican pattie" to the cuisine and the sugar plantations they transformed brought with them Indian laborers with their array of spices that heavily influenced the flavors of Jamaican cooking. African influences led to the famous Jamaican "jerk chicken", a heavily-spiced dried meat that is full of flavor and incredibly popular.
Sample the local flavors at Scotchies in Montego Bay, that is praised for it's amazing jerk chicken — pork and fish, too — which is why it's such a local hotspot. Also try Sugar Mill Restaurant in Montego Bay (that serves an amazing smoked marlin), The Pelican Grill (that 's been open for more than 50 years and serves some of the best seafood on the island), and Norma's on the Terrace in Kingston where the island's leading restauranteur Norma Shirley serves up many Jamaican specialities like chowder with crabmeat, grilled smoked pork, shrimp, and conch.