It is time again to decide between two cuisines on The World Cup of Food, this time Jamaica and El Salvador. The food of the two nations is very different from one another’s and again the decision has been hotly contested.
Jamaicans from all walks of life enjoy the humble rice and peas, sometimes as a meal of its own but mostly as a side dish. What a Jamaican calls “peas” we call “kidney beans,” and the dish has a lot in common with southern American red beans and rice. Key Jamaican twists on the dish include cooking the beans in coconut milk (which yields a creamy, slightly sweet flavor) and including a Scotch bonnet pepper in the cooking liquid for a little spice.
Jamaican food over the years has been shaped by the Spanish, British, African, Indian, and Chinese people who have inhabited the island over the last several centuries. Though Rastafarians are less than one percent of the population, they have added their contributions to the cuisine also, with numerous dishes built around their religious beliefs barring consumption of pork (and for the most devout, meat of any kind).