Food + Wine

World's Best Street Food

by JJ Goode

The dish: Jerk pork and jerk chicken

Where to find the best: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Word on the street: Jerk has changed quite a bit since its invention in the 17th century by the escaped slaves known as Maroons. These freedom fighters (and early gourmets) subsisted on wild boar while they were fighting the British, and to preserve the meat they rubbed it with a mixture of spices. Today, the aromatic blend has developed to include allspice, nutmeg, thyme, and Scotch bonnet chiles. But you see chicken more often than pork, and grills made from oil drums instead of traditional wood fires. That's why anyone visiting the North Coast resort town of Ocho Rios should take the quick 12-mile trip to the valley of Faith's Pen (about 12 miles south on Highway A3, just past the little town of St. Faith). Dozens of roadside stalls here serve perfect renditions of jerk pork loin (and chicken, if you insist). Smoke from the pimento wood intensifies the already-energetic spices and creates a tasty crust surrounding the juicy flesh. And you thought you'd find heaven on Jamaica's beaches!

NEXT: Land of 100 open kitchens >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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