Jamaica

Callaloo

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Callaloo from Montego Bay, Jamaica

What: Leafy greens, usually those of the amaranth plant, steamed with tomatoes, Scotch bonnet peppers, onions, and some butter/margarine/cooking oil. Popular in one form or another around the Caribbean, callaloo has a clear descendant in West Africa’s palaver sauces, or plasas, as we encountered in Sierra Leone; no doubt the idea traveled to the islands during the slavery era. In Jamaica, it’s a popular accompaniment to breakfast alongside saltfish and ackee, or simply with boiled dumplings and green bananas, and/or johnnycakes and fried breadfruit.

Where: In a pretty touristy part of Montego Bay, across the street from Doctor’s Cave Beach, we found delicious callaloo as part of the outstanding morning breakfast buffet at The Gloucestershire Hotel (92 Gloucestershire Ave., map).

When: Mornings, 7:30-10:30

Order: The buffet surcharge isn’t cheap, at U.S.$15, but it is worth it for the sheer variety of American and Jamaican dishes on offer. Focusing exclusively on the latter (of course), we found mackerel rundown, boiled plantains, brown stew fish, and this excellent steamed callaloo, perfectly cooked with tomatoes, carrots, onions, Scotch bonnet peppers, butter, and some olive oil. Tasted as beautiful as it looked.

Alternatively: Look for this at any traditional eatery (or hotel) that serves breakfast, including Mom’s in Ocho Rios (876-974-2811; 7 Evelyn St., map; closed Sundays).