Best Spot for Fresh Seafood—Fisherman’s Beach

“Really? It’s safe to eat here?” That might be the first thought that goes through your mind when you pull into Fisherman’s Beach in Ocho Rios. It certainly went through ours.

And no wonder. Fisherman’s Beach was a collection of shacks and ragtag buildings surrounding a dirt yard with roosters and dogs running around. Bob Marley was playing in the background and locals were doing what you imagine. We were not in for a five-star experience.

But we’d been assured that when it comes to seafood in Jamaica, it didn’t get any fresher—or more authentic—than this.

We went to the fish shack next to Tropical Vibes restaurant and decided to try the most popular menu item: steamed fish.

Jamaica-Food-Fishermans-Beach-Ocho-Rios-1Our cook, Jill, told us the red snapper she was cooking up for us had been caught just that morning. A small woman with a big knife, she quickly cut the fish open, stuffed it with spices, and set about preparing the stock.

Pretty soon a pot filled with a steamy brew of coconut milk, scotch bonnet peppers, okra, carrots, pumpkin, and other veggies was bubbling away. She let me take a taste before sliding the fish in – it was delicious already.

While the fish took its final spicy swim, Jill cooked up some bammy, a traditional Jamaican flatbread, and some breadfruit, which tastes a bit like potato.

A light rain was drumming on the tin roof when we sat down at the table before a platter with the whole fish on it along with the veggies from the broth.

“Tender” barely describes it. This fish was moist, delicate, and yet still substantial. It flaked right off the bones and every bite was amazing.

Now, after that one meal, the only thought going through my mind is “how soon can I go back?”

Did you know… Parrot fish is also very popular on the menu, but this fish plays an important role is building and protecting Jamaica’s reefs, and overfishing has reduced its population. It may be tasty – but help save the parrot fish and order something else.

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