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Jamaica Roadside Dinner from the Big Flag Jerk Centre       

Leaving behind a cold and wet London Gatwick airport, my flight landed on time in Montego Bay and I was outside the terminal by 5:00PM. Mysilversands sent one of the more popular drivers, Mark Lindsay, to pick me up. We journeyed East to Silver Sands as the sun began setting in the cloudy sky behind us.

The contrast between a first world country like England and Jamaica is hard to get used to even after a flight as long as nine hours. But the contrast between my last meal in Gatwick, all shiny glass, tile and chrome, and where I decided to buy my dinner would take anyone’s breath away.

Now a lot of visitors to Jamaica have heard of Scotchie’s, a popular jerk centre. Not many have heard of this place just outside of Falmouth, which is quite close to Silver Sands. The Big Flag Jerk Centre is a very rustic roadside cook shop, with zinc roof and zinc and bamboo walls. This is what the exterior of the Big Flag looks like - yes, you guessed it, there is a big Jamaican flag painted on the wall facing the road:

big flag jerk centre near flamouth jamaica

You are not likely to find any tourists there. You go up to the counter and peer into the dark interior and take in the smoky atmosphere. There is no menu, so just ask them what they have ready. I bought a quarter pound of jerk pork, two chicken leg-quarters, and a 12 ounce cup of red peas soup. All for J$1030 which is about US$12.
What a great price for a whole lot of freshly cooked delicious food!

You can add any amount of hot jerk sauce to suit your taste, and everything is wrapped up in foil for you to take away. You can also eat at the counter if you wish, but there isn’t much seating.

My red peas soup was cooked in this blackened pot on an open fire, and it had just the right amount of scotch bonnet pepper and smoky flavour (in Jamaican patois, “it ketch”):

soup pot on wood fire at big flag jerk centre near flamouth jamaica

A very friendly large lady, who appeared to be in charge, did not miss the opportunity to tell me that I should come back on Sunday morning when they do a big breakfast with lots of Jamaican favourites. I promised her that I would do my best to see her then.

In many countries, roadside food is just fantastic, and Jamaica is no exception. And unlike many places, unless you have a super-sensitive stomach, you can eat the food cooked on the roadsides in Jamaica without any fear of indigestion or illness.

Fancy restaurants and home cooked meals in Silver Sands are great. But so too are these very simple, very inexpensive roadside cook shops which you will find all over the island. Don’t miss out - ask your driver to pull over and taste the very local cuisine.


Take a closer look at Silver Sands Jamaica