What: Also called “rundown mackerel,” this highly seasoned dish of mackerel and vegs is cooked in coconut milk that’s been reduced (i.e., “run down”) until thick and creamy, nearly custardy—and, yes, bursting with flavor. Generally served with boiled bananas and dumplings, this is as bold a breakfast as you can get around here, and we can attest to its lovability.
Where: This to-go portion is from Mom’s in Ocho Rios (876-974-2811; 7 Evelyn St., map; closed Sundays), a great bet along the north coast for down-home traditional Jamaican food.
When: Mon-Sat, 8am-10pm. This is on the breakfast menu.
Order: The “salt mackerel rundown” (JA$400), a generous portion of salted fish, carrots, green onion, and hot pepper in thick, saucy coconut milk. The dish’s starchy accompaniments—boiled bananas, boiled yam, boiled dumplings, some fried dough—helped balance the intense salinity of the fish, and though plain on their own, the boiled sides made great flavor-soakers in the coconut milk-rich sauce. Watch out for little bones. This plate disappeared fast in our car (and was a big hit with our toddler, actually).
Alternatively: Look for this at any hotels that offer Jamaican breakfasts in the morning; we also found a great version of the dish as part of the morning buffet at The Gloucestershire Hotel (92 Gloucestershire Ave., map), across from Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay.