When you think of national dishes, Ackee & Saltfish is likely to be at the top of the list for Jamaica. This hearty, savory breakfast is the perfect way to start the day, and it has a fascinating history that goes back centuries.

Ackee & Saltfish is a dish that is made from two main ingredients: ackee fruit and salted codfish. The ackee fruit is a unique ingredient that is native to West Africa, but it was brought to Jamaica by enslaved Africans. The fruit is not eaten raw, as it contains a toxin that can be harmful if not prepared properly. However, when cooked, the fruit has a delicate, nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the salted codfish.

Salted codfish, on the other hand, was introduced to Jamaica by European colonizers, and it quickly became a staple in the Jamaican diet. Salted codfish was a popular food among sailors because it could be preserved for long periods of time, and it was easy to transport. As a result, it became a common food in Jamaica, where it was used to make a variety of dishes.

To prepare Ackee & Saltfish, the salted codfish is soaked in water to remove some of the salt, and then it is boiled until it is tender. The ackee fruit is also boiled until it is soft and tender, and then it is sautéed with onions, tomatoes, scallions, and Jamaican spices. The two ingredients are then mixed together and served hot with fried plantains, boiled green bananas, or dumplings.

One of the great things about Ackee & Saltfish is that it is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. In Jamaica, it is commonly eaten for breakfast, but it can also be served for lunch or dinner. It is a popular dish at parties and special occasions, and it is often served with a side of Jamaican bread, such as hard dough bread or coco bread.

What makes Ackee & Saltfish so special is not just its delicious taste, but also its cultural significance. The dish has a long history in Jamaica, and it is a symbol of the country’s rich cultural heritage. It is a dish that has been passed down from generation to generation, and it has become an important part of the Jamaican identity.

In fact, Ackee & Saltfish is so beloved in Jamaica that it has been designated as the national dish of the country. This honor was bestowed upon the dish in 1992, and it has been celebrated ever since. The designation of Ackee & Saltfish as the national dish is a testament to its cultural importance and its significance in Jamaican cuisine.

For Jamaicans who live abroad, Ackee & Saltfish is a way to stay connected to their culture and their roots. It is a dish that reminds them of home, and it is a way to share their heritage with others. Many Jamaicans who live abroad make Ackee & Saltfish a regular part of their diet, and they often cook it for special occasions and gatherings.

Ackee & Saltfish is not just a delicious and culturally significant dish, it is also a healthy one. Ackee fruit is low in fat and high in protein, and it is a good source of vitamins and minerals. Salted codfish is also a good source of protein, and it is low in fat and calories. When prepared in a healthy way, Ackee & Saltfish can be a nutritious meal that is both filling and satisfying.

In conclusion, Ackee & Saltfish is a dish that is more than just a breakfast option, it is a national symbol of Jamaica’s rich cultural heritage. It is a dish that has been passed down from generation to generation, and it is a way for Jamaicans to connect with their roots and share their culture with the world. Its unique blend of African, European, and Caribbean influences makes it a one-of-a-kind dish that is beloved by many. So, the next time you’re in Jamaica or have the opportunity to try Ackee & Saltfish, take a bite and savor the flavors, history, and culture that come with this delicious dish.

Here’s a recipe for Ackee & Saltfish:


  • 1 lb salted codfish
  • 1 can ackee fruit, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Soak the salted codfish in cold water overnight, changing the water every few hours to remove some of the salt. Alternatively, you can boil the codfish for 20-30 minutes to remove some of the salt.
  2. Drain the codfish and flake it into small pieces, removing any bones.
  3. In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the onion, tomato, scallions, garlic, thyme, and Scotch bonnet pepper (if using) to the skillet and cook until the vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the codfish to the skillet and stir to combine with the vegetables. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the ackee fruit to the skillet and gently fold it into the codfish mixture. Be careful not to over-stir, as the ackee can become mushy.
  7. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  8. Serve hot with fried plantains, boiled green bananas, or dumplings.

Enjoy your delicious and authentic Jamaican Ackee & Saltfish!