Jamaican food is not all jerk and meat patties! You can sample one of the island's most popular snacks, pepper shrimp, along the south coast. In the town of Middle Quarters, roadside vendors cook the shrimp in big steaming pots on outdoor grills. The shrimp, caught in the Black River, are boiled in salty water and then spiced with chopped scotch bonnet peppers, sea salt, vinegar, and black pepper. Plastic bags of the fiery little shellfish are peddled to drivers passing on their way home from work and to lucky tourists for a messy and addictive snack.
On the south coast's Highway A-2, between the towns of Lacovia and Middle Quarters, the road suddenly enters a green tunnel of tall bamboo trees—the trees on either side of the road meet to form an arch that continues for two and half miles. Bamboo Avenue--also known as Holland Bamboo—was planted by the 17th-century owners of a local sugar plantation, Holland Estates, to create a shady stretch of their road. Because of storm damage in the past decade, Bamboo Avenue isn't as lush as it once was. Replanting is underway, though, and the shady historic roadway is still worth finding on your way along the south coast.