One of Jamaica’s best-loved street-food institutions, Faith’s Pen is a string of aroma-intensive food stalls some 26km south of Ocho Rios. Blackened by years of barbecue cooking, the stalls still do a cracking trade with locals avoiding the toll road to and from Kingston. Each sells a variation on the same theme (go for the cook with the longest queue to find the tastiest food): roast yam and saltfish, jerk chicken or pork, ackee and saltfish, roast corn, curry goat, mannish water or fish/conch soup, alongside beers and natural juices. Food sells for between J$300 and J$1200. You eat at benches, with whizzing cars and the strains of Irie FM blaring from ghetto blasters serving as background music. Though not the most picturesque place for a meal, Faith’s Pen is the consummate, and most delicious, on-the-road eating experience.
You can reach Faith’s Pen in twenty to thirty minutes’ drive from Ocho Rios: head out of town on the A3 through Fern Gully, continuing through the emerald fields dotted with dilapidated gingerbread houses and restored plantation homes to the quiet village of Moneague. From here, avoid Highway 2000 to Kingston in favour of the old A3 route through to the southern end of Moneague – you’ll find the vendors a ten-minute drive south.