By Jennifer 8. Lee | June 21, 2007
Tomorrow I’m heading to Kingston, Jamaica with my friend Eric Lee (who I know from Chinese camp from the time we both still wore braces) to do research on the Chinese Jamaicans, and Jamaican-Chinese food and the importance of Chinese Jamaicans in the reggae music industry.
The Chinese started arriving in Jamaica in the 1850s-1860s to work on the plantations and a few generations later they are completely assimilated and play important roles in Jamaica’s economy — including Jamaica’s biggest cultural export: music.Â (One of the most prominent producers of early reggae was a Chinese-Jamaican, Leslie Kwong). It is a bit weird seeing people who look like me, but talk like Bob Marley.
It gave me a sense of how weird it is for my friends in China to see me look Chinese and speaks like an American.
There is a significant Chinese-Jamaican population and there are a number of Chinese-Jamaican immigrants to the United States. As a result there are a number of Jamaican-Chinese restaurants in Miami (Bowl Le in Miami) and New York (Nakasaki in Hempstead, Long Island).
People always say, “I love Chinese food! I love Jamaican food! Therefore I must love Jamaican Chinese food!” It seems logical, but you need to try it.
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