Ackey rice?

In the Harry Belafonte song “Jamaica Farewell” there is the line
“Ackey rice, salt fish are nice.”

I’ve been stumped in figuring out just what is ackey rice.

I’ve always seen it spelled “akee”. The lyrics are here.

According to this site, “Akie (or akee) rice is a Jamaican dish made from rice plus the fruit of a special tree called akee that grows in the Caribbean”.

If you Google on “akee”, you’ll find more than you ever wanted to know about the akee tree.

Until your post, I had always heard it is “Akee, rice, salt fish on ice”, but “are nice” is a grammatically better fit with the next line of the song.

I knew immediately what the thread was going to be about as soon as I saw the title.

Not that I have any answers or anything, but I’ll be checking periodically in case someone else does.

Thanks. I need to use a better set of lyrics!

I have eaten akee on a number of occasions in Jamaica and in Grand Cayman. The Jamaicans often eat akee with salt cod (also known as baccalao (sp??)) which in Jamaica they inexplicably usually call “swordfish”. Akee is an apple-sized red fruit that grows on a tree. When it is ripe, the fruit splits open. The seeds are the portion that you eat. The seeds have some white branching veins on them that must be carefully removed; I’m told they are poisonous. The seeds when cooked resemble yellow pieces of fat in appearance, taste, and consistency. Not something to write home about.

It’s also sometimes spelled ackee, as in this transcription of the lyrics of a song I learned in elementary school.

Actually, it appears that the seeds are toxic and the only edible parts of the ackee are the fleshy arils surrounding the seeds and then only if ripe. Otherwise you get Jamaican vomiting sickness.

I’ve never heard a Jamaican call salted cod anything but “saltfish” - and I am one (well, half)

Mm, ackees. I got a tree in my yard, though it isn’t mature enough to bear yet. It is true that the pods must open before the fruit is picked, and then the seeds and red veins must be carefully removed as they contain a poison not unlike arsenic. Then you add the yellow pods to a pan full of previousy boiled saltfish (never called swordfish by any Jamaican I ever knew), scallions, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, tomatoes and a little bell pepper and fry it a bit. Sprinkle on a little Grace hot pepper sauce. Best served with boiled green bananas, Hardo bread and Blue Mountain coffee. Some fried breadfruit if you have it. Mmmmmm!!