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Barack had a blast! ‎- Ackee and salt fish, jerk chicken among local dishes that the US president enjoyed

Published:Sunday | April 12, 2015 | 4:50 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
One of the dishes President Obama was served at The Pegasus Hotel during his visit to Jamaica last week.
President of the United States of America Barack Obama having fun while addressing a youth forum at the University Mona campus last Thursday.
US President Barack Obama waved and smiled as he prepared to leave Jamaica last Thursday.
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His appreciation for Bob Marley music and Red Stripe Beer is well known, and he proved during his short visit that he is comfortable with the Jamaican Patois. But a little-known fact about United States President Barack Obama is that he really loves Jamaican food.

According to US Ambassador to Jamaica Luis G. Moreno, the president was given a sampling of 12 of Jamaica's more famous dishes on his first night in the island.

Although Moreno is not sure exactly what the president ate, it is believed that ackee and salt fish, jerk chicken and fried plantains were on the menu.

"He had prepared for him a sampling of Jamaican cuisine the first night he was here, which the chef at the hotel prepared," Moreno said in an exclusive interview with The Sunday Gleaner.

"The plates were completely clean when they came to pick up the dishes, so he must have enjoyed it immensely," added Moreno.

Obama, who stayed at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel during his nearly 24-hour stop in the island, was very impressed with the meals and conveyed his appreciation to the chef.

"I don't know exactly what the chef did, although I did speak with him and he told me that the feedback that he got was excellent," noted Moreno.

SERIOUS BUSINESS

The US president was in the island for some serious business, including bilateral talks with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and discussions with 14 Heads of Government from the Caribbean Community, but made time to visit the Bob Marley Museum in St Andrew less than two hours after disembarking Air Force One at the Norman Manley International Airport.

The 44th US president has long made it clear that he is captivated by the music of the iconic reggae artiste, and was clearly pleased about getting more acquainted with the history of the legendary singer whose albums are among his prized possessions.

According to the museum's tour guide, Natasha Clark, the president started to sing and dance when the Marley anthem, Exodus, was being played, and revealed that he had been listening to it while making his way to Jamaica on Air Force One. He also sang along with Marley as the hard-hitting Ambush in the Night was played.

Seemingly fired up by the Marley message, Obama, on Thursday, captured hearts and disarmed critics as he greeted the 'massive' and asked 'what a gwaan?' at the start of a meeting with youth leaders from across the region at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus.

It was no wonder, then, that the US president declared his intention to visit the country again with his family, which includes wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha.

"We will have to return with the girls sometime in the future," said Obama not long before he left the island with 48 bottles of Red Stripe Beer and pleasant memories.