Haiti has its own unique food culture that is different from the other islands in the region. Even though it is often thought as a part of Caribbean cuisine, Haitian food has its own flavors and is also influenced by Creole food and French cuisine. Haiti also has its very own traditional dishes that you can only find here.
Popular Haitian Food
Many popular dishes are basic, affordable and filling. The typical diet is based on locally grown rice, millet, corn, beans and yams. The national dish of Haiti is Diri ak Pois, or rice and beans, and Mayi Moulen ak Pois (cornmeal and beans) is also common. Both can be found everywhere in Haiti, from street food stalls to restaurants.
In fact most foods are served with rice or cornmeal. A typical everyday dish is a stew that can be flavored with spices such as pepper or clove, and that comes with a pile of rice or cornmeal. Cornmeal mush that is cooked together with coconut, peppers and kidney beans is a popular dish too.
Boiled or fried plantains are an accompaniment to many meals. Boiled plantains and dried fish can also be served as a breakfast dish, especially on the coast where dried fish is a typical breakfast food. Bannann peze are fried plantains, and like many other fried dishes they are sometimes fried in pig fat to add flavor. Many dishes come with pikliz, vegetables such as cabbage, carrot, peppers and onions that are pickled in spicy vinegar. Especially fried foods are often eaten with pickles.
There are many dishes that are typical and unique to Haiti. Diri djondjon or rice djondjon means rice that is cooked with black mushrooms that grow locally and that also give the rice a dark color. Kalalou (or calalou) djondjon is made with okra, mushrooms and pepper. Soup jomou is a pumpkin soup you should definitely try while in Haiti.
Meat and Seafood Dishes
Although rice, cornmeal, beans and plantain are a big part of many meals, especially wealthier people also eat pork, goat meat and seafood. Griyo (fried pork) is a traditional meat dish, often served with pikliz. Tassot is meat (such as beef) that is dried first and then fried, and it usually comes with fried plantains. Seafood delicacies include conch that can be served grilled or in a creole-style tomato sauce. Grilled fish and grilled lobster are available especially on the coast.
Desserts in Haiti
There are many popular local desserts in Haiti, and some desserts and pastries also have a distinct French influence. Typical Haitian desserts include pain patate, a cake or pudding that is made with sweet potatoes, banana, figs, vanilla and spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon.
Many delicious fruits grow in Haiti’s tropical island climate. Popular local fruits include pineapple, mango and guava, which make delicious juices to go with Haitian food. Coconuts grow locally and coconut water is another tropical local drink. Sugarcane juice is a typical Caribbean and Haitian delicacy and a refreshing drink in the heat.