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Introduction to the Haitian Culinary Experience

By February 28, 2021Food
Rice with goat and salad

Food is an essential part of the Haitian culture, and one Haitians are proud to bring to the United States. According to an article by the University of New England, Haitian cuisine is most strongly influenced by African and French flavors; however, there also is a presence of Spanish and Indian-inspired flavors, giving Haitian food a vibrant mix of cultural influences and a rich historical background. There is something for every palette in the world of Haitian dining!

Staple meats include beef, goat, pork, chicken, turkey, and of course, fish. Haitians also enjoy a variety of beans and black-eyed peas. Fruits and vegetables are also a huge influence, the most popular of which include avocados, plantains, bananas, breadfruit, limes, mangoes, papayas, corn, chiles, arrowroot, peppers, sweet potatoes, and much more.

Because of the lack of access to fresh vegetables, black beans and rice are a common staple. Griyo (fried pork), tassot (dried meat), and citrus-marinated chicken are popular meat dishes. Conch is also popular, and can be cooked in a few different ways. Pikliz (pickled cabbage and vegetables) is used as a condiment, complimenting many meat dishes. It can be grated or shredded, served in a vinegar base, and is often dashed with chili peppers. Soup and stews are commonplace, with joumou (pumpkin soup) being one of the most celebrated. The soup is eaten on New Year’s day or Haiti’s independence day. Slaves in Haiti were not allowed to eat joumou as it was considered superior: the dish commemorates freedom from slavery.

Rum is perhaps the most popular alcoholic beverage in the country, followed closely by beer. Haitians also enjoy a variety of desserts, with pain patate (sweet potato bread pudding) as one of the most beloved. Aside from sweet potatoes, the dessert is also made with freshly grated coconut, coconut milk, butter, sugar, crushed ripe bananas, and whole milk. Blan manje (a light dessert prepared cold and with coconut milk) and Haitian fudge are also celebrated desserts.

The article from University of New England goes on to explain that traditional Haitian kitchens are often outdoors. Families do not always have running water or electricity. Food is often fried and at low cost in curbside restaurants or over charcoal stoves. People often do not have access to refrigeration, so the food is more likely to be prepared fresh.

Today, Haitian chefs are becoming more and more proud of their origins and want their patrons to experience them. They discuss their food with the same pride that defines their food culture. Haitian food is not only delicious, its inclusion in American society opens the door for the United States to become a more culturally diverse place to live, work, and play, giving way to a brighter, more inclusive future that Bon Appetit Haitian Restaurant is thrilled to be a part of.

The culinary team at Bon Appetit Haitian Restaurant is talented, experienced, and dedicated to bringing superior authentic Haitian dining to the United States. Bon Appetit Haitian Restaurant delivers the finest for any occasion and will always make your mouth water. Our dishes are infused with the freshest local ingredients along with passion and care. Our mission is to ensure each customer’s dining experience is so far above and beyond their expectations, they will return time and time again. Come in and take a trip to Haiti with one bite!