What are some foods that make up the traditional Haitian diet? There’s rice. Rice is a staple in the Haitian diet and has been cultivated in Haiti for over 200 years. Up until the 1980s, Haiti was self-sufficient in its production… trade liberalization can be attributed to the decline. Rice is generally served with beans (diri kole ak pwa) or with a bean sauce (diri ak sauce pwa). Root vegetables are also popular, as are meats such as beef, pork, chicken, fish, lamb, etc.
In addition, Haitians enjoy mais moulin (similar to polenta), legumes (cooked veggies which can include a mixture of eggplant, cabbage, chayote, spinach, kalalou, etc), soups (specifically soup joumou is enjoyed on the 1st of January to bring in the New Year & celebrate Haiti’s independence from France in 1804), boullion, and the list goes on.
What are some of my favorite foods?
One of my absolute favorite Haitian foods is Accra. It’s generally made with ground black eye peas and/or grated malanga, seasoned with spices (let’s not forget the scotch bonnet) and fried. I’ve found that Brazil has a similar dish called acarajé which is split in half once fried and stuffed with shrimp, ground cashews, etc. The native version of both is called Akara and seems to have originated from western Africa.
While there are a some dishes that are native only to certain parts of the island, Griot is not one of them. If you’re Haitian, you probably ate this while in your mother’s stomach. It’s a dish made of pork shoulder, marinated and cooked until tender, deep fried until golden brown then served with pikliz.
Pain patate literally translates to potato bread. This dish is more like a potato cake and is made not with the yellow sweet potatoes but instead with the variation known as boniatos.
Kibbeh (the way my granma made it)
Kibbeh or Kibbe is an Arabic dish made with bulgur wheat and stuffed with meat. It’s said that the Arabs, a Christian minority leaving the Ottoman empire, might’ve arrived in Haiti approx 1890.
Corossol, also know as Soursop or Guanabana in other parts of the world, is a fruit generally used to make sorbet, ice cream or juice.
- Haitian Rice Recipes (margaret-auguste.suite101.com)
- Haitians Mark The New Year With A Belly Full Of Soup (npr.org)
- Trade and the Disappearance of Haitian Rice (american.edu)
- La Cuisine Haïtienne – The Haitian Gastronomy (facebook.com)
- From Within And Without: The History of Haitian Photography (cookmixmingle.com)