Before I travelled to Haiti, I assumed local dishes would be a mish mash of unusual ingredients or your basic meat-and-potatoes and whatever locals can get their hands on at the market. Among the things that no one tells you about Haiti is that Haitian food is actually really delicious! It’s wholesome and nutritional, packed with flavourful spices and tradition. Food here is one of the best reasons to explore this Caribbean island, so I thought I would share with you my favourite dishes and what to eat when you travel to Haiti.
A Haitian staple, mayi moulen is mashed corn with beans and chicken. It’s thick and creamy and the best kind is always homemade. We ate mayi moulen a lot from Lolo’s, down the street by our communitere. This take-out container didn’t last very long.
Plantains are everywhere in Haiti since they’re easy to cook and eat. They’re usually served fried and crispy, on the side of different meats like pork, chicken and goat.
One of my first memories of Haiti was eating pwason boukannen while I tanned my butt off on the sand. It’s succulent grilled white fish, caught fresh by the fisherman and cooked in front of you right on the beach!
Haitians love their avocados – an important staple in the Haitian diet since they are packed with lots of protein, vitamins and caloric nutrients. If you’re lucky enough to be in Haiti while these guys are in-season, they’re deliciously buttery and creamy, usually served on the side with meat, or diri kole for breakfast.
Another Haitian staple and a national dish is rice and beans. Like much of Haitian cuisine, it has evolved over time with colonial influences from the Spanish, French, and Africans. When you order diri kole the rice always has a nice kick of spice to it and the beans are hearty and so flavourful.
The first time I had a tablèt pistach it was in a deliciously gooey, peanut butter cookie-form from Willio’s mom! It’s made of fruits or nuts (or a dozen other variations) and stirred into caramelized sugar cane. I guess, how nutella was my childhood staple, the tablèt is a must for any Haitian kid.
Yep, Haiti has a national beer too! Mild and crisp, Prestige is the most popular beer in Haiti (it’s everywhere!). Locals are especially proud of it because it’s home grown and they can call it their own. It’s easy to spot – Prestige is blue and red, the colours of the Haitian flag. My friends tell me the best way to drink a bottle is with good company.