What to Eat in Haiti – 10 Best Foods You Absolutely Must Try
What is the most popular food in Haiti? Haitian food draws influence from West Africa, France, West Indies and the Caribbean to name a few. The ingredients used to create this cuisine are typical, yet the preparation is the key to making Haiti food so unique. If you’re wondering what to eat in Haiti, don’t miss these 10 popular Haitian foods.
1) Poulet aux noix chicken (chicken and cashew nuts)
Poulet aux noix is a tasty dish that incorporates a delightful flavour of chicken and cashews. The chicken is marinated, steamed, then pan-fried with diced tomatoes, onions, and tomato paste. Cashew nuts are boiled to softness and added to the tasty sauce created from the onions, tomatoes and chicken.
Typically it’s served over a bed of white rice. This meal has to be at the top of your list of what to eat in Haiti.
What to Eat in Haiti – Chicken Cashew Stew Photo Credit: indigogo.com
2) Tassot (Dried fried meat)
Tassot is a traditional Haitian dish made with beef or goat meat as the main protein. The meat is cubed, then usually marinated in a mixture of orange juice, lemon juice and onions. The meat is fried until it forms a crispy exterior. The dish is typically served with rice, fried plantains and beans. The best part is the spicy sauce served on the side.
3) Legim (Stew)
Legim is one of the most popular Haitian dishes, and sometimes referred to as simply Haitian food legume. It also has many variations regarding the ingredients used to prepare the dish.
Legim (which translates to legumes or vegetables) usually contains a mixture of vegetables including green beans, cabbage, eggplant, watercress, squash and carrots. These are all cooked with the meat (regularly beef) and then it’s all mashed together.
Across Haiti, the stew is traditionally prepared on Saturdays. It is often accompanied by rice or cornmeal. Remember this dish when you’re searching for what to eat in Haiti.
What to Eat in Haiti – Legim Stew Photo Credit: Punchfork.com
4) Kalalou Djondjon – Okra & Black Mushroom Stew pwason
This complex, yet simple dish takes hours of prepping and cooking, but it is certainly worth the wait! This dish also has one of those quirky Haitian food names. You’ll notice a few more as you make your way through our list of what to eat in Haiti.
The flavour of the stew is a perfect infusion of crab, djondjon (black mushroom), fresh okra and chunks of pork. Now Haitians love to add a chilli kick to their dishes. This dish and other Haiti food you’ll taste are likely to be a little spicy. If you are lucky enough to be invited into a Haitian home or have friends that are willing to cook this dish for you, take up the offer!
5) Pwason Boukannen grilled fish
What is Haiti’s famous food? I asked this question to the Haitians working at the hotel I stayed in Cap Haitien, and they told me it was grilled fish! Fresh fish is served in many restaurants and cafes across Haiti. It is commonly served alongside chips and salad or rice and fried plantain. If you enjoy eating spicy food like me, ask for a little extra pikliz to go on top. Another popular way to cook fresh fish in Haiti is to fry it, whole!
The preparation is to first clean the fish, then pat dry to reduce any moisture. Score the flesh of the fish on both sides and then cover in a dusting of seasoned flour. Spices such as garlic and onion powders, dried thyme and parsley, chilli powder, black pepper and salt are commonly used.
Next, shake off any excess flour and plunge the fish into a deep pan with heated vegetable oil. Depending on the size of the fish, once it has a golden outer crust and the flesh has turned opaque, it’s ready.
Again, a fresh and spicy condiment would be drizzled over the fish and enjoyed. Delicious!
What to Eat in Haiti – Grilled fish
6) Boullion Soup
Wondering what to eat in Haiti on a rainy day? Look no further, because boullion soup is a comforting and filling dish that really hits the spot. This dish is a hearty stew that can be made with a variety of meats (typically beef or chicken) and vegetables.
It is sometimes served with small dumplings which are made by rolling the flour into a small amount of broth. You will commonly find sweet plantains and chunky pieces of potato in this soup too.
Haiti food that you need to try. Haitian Bouillon soup. Photo Credit @Bouyon
7) Riz National (National Rice)
Many countries across Africa have their own spin on this dish. In Haiti, Riz National is one of the most popular and the most permanent. Some would argue that this is THE Haiti national dish that you cannot leave without trying at least once.
The base of the dish is made using rice and red kidney beans. It’s topped with ingredients that can be modified for flavour, colour, texture. In the home, the toppings would be whatever is on hand at the time.
Lambi, or conch in English, are seashell molluscs. They are otherwise known as sea snails. Across Haiti and particularly close to the coast, conch is best eaten grilled on the BBQ or soaked in butter and barbecued on high heat. You can also find sliced conch in Haitian salads and stews. Click here for my favourite Lambi Stew recipe.
What to Eat in Haiti – Lambi
A Haitian condiment that consists of pickled carrots, cabbage, bell peppers and Scotch bonnet peppers. I warned you that Haitians like to add a spicy kick to their food. Pikliz is generally seasoned with garlic and onion and pickled in white vinegar. You will find this spicy condiment is served alongside many Haitian dishes to add flavour and spice to the dish.
Pikliz – Put it on your ‘Haiti food’ list to eat. Photo Credit: Epicurious.com
10) Haitian patty
The ultimate go-to snack when you really don’t know what to eat in Haiti. The Haitian patty is a staple dish in this Caribbean nation.
The Haitian patty is a heavy pastry filled with spiced meats. Expect fillings such as chicken, beef, fish or turkey. The outer layers are flaky and crisp while the inside is a little softer. This is the easiest street food snack available in Haiti and available everywhere. Want to try and cook them at home?
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Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 190 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.