Food

Foods

Haiti

Top Best Haitian Foods

1. Soup Joumou, 2. Fresco (Haitian Shaved Ice), 3. Tonmtonm Ak Sòs Kalalou (Mashed Breadfruit with Gumbo Sauce), 4. Marinad (Haitian Chicken Fritters), 5. Pen Patat (Sweet Potato Pudding), 6. Griyo (Baked Pork Shoulder), 7. Lalo (Jute Leaves), 8. Konfiti Chadèk (Grapefruit Jam), 9. Ze Bouyi Fig Mi (Boiled Egg with Banana Fig), 10. Benyen (Haitian Banana Fritters), 11. Pwason Boukannen (Grilled Fish), 12. Bòy Nan Pwa (Dumplings with Black Bean Sauce), 13. Ragou (Pork or Beef Ragout), 14. Mayi Moulen (Haitian Cornmeal), 15. Diri Shela, Poul Fri (Fried Chicken with Brown Rice). Haitian food offers a truly diverse and eclectic culinary experience, fusing rich, spicy, and explosive flavors with humble Caribbean cooking. These dishes, which draw from a wide range of influences, including French, African, and Middle Eastern, should be on any trip to this unique Caribbean island's must-try menu. If you're planning a trip to Haiti and want to get a taste of the local cuisine, Toplist hopes our list of the Top 15 greatest Haitian cuisines will point you in the right direction.

  1. Soup Joumou
  2. Fresco (Haitian Shaved Ice)
  3. Tonmtonm Ak Sòs Kalalou (Mashed Breadfruit with Gumbo Sauce)
  4. Marinad (Haitian Chicken Fritters)
  5. Pen Patat (Sweet Potato Pudding)
  6. Griyo (Baked Pork Shoulder)
  7. Lalo (Jute Leaves)
  8. Konfiti Chadèk (Grapefruit Jam)
  9. Ze Bouyi Fig Mi (Boiled Egg with Banana Fig)
  10. Benyen (Haitian Banana Fritters)
  11. Pwason Boukannen (Grilled Fish)
  12. Bòy Nan Pwa (Dumplings with Black Bean Sauce)
  13. Ragou (Pork or Beef Ragout)
  14. Mayi Moulen (Haitian Cornmeal)
  15. Diri Shela, Poul Fri (Fried Chicken with Brown Rice)

Soup Joumou

Soup joumou is associated with a watershed moment in Haitian history. When Haiti was liberated from French colonial rule on January 1, 1804, it was served as a commemorative dish. As a result, it’s a popular choice for Haiti’s Independence Day.

This delectable soup is made with goat meat and various vegetables. Soup Joumou is a hearty soup with key ingredients such as beef and pumpkin, as well as carrots, onions, macaroni, squash, and potatoes. Fresh ginger, garlic, sage, and a generous splash of lemon or lime juice flavor it. When the meat has been stewed for a reasonable amount of time, you will fall in love with its tenderness and flavor. On cold days, a bowl of warm soup is ideal.

In particular, UNESCO designated Haiti’s Soup Joumou as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in December 2021.

top best haitian foods

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top best haitian foods

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Fresco (Haitian Shaved Ice)

Haitian shaved ice was and continues to be a widely adored and popular treat – particularly for kids on their way home from school on a hot summer afternoon.

At the end of the day, you could almost always count on someone selling Fresco from a small vehicle similar to an ice cream cart outside almost every school. There’d be a nearby line of kids, lined up like skittles, waiting for their turn!

Haitian shaved ice is made up of only two ingredients: ice and a thick, sweet syrup. The most common syrup is grenadine, but it can be served with any color or flavor of syrup.

When it was your turn, the vendor would usually ask what flavor you wanted after scooping the shaved ice into a cup. Little girls usually choose strawberry because the syrup will turn the Fresco a bright pink color, which is their favorite!

top best haitian foods
top best haitian foods

Photo: Tchakayiti, Haitian Food & Gastronomy

Tonmtonm Ak Sòs Kalalou (Mashed Breadfruit with Gumbo Sauce)

This is a traditional Haitian dish from Jeremie, a province in the south of the country. The main ingredient is breadfruit, so named because when cooked, it tastes like freshly baked bread. It is occasionally combined with okra or sweet potatoes.

The Gumbo sauce is made with an okra base and a variety of red meats and seafood, giving the sauce a rich, savory flavor that combines the flavors of land and sea.

Tonmtonm is made up of cooked, mashed breadfruit balls that are shaped into balls and placed in bowls, ready to be dipped into a serving of thick, rich Gumbo sauce. At its finest, indulgence!

top best haitian foods

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Marinad (Haitian Chicken Fritters)

There’s a well-known Haitian proverb that goes, “pa gen kominyon san marinad,” which translates as “it’s not a proper Haitian communion celebration unless Haitian chicken fritters are served!”

In fact, at every communion or wedding, Marinad were fritters served for everyone to enjoy. Haitian chicken fritters are a fried appetizer made from shredded cooked chicken, garlic, scallions, pepper, and herbs.

While marinated fritters are traditionally a celebratory dish, they can also be purchased from street vendors throughout Haiti. The fritters are extremely cheap, with 5 marinated fritters costing only 5 Haitian Gourdes (less than US $0.50), making them a must-try food in Haiti.

top best haitian foods

Photo: Savory Thoughts

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Pen Patat (Sweet Potato Pudding)

Pen patat, or sweet potato pudding, is a filling dessert that is traditionally served at Haitian communions, weddings, and parties. It’s also a sweet treat that’s popular to bake at home as a dish for the entire family to enjoy on Sundays or special occasions.

Pen patat has a similar texture and consistency to fruit cake, but with one major difference: the base is sweet potato rather than flour. This results in a deep brown pudding with a rich, sweet flavor.

Haitians frequently prepare pen patat with Caribbean sweet potatoes, which have white flesh rather than orange. The base is made up of sugar, bananas, raisins, and butter, with flavors including grated ginger, lime zest, spices, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.

Some people like to add coconut or condensed milk as well. This dish is typically served as a dessert after lunch or dinner in Haiti, but it can also be enjoyed for breakfast.

top best haitian foods

Video: LoveForHaitianFood

Griyo (Baked Pork Shoulder)

Many consider griyo, or baked pork shoulder, to be Haiti’s national dish. The pork is served with fried plantain, pikliz (pickled vegetable relish), rice, or a combination of the three. In Haiti, you can order griyo from high-end restaurants to humble street vendors selling fritters and cheap foods.

To make griyo, a pork shoulder joint is first washed in a citrus juice mixture. Because clean water is difficult to come by in some areas, sour oranges or limes are commonly used to wash food instead of water.

The pork shoulder is then marinated in epis, a Haitian herb, vegetable, and spice mixture. After that, the joint is slowly roasted until it is tender and juicy.

The slow-cooked pork meat, fresh vegetables, and citrus and spice undertones make griyo a dish of utter splendor, with each mouthful offering so much texture and flavor.

top best haitian foods
top best haitian foods

Lalo (Jute Leaves)

Lalo is a flavorful, savory stew made from jute leaves and spinach that originated in the province of Artibonite. It’s typically served with white rice and crab or beef – though this is optional. Lalo is a beautifully fragrant and tasty dish that is incredibly moreish – you won’t be able to stop after just one bowl!

When served with meat, such as griyo, the crab or beef is washed with lime juice and seasoned with epis, a common seasoning base used throughout the country that consists of bell peppers, crushed garlic, and various herbs.

After being washed and seasoned, the crab or beef is cooked in the pan with the jute leaves and spinach, releasing an incredible array of flavors.

top best haitian foods

Video: Haitian Dining With Marie

Konfiti Chadèk (Grapefruit Jam)

Konfiti chadèk is a delicious grapefruit preserve that is typically eaten with bread. My grandmother used to make it just for me every summer because I didn’t like mamba (a spicy Haitian peanut butter), which is what most people had.

I adored Haitian grapefruit jam so much that a jar would only last me two weeks. It’s just that tasty and addictive. It is commonly eaten at breakfast with a glass of orange juice or milk, but I prefer it slathered on thick slices of bread.

Konfiti chadèk is made by peeling two grapefruits and then squeezing out the juice. The juice is then spiced with cinnamon, combined with sugar, and slowly cooked until it thickens and reduces to a rich, delicious jam.

top best haitian foods

Video: Annette Dor

Ze Bouyi Fig Mi (Boiled Egg with Banana Fig)

The average Haitian citizen’s daily breakfast is ze bouyi fig mi, or boiled egg with banana fig. Despite the fact that it is inexpensive and simple to prepare, most Haitians do not cook it themselves.

Every morning, vendors selling ze bouyi fig mi can be found in abundance throughout the suburbs, with one on almost every street or street corner. They usually boil the eggs at home and transport them in a bucket with the bananas and figs.

The dish is served by splitting the boiled egg in half. They season the eggs with salt and, depending on the customer’s preferences, can top the dish with a generous dollop of hot sauce. Boiling eggs and banana figs are eaten together, resulting in a divine fusion of sweet and savory flavors.

top best haitian foods

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Video: cookingguide

Benyen (Haitian Banana Fritters)

Benyen, also known as Beignets de Carnaval or simply Haitian banana fritters, are one of my favorite foods. The mere thought of them transports me back to my childhood.

The Haitian Carnival is a multi-day national celebration held each year in the run-up to Mardi Gras. When I was a kid, I used to go to the carnival, and these delectable banana fritters could be found just about anywhere.

Attending the carnival brings together families, relatives, and friends to enjoy the festivities. This casual banana-based dessert, along with other popular foods associated with the Haitian carnival, plays an important role in how we celebrate this special time of year.

Benyen can also be found being sold by street vendors throughout the country, and you can get three of these sweet little treats for only 10 Haitian Gourdes, which is less than a US dollar! This dish is extremely versatile and can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Very ripe bananas are combined with flour, sugar, baking soda, and water to make the fritters. Nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and a pinch of salt flavor the mixture. Once the batter is mixed, it is spooned into hot oil to fry, and once the fritters are golden and crispy, they are liberally sprinkled with sugar and served piping hot.

top best haitian foods
top best haitian foods

Photo: Global Kitchen Travels

Pwason Boukannen (Grilled Fish)

In Haiti, fish is cooked using a traditional technique known as ‘boukan.’ Because most Haitians living outside of Port-au-Prince lack access to ovens or barbecue grills, Pwason Boukannen is typically smoked in this manner.

‘Boukan’ is a method of splitting a large piece of wood in two. One end is tied, while the other is left open to allow the fish to fit between the two pieces of wood.

The fish is then skewered with a stick so that it can be rotated frequently to ensure even cooking. Finally, the fish is cooked slowly over hot embers emitted by a fire lit beneath two large stones.

This traditional Haitian cooking method imparts a distinct and truly delectable smoky flavor to the fish after it has been cooked. Pwason boukannen, served with fried plantains, is arguably one of the best Haitian dishes to experience authentic Haitian cooking at its finest.

top best haitian foods

Video: Annette Dor

Bòy Nan Pwa (Dumplings with Black Bean Sauce)

Bòy nan pwa is a straightforward dish of hearty flour dumplings with a Haitian black bean sauce. The black bean sauce is made by boiling the beans in water until soft, then mashing them into a purée and stirring to create a creamy, lightly textured sauce. Typically, salt and butter are added to enhance the flavor.

Bòy nan pwa is a filling, flavorful, and nutritious meal. It’s another go-to home cooked dish for feeding large families in a healthy, cost-effective manner. Lots of travelers highly recommended this dish as one of the Haitian must-try foods.

top best haitian foods

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Video: Sendy’s Cookin

Ragou (Pork or Beef Ragout)

Ragou is a favorite among Haitian families. It is a deep, rich meat-based stew packed with nutrients and goodness, traditionally made from either cow or pig foot.

Haitian ragout includes carrots, onions, and sweet peppers in addition to the meat. Ground spices, parsley, lime juice, and chili powder flavor this warming, hearty dish. It comes with white rice.

If you plan a trip to Haiti in the future, try this dish at least once. Your trip will not be complete without trying this dish. Many visitors are surprised by its unique taste and say that they had a good experience with it.

top best haitian foods

Photo: Just a Little Bit of Bacon

top best haitian foods

Photo: EatingWell

Mayi Moulen (Haitian Cornmeal)

Mayi moulen is a quick and easy meal that can be consumed at any time of day. It is as essential to Haitian cuisine as rice is.

Mayi moulen is essentially a dish of cornmeal cooked in heavily salted water with leeks. It’s usually accompanied by avocado slices and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Mayi moulen is the traditional go-to meal for Haitian households when time is short. This Haitian dish continues to fuel a generation of Haitians as they go about their daily lives, from commuters rushing to work to busy parents needing to prepare a quick but nutritious meal for their children.

top best haitian foods

Photo: Love For Haitian Food

Video: Island Vibe Cooking

Diri Shela, Poul Fri (Fried Chicken with Brown Rice)

Diri shela is a type of rice from Artibonite’s northern region, and this particular combination is a favorite of Haitians from all walks of life.

Diri shela with fried chicken is a traditional celebratory dish served at parties, first communions, weddings, and everything in between. In fact, it’s likely to be found at almost any celebration in Haiti, regardless of the occasion.

To make the rice, first fry the epis and beans in a pan before adding the water. After both have boiled, the rice is added to the mixture and everything is combined to cook together.

The dish’s ‘poul fri’ is chicken that has been coated with lemon juice, herbs, and spices before being cooked in a frying pan with onions for a long enough time to ensure it’s thoroughly cooked.

Fried plantains, pikliz (a fiery vegetable relish), and salad are also served with this popular Haitian dish at parties or special occasions.

top best haitian foods

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