Haitian Food

Haitian Food: 25 Best Dishes to Try in Haiti

Do you plan to visit Haiti and want to learn about Haitian food? Or are you just curious about Haitian food? Here, we shall review some of the top Haitian dishes to try. You’ll get a taste of the finest Haitian desserts and cuisine.

A variety of cultures, including Spanish, French, African, Arab, and Tano, influences Haitian food. Both traditional and contemporary meals from the island have a distinct flavor that is unique to the country, and this attracts visitors.

25 Haitian food you try

Thanks to its quality ingredients and unique tastes, Haitian food has some of the best flares in Latin America.

Here are 25 Haitian food you can try on your travels or make at home for a little beachfront zeal!

1. Poulet aux noix

Poulet aux noix
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Poulet aux noix

Poulet aux noix is a delicious dish made with chicken and walnuts. The meat is marinated and pan-fried till golden brown and the nuts are cooked until soft before being put to a bed of peppers, onions, and tomatoes.

It can be eaten plain or with rice. In any case, it’s incredible.

2. Pikliz

Pikliz
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Pikliz

You’ll never go to a Haitian restaurant and not see pikliz on the menu. It’s a sour relish made with fermented vegetables including cucumbers, carrots, onions, and shredded cabbage that’s sometimes served with fried meats to cut some of the fat.

To make it, toss the vegetables in a jar of vinegar with some garlic and onion and allowed to stand for a while. Pikliz is derived from the French word piquer, which means “to sting,” therefore it is not for the faint of heart!

3. Joumou

Joumou
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Joumou

For Haitians, Joumou means a variety of different things. Back in the days of slavery, it was reserved for their white owners, so when slaves eventually get their freedom and they celebrated by eating joumou right on the streets.

It’s made with a puree of squash with a combination of cabbage, limes, onions, celery, and plantains. Typically, bread is used to scoop up the soup.

4. Pate Kode

 Pate Kode
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Pate Kode

Everyone enjoys eating on the street. If you haven’t already become a convert, try a pate kode. Pate Kode, known as Haitian patties in English, is a sumptuous Haitian dish. Especially if you’re in a hurry and need to grab something quick.

Haitian patties are little pastry packets filled with delicious fillings ranging from mixed veggies to smoked herring. The filling changes from market to stall, allowing each vendor to put their own stamp on the meal.

5. Griyo: The Iconic Haitian Pork

 Griyo: The Iconic Haitian Pork
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Griyo: The Iconic Haitian Pork

Griyo is a beloved Haitian dish featuring marinated and twice-cooked pork, resulting in tender and crispy meat.

The pork is seasoned with a blend of spices, including sour orange juice, scotch bonnet peppers, and garlic, creating a burst of flavors that will leave your taste buds dancing.

6. Diri ak Djon Djon

Diri ak Djon Djon
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Diri ak Djon Djon

Diri ak Djon Djon is a unique and tasty Haitian dish made with black rice cooked in a broth made from dried black mushrooms (djon djon).

The mushrooms infuse the rice with a deep, earthy aroma and a striking black color, making it a visual and culinary delight.

7. Tassot kabrit

Tassot kabrit
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Tassot kabrit

If you’ve never tasted goat before, now is your opportunity! Tassot kabrit is a traditional Haitian snack that mixes the crunchy texture of fried meat with the sweetness of a snack.

To create it, marinate strips of lean goat meat in lemons and orange juice before pan-frying till crispy and brown.

They’re a popular street meal, but they’re also offered in high-end restaurants with rice or stew.

8. Makawoni au graten

 Makawoni au graten
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Makawoni au graten

Makawoni au graten is the Creole equivalent of macaroni au gratin, but it’s not your usual Kraft dish.

This sumptuous casserole is prepared with rigatoni and penne pasta noodles, and its toppings range from “chicken and mustard” to “ham and mayonnaise.”

Other ingredients include bread crumbs, onion, bell pepper, and a mountain of cheese. Parmesan is a classic, but you’ll also find recipes with anything from cheddar to gouda.

9. Lambi

Lambi
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Lambi

Lambi, or conch, holds a special place in Haitian cuisine. This sea snail is tenderized, then stewed in a flavorful sauce made from tomatoes, peppers, and various spices. Lambi is a delicacy appreciated for its unique taste and texture.

10. Bannann Peze

Bannann Peze
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Bannann Peze

Bannann Peze, or fried plantains, are a staple side dish in Haitian cuisine. Ripe plantains are sliced, flattened, and then fried until golden and caramelized. These sweet and crispy plantains complement many Haitian dishes.

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11. Dous Makos

 Dous Makos
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Dous Makos

Dous Makos is a delectable Haitian fudge made with sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, and a hint of vanilla. This rich and creamy treat is a favorite dessert in Haiti and is often enjoyed during special occasions and celebrations.

12. Haitian patty

Haitian patty
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Haitian patty

The Haitian patty, another regional delicacy, is a hefty pastry stuffed with meats and spices. The exterior layers are crisp and flaky, similar to a buttermilk biscuit, and the inner layers are softer and chewier, just like sourdough bread.

Ground meats of all kinds, including chicken, turkey, beef, and fish, are popular fillings.

13. Bouillon soup

Bouillon soup
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Bouillon soup

Bouillon soup is a warm stew that stick-to-your-ribs. It can be prepared with a variety of meats and vegetables and is typically eaten on rainy days.

Bouyon beef is prepared with cow meat, whereas bouyon poule is from poultry. Fillings can range from sweet plantains to hefty chunks of potato.

The only thing that never changes is that it is always served hot. Bouillon is derived from the French verb bouillir, which means “to boil.”

14. Riz national

Riz national
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Riz national

This meal, literally translated as “national rice,” is one of Haiti’s most popular and long-lasting delicacies. It’s cooked with rice and red kidney beans as the base, but the toppings can be modified for flavor, texture, color, and more.

Depending on the eatery, riz national could be topped with anything from a vegetable medley to a whole fish!

15. Griot

Griot
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Griot

Griot is fried pork that has been rinsed with orange juice. It was once done because of the scarcity of fresh water in Haiti, but it is now simply a traditional manner of cooking and a great way to add zest to a dish. Other citrus flavors can also be used.

The finished product is served alongside bananas, sauce, rice, or pikliz.

16. Legim

Legim
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Legim

Legim is a savory and comforting vegetable stew commonly served with rice in Haitian cuisine.

It’s made with a medley of vegetables, such as eggplant, spinach, cabbage, and pumpkin, cooked in a flavorful sauce with herbs and spices.

17. Akra

Akra
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Akra

Akra is a popular Haitian appetizer made from malanga, a starchy root vegetable similar to taro. The malanga is grated, mixed with herbs and spices, then deep-fried to create crispy and flavorful fritters.

18. Diri Ak Pwa

Diri Ak Pwa
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Diri Ak Pwa

Diri ak pwa is a classic dish that should be on every Haitian’s table. This Haitian cuisine is a colonial-era rice and bean supper that has been modified into a very tasty classic statement dish.

White rice is cooked and sometimes combined with aromatic additions such as coconut milk and thyme – who doesn’t enjoy a little flavor depth in their rice dish? black, pinto, and red beans are all popular additions to the beans.

In addition, chicken and bell peppers are usually added to the current version. It is, however, generally served with only rice and beans as the main ingredients.

19. Pen Patat

Pen Patat
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Pen Patat

When it comes to consuming Haitian food, Pen Patat is one of the best locations to start. Why? Because this is a typical dessert. Pen Patat is a one-of-a-kind sweet potato treat.

Sweet potatoes are often grated and blended with mashed banana, coconut milk, fresh ginger, and spices such as cinnamon.

Using what many people consider savory ingredients sounds strange, but the end result is fantastic. It tastes similar to a ginger cake. Pen Patat is a must-try for everyone with a sweet craving.

20. Diri Shela, Poul Fri

Diri Shela, Poul Fri
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Diri Shela, Poul Fri

Every country seems to have its own form of fried chicken. Diri shela poul fri is the finest fried chicken dish in Haiti, consisting of excellent, lime-coated fried chicken eaten with white rice. Poul fri is a traditional Haitian dish and an excellent source of protein.

The flavor is also unsurpassed, thanks to the chicken being bathed in lime, vinegar, and a unique marinade. Traditionally, poul fri is marinated with cloves, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, and thyme.

Everyone has their own secret adaption, and you get some unusual ingredients like leeks and citrus.

21. Fresco

Fresco
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Fresco

Fresco is another Haitian sweet delicacy. A fresco is just a cup of shaved ice that has been heavily seasoned with your preferred flavor base.

Instead of tackling a smaller Haitian dish, take a break from larger dishes like fried pork and fried rice meals. It’s simple to make a fresco by pouring flavored syrup over shaved ice.

As a customary touch, the ice is generally covered with toasted peanuts. We recommend sticking to the original recipe and replicating this aspect. On a sunny day, a fresco is the ideal Haitian dish.

22. Marinad

Marinad
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Marinad

Marinad is a type of fritter that is deep-fried and crispy after being quickly fried in hot oil. A smooth, delicious filling lies hidden inside. Outside is a thin, crunchy batter shell.

The actual filling is not a single option. It can range from chicken to fish. Instead, the marinade is the distinguishing feature of this Haitian meal, and much care is used to prepare the right batter.

Herbs are usually combined with flour and water to give the Marinad a kick.

23. Lalo

Lalo
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Lalo

If you are a vegan, you may have had difficulty following this guide. But don’t worry; Lalo is a delectable vegan-friendly stew fashioned from jute leaves and spinach.

It’s a hearty, nutrient-dense Haitian cuisine high in iron, protein, and vitamins. The most traditional method of cooking lalo is to sautĂ© garlic and onions before introducing a broth with additional ingredients like tomato paste, and lemon juice, peppers.

Of course, crab or beef are excellent possibilities for individuals who are not vegan and are looking for meat substitutes for this dish.

24. Sos Pwa Nan

Sos Pwa Nan
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Sos Pwa Nan

Sos pwa nan is a typical Haitian dish that consists of a thick black or red bean sauce with floating dumplings.

The inclusion of beans makes this Haitian food one of the most protein-rich meal options, and coconut milk is usually added to the bean puree for a sweeter taste. Expect additional flavorings such as herbs and garlic.

One of the tastiest options in this Haitian food guide is sos pwa nan. The dumplings are also a nice touch to the dish.

25. Tchaka

Tchaka
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Tchaka

Tchaka is a delicious Creole meal associated with Haitian Voodoo. The stew dish is sacrificed for the religion’s Ioa. As a result, Tchaka is strongly associated with festivities and religious festivals. Cornmeal, pumpkin, beans, and hog meat make up the stew.

Tchaka is usually strongly salted and smoked, which lends flavor to the dish. In Haitian Vodou, Ioa is a spirit, and Tchaka is used to worship the Ioa of harvest and agriculture, which is appropriate considering its contents.

Summary

Haitian cuisine offers a captivating blend of flavors and cultural influences that make it a unique and cherished culinary experience.

From the iconic Griyo and aromatic Diri ak Djon Djon to the comforting Soup Joumou and spicy Pikliz, these 25 top Haitian food showcase the rich diversity and deliciousness of Haitian food culture.

Trying these dishes will undoubtedly transport you to the heart of Haiti’s culinary traditions.