Friday, January 27, 2012

Manje Ayisyen (Haitan Food)

Found on Haiti Tourism inc's Facebook Page
Haitian food. You’ve had it. Or you’ve heard of it. Our food is no doubt the tastiest of this region.

Let’s elaborate: 
When a country’s taste buds and cuisine has been influenced by the likes of French, African, Spanish and Amerindian delights, it’s natural for its food to be so scrumptious and unique. Throughout our history, several foreign countries occupied our island, and introduced food and ideas from their native lands, many of which significantly affected the menus we modern Haitians eat. A true melting pot indeed. 

Though Haitian food is often grouped together with other Caribbean lands as "Caribbean cuisine", our country maintains exceptional and unique flavors. From endemic ingredients to distinctive recipes, Zagat or the Michelin guide would surely have fun sampling and rating our local restaurants and dishes. Ever had a good Bouillon cooked with the goat's head, simmered pork knees, Rum green pea pigeon, or Di Ri Djondjon ? The latter is one of our many specifically native dishes to Haiti. Diri djondjon is “black mushroom flavored rice”. It requires the juice from an endemic black mushrooms call Djon Djon, a locally grown fungi used to color the rice black. Trust us, it’s delicious, like rice with attitude. 

Some other truly Haitian dishes include TonmTonm ak Calalou, which consists of a bread fruit puree accompanied by seasoned okra; Finish that off with a pain patate desert, a sweetened potato, fig, and banana pudding (add some condensed milk to it)...and voilà! Make sure you have a good Rhum Barbancourt around to complement as a digestive and call it a feast fit for a king. 

There are a myriad of other dishes, and so we strongly suggest you buy yourself one of the great Haitian cooking books available in local libraries. May we suggest "My Favorite Recipes" by Marie-Denise Célestin

Ah! We started salivating at the idea of the food we’ve listed so far, but this blog wouldn’t be complete if we didn't list the following: Riz et Pois National (rice and kidney beans much like the Cuban dish), Mayi moulen (cornmeal mush), pikliz (spicy pickled carrots and cabbage), Bannann peze (fried plantains, similar to bananas), tasso (deep-fried beef), griot (fried pork), etc, etc...

If you haven’t had a chance to sample our cuisine, we can recommend a few places in Haiti and abroad to get a feel of what you've been missing:

In Haiti, try La Coquille: a very clean buffet style restaurant right in the heart of Petion-Ville.

In Miami, try TapTap: a typical Haitian a-la-carte menu. We recommend the poisson gwosèl.

In New York City, try Krik KrakKrik Krak's dishes are full of flavors that are marinaded with celestial Haitian spices that will leave a smile on your face.   

Once you’ve had our food, you will open up your buds to our land and magic. Tasting our chow makes your understand our culture. Food for soul and satisfaction guaranteed.

Do you have a favorite Haitian flavored restaurant? In Montreal, Canada? In Washington DC? In Paris, France? In Atlanta? Wherever you are located. Share them all with us. Comment below. :)

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