To a lot of us, culture provides a sense of identity. It has its own unique definition and meaning to each and every one of us. A lot of cultures are shaped and represented through their food, dances, traditions, monuments and more. This article will touch upon the food that is just authentic, unique and just screams Haitian culture. 

1. Griot

Top Haitian dish to try, that screams Haitian, is Griot. I have to start with the #1, of course, and that is definitely griot. Whenever one says the word 'Haitian', the first thing that usually comes to mind is a famous expression “Sak Pase, nap boule” (translated as: What's going on, we're just hanging out). On a side note, most Haitians don’t use it in conversations anymore. The next thing that comes to mind when one hears the word 'Haitian' is this beautiful dish griot. Griot is basically fried pork. But it’s the way that it’s made is what differentiates it from the traditional fried pork. It doesn’t taste smoky and it's not like bacon or anything of that sort. The tender meat is cut into small pieces and is fried on a skillet, having a traditional sauce added to it. The cooked meat is added to either rice, beans, fried plantain or any other side dish. Usually, griot is being cooked alongside with pepper, parsley, thyme, rosemary, lime and orange. Here is the great website that offers an amazing recipe for this dish.

2. Diri djon djon 

Now we are transitioning the next, the most popular dish in the whole country. Rice and different kinds of beans are the based for many dishes and they are probably the most popular food in the whole country. A great example of these dishes is diri djon djon, which can be translated as black mushrooms rice. The ingredients for this dish include rice, vegetable oil, garlic, thyme, ground black pepper, salt, butter, green scotch, onions, green peas and whole cloves. The black mushroom is boiled in water, which darkens the water. The same water is used to cook the rice in. That would also turn the rice black. Along with the color, the water will flavor the rice, making the mushroom taste even more prominent. All you need to do is to add some sauce to the rice to make it pop. Griot is very likely to be the best fit for this type of rice but some people love to add fried chicken legs to the ricey dish. Everything Haitian has a great Riz Djon-Djon

recipe on their website.

3. Diri ak Sos Pwa

The next dish is similar to Riz Djon-Djon but it differs in terms of the beans this dish can be cooked with. it is called Diri ak Sos Pwa. The kind of rice would not matter much. The different types of beans (red, white, black and green) is what makes this dish so unique. The beans are not mixed together, they only present you with different options you can chose from when trying to prepare this meal. it also differs from family to family. For example, white rice was considered the Sunday meal, it was special to my family. On other days we would usually eat macaroni or other common side dishes. Black beans are the most common kind of beans but we would switch to red beans (which were my favorite) and only from time to time we would cook with green beans. You might ask me, why does this dish scream Haitian? Well, that’s because you might not know the translation of this dish. The rice is diri and the red beans - pwa kole, the green - congo , the white ones - pwa blan and the black beans - pwa nwa. This dish is certainly ones the most popular ones in the whole country.

4. Bouyon Bef

Other must-try dish is Bouyon Bef, which is also usually called Haitian soup with beef. The soup is made of plantains, boy or bullion, flour, potatoes, carrots, green beans, watercress and various spices. Suzon Spice provides a full recipe on their site. Think about that hearty beef soup, it does sound delicious, doesn’t it? Best believe that when a Haitian wife or mother makes this soup, everyone will be licking their plates till there’s nothing left. 

5. Mayi moulen ak sos pwa

The last dish on the list is something you can get familiar by reading my  previous article. But this dish is different. It is called Mayi moulen ak sos pwa, also known as Cornmeal, prepared with different beans. Indeed, it can be served with additional side of beans but it is also absolutely delicious just by itself. Just like rice, it can be mixed with red, green, black and white beans. Mash them together, add cornmeal, garlic, butter and spices and you get heaven on earth. I promise, it's that good. Love For Haitian Food offers some great recipes on how to make variations of mayi moulen ak sos pwa.

The next time that you visit Haiti or when you are in a mood to try some food at a Haitian restaurant, keep these dishes in mind as you will not be disappointed. As always, Bon Appétit!