Top Dishes To Try At A Haitian Restaurant
Haitian cuisine is not nearly as common in the U.S. as other international cuisines such as Italian and Chinese. However, every once in a while, you come across a Haitian restaurant. When you do, definitely step inside and take a seat. There are so many delicious Haitian dishes to explore, and these are a few of your top choices.
Pate in Haiti is quite different from pate in any other country. It's not a spread made from ground meat. Rather, it is a puff pastry stuffed with various fillings. The pastry is traditionally made with lard, so it has an old-fashioned appeal. The filling is made from ground meat or fish, mixed with a unique blend of spices. In the spring, codfish is often used for a lighter pate, and in the winter, it's common to see a mixture of pork and beef. You eat pate with your fingers as a light lunch or snack.
Diri ak Djon Djon
In spite of the complicated name, this dish is pretty simple. It is a stir-fried mixture of black rice and a special kind of mushroom known as Djon Djon. The mushrooms are soaked in water to create a rich, black liquid that the rice is then cooked in. Some restaurants may add peas or beans to the dish too. The flavor simply comes from a few stock cubes, in most cases, although higher-end restaurants will make their own rich stock to flavor the dish.
If you enjoy seafood, then you should definitely order lambi. It's the prized meat of the queen conch, a seafood not often seen in other cuisines. Conch takes some talent to prepare. It is naturally tough, but once tenderized through a special cracking process, it becomes tender and delicious. Lambi is often grilled and seasoned with lime and spices. In the winter, it is sometimes stewed. Both creations are well worth trying.
This thick, rich soup made from pumpkins, cabbage, carrots, and plantains will really fill you up. Most restaurants add some braised beef for richness, along with pasta tossed in at the last minute so it does not get overly soft. Joumou soup traces back to an era during the 1800s, prior to Haitian Independence, when only the wealthy were allowed to eat pumpkin — so it is considered quite a delicacy.
If you visit a Haitian restaurant, such as Fritai, start off by ordering one of the dishes above. Each one is unique and tells you something a little more about Haitian cuisine.