Guilty pleasure! The street food of Haïti

It’s sundown in a cool summer breeze, surrounded by palm trees. Family and friends gathered on the porch playing dominos and telling jokes, awaiting their order of “FRITAY”! This is the life in Haiti. Fritay, is fried food. Every corner has a merchant selling their best plate of fried goodness. The choices are endless!, with fried pork shoulders, goat, plantains, fritters, patties and many more. The street vendors are open for business, Oh yum! I had a chance to experience that life in New York at NAO Caribbean Flavors, a Haitian food truck selling just that, the street food of Haiti.

Fried food is our comfort and guilty pleasure, well for me at least. Starting with the griot platter (also spelled griyo, pronounced GREE-oh). It is a plate of fried pork, plantains and fritters, Salivating! Oh, I forget the side salad (smh). The meat is marinated in a seasoning consist of parsley, scallions, bell peppers, scotch bonnet chiles, garlic, cloves, thyme, and citrus juice. It is slowly braised, then fried. Do you want to know the results? Oh my GOD… crispy outside and moist, tender inside. The plantains are twice fried and the fritters–AKRA! (my favorite!) are made with malanga a.k.a taro, seasoned, grated root vegetables (see, I eat my veggies). In the condiment, Pikliz, a cabbage slaw preserved in vinegar and seasoned with scotch bonnet chiles. In Haiti, Pikliz is served with any fried food to cut down the richness.
Let’s talk about the patty “Pate”. Not the classic patty you get at the restaurant, but the street food version “Pate Kòdé”. A puff pastry with savory filling, the dough is made with flour and of course lard or shortening, and the filling is spiced ground beef or chicken. Deep Fried! mouth watering deliciousness.

Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean and first Black nation to gain independence,

yet many people don’t know about its food and culture. The food drew influences from French, African, and Arawak/Taino Indians. Since gaining independence from France, French influence has remained evident in the Haitian culture. Compare to other Caribbean islands, Haiti’s cuisine has a unique flavor, full of herbs and peppers. I may be bias for my country, but you can’t knock it until you try it!

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2 thoughts on “Guilty pleasure! The street food of Haïti

  1. This is great! I never knew that there are Haitian food trucks around here. I love your description of the food… it makes me very hungry! I will definitely try them out and I am looking forward to more blogs!!

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