Haitian cuisine

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Isabelle Fassinou

Haitian cuisine

Post by Isabelle Fassinou » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:15 am

Haitian cuisine
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Haitian cuisine is a mixture of various cuisines, of a similar nature with fellow Latin American countries. It employs similar techniques with the rest of the Caribbean with influences from French, Spanish, and African cuisines, and a few derivatives from native Taino cooking. Haitian cuisine uses vegetables and meats extensively and peppers and similar herbs are often employed for strengthening flavor. In the country, however, many businesses of foreign origin have been established introducing several foreign cuisines into the mainstream culture. Years of adaptation have led to these cuisines (Levantine, for example) to merge into Haitian cuisine.

Rice and beans in several differing ways are eaten throughout the country regardless of location becoming a sort of national dish. It is a staple meal consisting of a lot of starch and high in carbohydrates. In the more rural areas however, great distances from the major cities, other foods are eaten to a larger degree such as 'mayi moulen'; a dish comparable to cornmeal that can be eaten with 'sos pwa' (a sauce consisting of blended beans), fish, or alone depending on personal preference. Tomato, oregano, cabbage, avocado, kidney beans (along with many other varieties of beans), red and green are several of the many types of vegetables/fruits that are used in dishes. Banane Pézé', flattened plantain slices that are fried in oil is what is known as tostones in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and are very popular in Haiti as both a snack food and as part of a meal. They are frequently eaten with "tasso" and/or "griot", which is cooked beef and pork respectively.

Mangé Kréyol
Mangé Kréyol (Haitian Creole) is what is essentially known as criollo cooking (criollo meaning "creole") in other countries. This encompasses most of what is regularly cooked in Haiti involving the extensive use of herbs, and unlike the similar but different methods in Cuban cooking, the use of peppers. A typical dish would probably be a plate of du riz cole a sos, which is brown rice with red kidney beans or pinto beans glazed with a marinade as a sauce and topped off with red snapper for fish with tomatoes and onions. The dish might even be accompanied by bouillon, a soup consisting of many spices, potatoes, tomatoes, and beef.

Rice is occasionally eaten with beans by itself, but more often than not, some sort of meat is put with the meal. Chicken or poule is frequently eaten along with goat meat (cabrit) and beef (boeuf). Chicken is often boiled in its own specially made marinade consisting of lemon juice, black pepper, cumin, garlic and other seasonings. The mixture along with water is boiled with the chicken in it to give the cooked chicken the unique taste it has.

Beer is often drunk at festivals, parties, and occasionally with a meal. The most praised as well as the most widely drunk brand of beer in Haiti is Prestige, a very popular mild lager with a taste similar to many commercialized beers such as Budweiser and Miller Light. The beer has a light and crisp yet mildly sweet taste with a vague yet strong flavor reminiscent of several American-style beers because of the nice balance of malt and hops.

Haiti is also known for its rum international-wise in which one has risen to great popularity. The most known is Haiti is the well-praised Rhum Barbancourt, the nation's most famous alcholic drink in terms of international standards and considered one of the best in the Western Hemisphere. It is unique in that the breweries use sugarcane juice directly instead of molasses like other types of rum. The rum is marketed in approximately 20 countries and uses a process of distillation similar to the process used to produce cognac. The liquory creamed drink called Cremas is also drunk in Haiti. It is a popular beverage usually consumed as part of dessert or simply by itself.

Juice is a popular drink in Haiti due to the tropical climate the people live in. Juices of many fruits are made and can be found everywhere. Guava juice, grapefruit juice, mango juice, along with the juices of several other citrus fruits (oranges etc.). Juice is the de facto beverage to accompany regular meals in households. Malta is also a popular non-alcoholic drink consisting of unfermented barley with molasses added for flavor. In more urban areas of the nation, the people enjoy Americanized drinks such as an array of soft drinks, in which Coca Cola dominates all other local soft drinks. Milkshakes are also drunk regularly.

Many types of desserts are eaten in Haiti ranging from the mildly to the extremely sweet. Sugarcane is used frequently in the makings of these desserts however granulated sugar is also used often. One very popular dessert that can be whipped up rather quick is fresco. Fresco is a similar to an Italian Ice however it consists primarily of fruit syrup. The syrup is moderately thick and very sweet and vendors on the street regularly sell them. The sweet smell of the candy-tasting snack often attracts honeybees and a common sight to see on the streets is a hurried vendor handing out frescos surrounded by a swirl of bees. Pain Patate is a soft sweetbread made using cinammon, evaporated milk, and sweet potato. It is usually served cold from the refrigerator but it can be eaten at room temperature. Akasant is a thick milkshake with a consistency similar to that of porridge (another popular dessert made with green bananas). It is made using many of the same ingredients as Pain Patate consisting of evaporated milk, sugar, and corn flour. It is good-tasting and goes with one of the country's best appetizers, Patés, or meat patties with a crispy bread crust for the outer layer.

List of some Haitian dishes

'Diri ak Pwa' Rice and beans
'Mayi Moulen' Cornmeal
'Tasso et Banane Pézé' (Fried Beef and Plantains)
'Diri ak Poule' (Rice with Chicken)
'Diri ak Légumes' (Rice with Légumes, a vegetable mixture)
'Diri Colé ak Sos Pwa' (Rice with bean sauce)
'Diri Blan ak Sos Pwa Noir' (White rice and black bean sauce)
'Kanard Fri' (Fried duck)
'Kabrit' (goat meat)
'Chokolat La Kaye' (homemade cocoa)
'Diri Djon Djon' (Rice in black mushroom sauce)
'Griyo' (Fried boar/pork

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