Haitian Cuisine
A Mélange of Cultures

Haitian Cuisine is similar to Cuban food and Dominican Republic food, her two neighbors to the west and the east, but with a high influence of France. Haiti is located on the western third of the Island of Hispaniola. The other two thirds are where Dominican Republic is located.

A delicious buffet table of Haitian Food

A delicious buffet table of Haitian Food

Manje Kreyòl

This is the name given to the Haitian Food in their language which is a derivation of French. Its food originates from the many cultures that have dominated this picturesque country; The Taino Indians that lived here before the Discovery, Black Africa, French, Spanish and a mix of all of them that makes the Creole Cuisine.

Though their food is similar to the one from the other Caribbean Islands, it is different in the use of herbs, peppers and many of the condiments. Here are a few of the main dishes of this cuisine.

Diri Kole ak Pwa is the typical Rice and Beans of Haiti

Diri Kole ak Pwa is the typical Rice and Beans of Haiti

It means rice and beans, so typical to Haitian foods and the whole region. It is actually brown rice with pinto or red beans very marinated and topped with onions and tomatoes.

It is usually served sometimes with bouillon (bouyon) which is known in neighboring Santo Domingo as Sancocho, a mix of many vegetables and species. Rice is sometimes served with beans only but most of the time it’s served with some kind of meat mainly chicken called poul.

They prepare the chicken by boiling it in a mix of sour orange, pepper, lemon and many other seasonings, and then friend until crispy.

A mouthwatering Tchaka an Haitian typical stew

A mouthwatering Tchaka an Haitian typical stew

This is another type of Haitian stew cooked with hominy, beans, and meat, usually pork. I have heard that Tchaka is sometimes used in Voodoo rituals.


This is a thick mix of vegetables including eggplant, cabbage, spinach, chayote and many more; this flavored with garlic, onions, tomato paste and cooked with either crab or meat. This dish is usually served with rice, which may be substituted by batata, polenta, wheat or any other starch.


Strange as it seems, is often served as a breakfast dish. It is cooked with hot dog, herring, raw watercress and mixed with many species.

Haitian Cuisine

Akra malanga fritters

Akra malanga fritters 

Some of the most popular appetizers are:

  • Pate – meat of cod pastries

  • Akra – malanga fritters served very crispy Banann pese made of banana

  • Marinad are fried dough ballsGriyo is fried pork or other fried meat.

  • Pikliz consists of cabbage, carrot, vinegar, scotch bonnet pepper, and spices.

Haitian Tonmtonm made of breadfruit

Haitian Tonmtonm made of breadfruit of the Haitian Cuisine

It is a regional dish from the area of Jérémie in the south. It is steamed breadfruit mashed in a pilon, simil;ar to the West Africa dish called Fufu. This food is marinated by a sauce and eaten with any meat.

Poul ak nwa

This comes from the town of Cap Hatien in the north and is simply chicken cooked with cashew nuts.


Yes, this is the Kibbeh you see in Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East. The immigrants from these countries introduced it to the Haitian Food.


It is a combination sauce of many ingredients, such as onions, pepper, garlic, thyme and parsley used as a condiment for chicken and other meats.

Delicious Rum Bread made with Rhum Barbancourt

Delicious Rum Bread made with Rhum Barbancourt

Haitian Desserts

  • Haitian Rum Raisin Bread Pudding is a traditional brioche bread pudding with raisins soaked in Barbancourt , topped with hot rum caramel sauce and a whipped cream rosette.

  • Fresco is similar to an Italian Ice made with fruit syrup and it is very sweet.

  • Pen Patat is sweet bread made of sweet potato, evaporated milk and cinnamon. I compare it to the Cuban “Boniatillo”

  • Akasan is a thick corn milkshake similar to the former Pen Patat but made with corn.

Haitian Rhum Barbancourt

Haitian Rhum Barbancourt

Haitian Cuisine Beverages


It is very popular in Haiti and their main brand is Prestige. It is very similar to those known in America and Europe and it is usually drunk at parties and festivals and occasionally with a meal.

Rum is a popular beverage among Haitians. The main brand of this country is the world renowned Rhum Barbancourt, which is one of the nation’s most important export items. It is made directly from sugar cane and is distilled with the same techniques as the cognac.


This is a popular drink mainly taken as dessert with a typical sweet taste. It is creamy alcoholic beverage native to Haiti made from coconut sweetened with condensed milk and rum. It is now marketed in the United States as Dorobe. I have tasted it and it tastes like our Puerto Rican “Coquito”


Also called Kleren is a popular drink distilled from molasses. It has a high proof of alcohol, at least 100 to 120 proof and when over-distilled can rise to 150 to 190 proof.

I am sure I opened your appetite with the delicious Haitian Cuisine.

For more information visit Haiti Official Tourism Website

images for haitian food
courtesy of wikimedia commons

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