The most important tip I can give you on Haiti local food, and the only one that will make you elevate from being a tourist to becoming a real traveler immersed in the local culture, is “Stay away from McDonalds“. When visiting Haiti, there is awesome local food to try. Head to the local eateries too, and go where the locals go. For me, the food, wine and and even the water is part of the travel experience.
What to Eat in Haiti
Haitian cuisine is typical of Caribbean métissage, a wonderful mix of French and African sensibilities. It is similar to its Spanish Caribbean neighbors yet unique in its strong presence of spices. Roast goat called ‘kabrit’, morsels of fried pork ‘griot’, poultry with a Creole sauce ‘poulet creole’, rice with wild mushroom ‘du riz jonjon’ are all wonderful and tasty dishes.
Along the coast fish, lobster and conch are readily available. Haiti has a very fine collection of fruit including guava, pineapple, mango (Haiti’s most prized fruit), banana, melons, breadfruit, as well as mouth watering sugarcane cut and peeled to order on the streets. Restaurants in the bigger cities provide safe and delicious meals, and precautions are taken with the food and water to keep things safe. However, even in resorts with purified water, it is not always safe to assume that raw vegetables (such as lettuce and tomatoes) have been properly washed.
In smaller or more humble venues make sure to eat fruit and vegetables that can be skinned or peeled, drink bottled drinks only, make sure any ice is from a clean water source, and make sure any meat is well-cooked. When bottled water or boiled water is not available, a freshly opened coconut provides water and electrolytes with minimal health risk.
What to Drink in Haiti
The legal drinking/purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is 16. Haitian rum is well-known. ‘Barbancourt 5 star’ is a top drawer drink. ‘Clairin’ is the local firewater made from sugarcane that can be bought on the street, often flavored with various herbs that can be seen stuffed into the bottle. ‘Prestige’ is the most popular beer, and is of good quality and excellent taste.
Also be sure to try the ‘Papye’ drink, a sort of papaya milk shake that is deliciously refreshing beyond words on a hot day. Cremas is a tasty, creamy alcoholic beverage that is derived from coconut milk.
Other local foods, or drinks that you recommend? Please add and comment.