Haitian Cuisine

Haiti is a Caribbean country located on the island of Hispaniola. Its history and people are steeped in diversity, independence and resourcefulness, so much so that these qualities and virtues trickle down to every detail in their lives—most importantly, their cuisine.

History of Haitian Food

Pre-colonial Haitian cuisine was similar to its neighbors in the Caribbean and Latin America, but also takes inspiration from Africa and Taíno natives. The prime example of food from this era is barbecue—derived from the Spanish word barbacoa, meaning “framework of sticks”—referring to the array of metal sticks used to cook the meat.

Haiti was colonized by Spaniards in 1492, then the French in 1625, until the successful Haitian Revolution that ended in 1804. The impact on Haitian cuisine was significant. The flavor and simplicity of Haitian food remained intact, but the cooking techniques were influenced by Spanish and French cuisine. The European colonists also brought with them food and cash crops such as oranges, sugarcane, coffee, rice, and cacao, and these crops became well-integrated into Haitian food and agricultural industry.

Haitian cuisine, in summation, draws its charm from a distinct, balanced mix of simplicity and sophistication.

Haitian Agriculture

Haiti is primarily an agricultural country, but although the industry employs 66% of the working population, resources are scarce and weather conditions are harsh. The Haitian landscape is mountainous, and the farmable land is only 25% of the country’s total land surface. Haiti is also prone to soil erosion, floods, droughts, and other natural disasters.

Domestic agriculture only provides 46% of the nation’s food requirements. In most countries, what cannot be provided for by crops is compensated for by livestock; however, animal agriculture and livestock took a hit during the 2010 earthquake and have struggled to thrive in the subsequent conditions. As a result, Haiti imports 88% of its food from neighboring countries such as the Dominican Republic and the United States. Despite this, more than 38% of the population struggles with food insecurity, and 25% of the Haitian children are malnourished.

Today, Haitian farmers are lobbying for domestic and international support and pushing for agricultural reform. Meanwhile, many Haitians have adapted. Scarcity has shaped the way they eat; they have learned to live with and subsist on very little. Because of this, most Haitian farmers focus on cultivating food staples such as maize, bananas, plantains, rice, and beans. The simplicity of these ingredients reflects the simplicity of their food, and it is particularly evident in their popular dishes.

Food Favorites

  1. Haitian Pâté or Haitian patty is characterized by the flaky crust of the pastry puffs, contrasted by the spicy, lively flavor of the filling. It is often stuffed with beef or chicken. Modern Haitian adaptations of this traditional food substitute meat for vegetables or fish.
  2. Bannann Peze is a popular Haitian appetizer made with green plantains. It is prepared by flattening plantain slices and frying them; the result is a hearty golden-brown dish, often served with fried meat slices.
  3. Diri Djon Djon, a regional delicacy most commonly found in the northern region of Haiti, is a native dish made with rice and black mushrooms, seasoned liberally with select Haitian spices. The black mushrooms give the dish its black color and distinct aroma.
  4. Poule en Sauce, or Haitian stewed chicken, flaunts the island’s resourcefulness. This chicken dish has plenty of variations, adapted by each region to make use of the available harvest. What remains constant is the signature slow browning of the meat, achieved by patience and technique, and the end result is an exotic, flavorful dish.
  5. Haiti, as an island, offers an array of seafood options. One of its seafood delicacies is lambi or conch. It can be prepared in various ways—fried, stewed, barbecued, or sautéed. Lambi is seasoned with citrus juice, Haitian herbs and spices, and served with sautéed red peppers, green peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
  6. Salade de Betteraves (beetroot salad) made its way to American cuisine and trended as a superfood, but it finds its humble roots in Haiti. The beet’s vibrant color and earthy taste, combined with the heartiness of potatoes, the coolness of mint, and the contrast of lemon juice, make it an attractive, delicious, and nutritious delicacy.
  7. Another of Haiti’s signature dishes is pork griot. This meat-based dish is widely considered (and understandably so) the national dish of Haiti. It is prepared by marinating pork cubes in a spicy-sour mixture, then frying with bell peppers, onions, parsley, and thyme. The dish is often served with beans, rice, bannann peze, or pikliz.
  8. Pikliz is a condiment or side dish made from shredded cabbage flavored with carrots, Scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, vinegar, salt, and pepper. It often accompanies every Haitian meal because its strong flavor embellishes rice and beans, and balances the oiliness of meat dishes.

Haiti is a tropical country, and its drink options often include tropical fruit juices and alcoholic drinks. An especially noteworthy alcoholic drink is Rhum Barbancourt, a type of rum made from sugarcane, best served with ice and lime. The robust domestic production of sugarcane, combined with the company’s extraordinary formulation, makes Rhum Barbancourt a USD$20 million per year industry. Another example of Haitian beverage is its homegrown Prestige beer, an award-winning American-style lager, brewed and bottled in Haiti and exported to the United States and Canada.

“You are what you eat.” Perhaps there is some truth to the old cliché. Not in the direct, straightforward sense that you become what you eat, but in the idea that the food the land gives you and what you choose to make from it defines you. Haitians had a bad start and their luck hasn’t improved; a series of misfortunes—uncooperative climate and geography, the European colonization, and the 2010 earthquake—forced them to make bad starts over and over, but start again, they did.

From a Westerner’s perspective, Haitian cuisine seems visually plain. It doesn’t have the finesse of the French, nor does it have the minimalism of the Japanese. Food as an art form is a luxury that Haiti cannot afford, but the food in Haiti serves something so easy to digest—an appropriate testament to its people. At the first glance, it is simple enough that it borders on gastronomically pedestrian, but at the first taste, it is exotic, bold, and packs a punch.

Ten years after the 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti!

Again, Haiti faces another devastating crisis as a 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook the country’s southern end on August 14, 2021. The southern area is not as populated as the country’s capital that suffered the shattering earthquake in 2010 that killed over 220,000 souls and displaced more than 300,000 people.
H3Missions, Inc. was founded by a group of compassionate individuals who wanted to respond to the 2010 crisis. Led by Nyron McLean, the team headed for Haiti to help with supplies and medical needs and have continued their efforts for over ten years.
Unfortunately, when the pandemic swept the earth, worldwide nonprofits were forced to suspend mission trips. However, our friends in Haiti need us more than ever now as they search for loved ones beneath the rubble of another devastating blow to the country.  
H3Missions, Inc. has joined Haiti One to help as their team coordinates assistance and supplies sent to the country. To streamline their efforts, Haiti One has a GoFundMe account set up to help Hospital Bernard Mevs & Project Medshare assist those affected by the devastation.
That link is here: https://gofund.me/bed0179b.
Markenley Chery, one of H3Missions, Inc.’s partners in Haiti is assembling a team to head to Les Cayes and surrounding areas to assist where and as needed.
At this time, we will coordinate with Haiti One to support all efforts by making sure our team on the ground can assist with supplies and services. Would you please help us streamline these efforts by donating to Haiti One at the above link to help the people of Haiti during these trying times? 


At the level of Economic and Financial Infrastructures, the municipality is quite well equipped. There are several hotels, restaurants, two credit unions, and two marketing co-operative centers. Market days: Saturdays.

Arcahaie is also known for Plantain production. It is estimated that 60% of the agricultural land in Arcahaie is devoted to the production of the tastiest plantains in Haiti. Many springs water the territory of the commune, which also receives the waters of the White River, rivers Courjol, Torcelle, Bretelles, and those which take the name of the rural sections.  

On the side of religion, ninety-six temples (chapels included) were listed in the municipality of Arcahaie. 20 Catholic churches including three parishes and seventeen chapels, five Baptist churches, and five Adventist churches for the most important were inventoried in the town.

Information provided by: haiti.fandom.com/wiki/Arcahaie


Saint-Louis-du-Nord (Haitian CreoleSen Lwi dinò) is a commune in the Saint-Louis-du-Nord Arrondissement, in the Nord-Ouest department of Haiti. It has 69,592 inhabitants.

Information provided by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Louis-du-Nord


St. Marc is a large port town surrounded by mountains. At all times, there are many boats in the port, typically sail boats. The town was first settled in 1716, then located in the French colony of Saint-Domingue.[1]

The town is located on flat land close to the sea but its edges extend into the foothills. From these vantage points, the ocean is sometimes viewable. The city has a few park spaces, including Place Cite Nissage Saget. These parks are often surrounded by vendors with carts full of goods.

Local residents enjoy the rich culture of St. Marc and it is considered a safe place to live. About 60% of the population lives in the communal section, meaning outside of town. As a result, they are beyond its infrastructure and lack drainage systems, electricity and potable water.

Information provided by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Marc

Port de paix

During the Amerindian period this area was called “Xarama” by the Taïno people. The area around the town was given the name “Valparaíso” by Christopher Columbus after landing here in the late evening of December 6, 1492, and today still contains many attractive beaches and cave locations. A ferry operates between the town and Tortuga island, (La Tortue), called “Gusaeni Cahini” by the Taïnos, which is situated just across the water.

The town was founded in 1665 by French filibusters, driven from Tortuga Island by the British occupiers. In 1676 the capital of the French Colony of Saint-Domingue was moved from Tortuga to Port-de-Paix, and it remained the seat of government until 1711 when the capital was moved to Cap-Français. In 1676, Padrejean escaped from slavery in the Port. In 1679 the town saw the first black slave revolt. The area saw great success during the 18th century but on February 27, 1903 the town was almost entirely destroyed by fire, and never attained its former status.

Information provided by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port-de-Paix


Montrouis is a coastal communal section in Haiti, located in the department of Artibonite,[1] south of Saint-Marc. Montrouis is one of the most important beach tourism destinations in Haiti, with several well renowned hotels and resorts, including the Moulin-sur-Mer. The town is located on the Côtes-des-Arcadins, one of Haiti’s longest stretches of pure white sand beaches. It is also an exceptional place for sailing and fishing.

Information provided by


Deschapelles (Haitian Creole: Dechpel) is a town in the Verrettes commune, in the Artibonite department of Haiti. It is located approximately 54 km north of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and has 4 to 5000 inhabitants Approximately. Deschapelles is where the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti is located.

Information provided by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deschapelles

Croix Des Bouquets

Croix-des-Bouquets is a northern suburb in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. Haiti is world-famous for its exuberant art, richly influenced by nature, history and religion, both Christian and Vodou. The entire village of Croix des Bouquets is a good example of Haitian creativity – it resonates with the sounds of clanging and banging of the mallets and chisels in the process of transforming raw metal into stunning, and often haunting, iron sculptures. The city of Croix-des-Bouquets is on the Plaine du Cul-de-Sac, where many people grow organic foods such as beans, sweet potato, and corn.

On March 22, 1792, the city was the scene of one of the first battles of the Haitian Revolution.

Prior to the 12 January 2010 earthquake, the once crowded city had been restored. The streets had been cleaned up, wholesale merchants and other commerce had been relocated to Port-au-Prince. Retail commerce which once crowded sidewalks downtown now had a dedicated building.

Information provided by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croix-des-Bouquets
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