About the Food of Haiti & Honduras

This week we’re tackling Haiti and Honduras so as to build in a little vacation time later this summer.

Milot, Haiti taken from the path up to the Citadel

First up, Haiti.

I have a new neighbor. His name is Jonathan. Five minutes into our first conversation I learn that he has been to Haiti. A pretty great stroke of fortune, if you ask me – right up there with the lady from Belarus working at Dillards, the door-to-door salesman from Bulgaria, and Ava’s playmate who’s daddy has been to Ghana. Most excellent.

Well, the first Hatian dish Jonathan suggested was spaghetti with ketchup and mayo on top.

Suddenly, I wasn’t so excited. I begged him to dig deeper. The thing is, food in Haiti is really simple. Spaghetti with ketchup and mayo on top is about as typical as it gets. Other than that, street food includes basic, affordable dishes like beans and rice (a.k.a. peas n’ rice) [recipe] or plantains – fried, mashed, boiled. Jonathan states:

I remember the fried plantain fondly.  You would buy them from street vendors (well, you bought everything from street vendors) and even though it was mid-day in June and hotter than most people could imagine, for some reason those hot fried plantains always hit the spot.  Add in a cold Coke or Malt H and I was in heaven.

We’ve done a version of fried plantains on the blog before [recipe]. Near the shore they also sip Conch soup (something we made for the Bahamas [recipe]). Delicious.

Coconut milk goes in almost everything, from stews, to coconut ice cream [recipe], to blancmange – a wibbly-wobbly jello type dessert [recipe].

Up next, Honduras

Unfortunately for me, Jonathan had not traveled to Honduras, a mountainous country just across the way, over in Central America. Still, my research got me excited about the food. Plus, Honduras is home to many Mayan ruins in the west. Who doesn’t love a good ruin?

Homemade tortillas [recipe] daily fare, as are plantain turnovers [recipe] – literally plantains mashed with flour until an elastic dough forms and used to house cheese or beans. Once fried, the turnovers make a filling meal from simple ingredients.

The Jicama and the chayote are delicious vegetables found all over Honduras. The chayote makes its way into soups and stews, or – like jicama – is sliced raw for refreshing slaws/salads [recipe].

Touching the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Honduras also has an affinity for seafood. As with Haiti, the conch soup is popular with locals and tourists alike.

Photos: CIA World Factbook, André Perron


      • elisa says

        hardy har har…I am Hardly hard har…haha..Im excited for what your meal will be as well. I am so entrigued by countried like this thathave “little” over advertsing/abundance of “rich” foods…So I quess i understand what mom speaks of…these abs….I might search for them later at the gym…<3 have fun!

  1. Jessica Bennett says

    I’m really looking forward to seeing your menu for Honduras- Haiti too, but especially Honduras.

  2. I’ve been so excited for you to get to Honduras! I lived there for two years and I miss it all the time. May I suggest considering baleadas for your menu and maybe whole fried fish with red beans and coconut rice?…two of my all time favorites! I look forward to seeing what you decide on!

    • Sasha Martin says

      Caitlin – you’re so fortunate to have lived in Honduras – what an amazing experience that must have been. I cook the meal a week ahead, so unfortunately the dishes have been chosen, but hopefully you’ll love them all the same. I did make coconut rice once for Benin, in Africa. Check it out: http://globaltableadventure.com/2010/06/13/recipe-coconut-rice/ (so simple and flavorful!) Yum.

  3. When I was in Haiti I didn’t have anything (to my knowledge) with coconut milk in it. The part about plantains is definitely true and so is the spaghetti. The thing about Haitian spaghetti is that the ketchup is significantly sweeter than ours so it really isn’t too far from American spaghetti recipes, I actually like just the noodles by themself to be honest. Beans and rice is definitely the most popular dish as it is served at nearly every meal.

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