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April 16, 2013

A Guide To Haitian Cuisine In Miami

Take a pot over a hot stove and try to come up with the next gastronomical breakthrough; a fusion of various ingredients, cooking techniques and cuisines. A challenge not many are ready to undertake. Well if you were to combine say the cooking styles of Africa, Spain, France and the Taíno people the result would be Manje Kreyòl, or Haitian food. Hailing from a recipe of years of colonization, trade and other historical context Haitian cuisine is as intricate as its past. Seamlessly the cuisine weaves in its multicultural influences creating a variety of recipes filled with brilliant spices, hearty stews, flavorful broths and of course seafood set upon a bed of du riz a pois or rice and beans. Rice and beans is a common staple of most tropical islands, including Haiti’s western neighbor Cuba. Just as Cuba’s succulent fare made it to the shores of Miami, Haitian cuisine is the new wave of Caribbean flare attracting Miami foodies. If you think your palate is ready to be rocked by tropical spices and foreign peppers here is a list of some of the best Haitian restaurants in Miami.

haitian cuisine

Chez Le Bebe

Located in non-other than Little Haiti itself Chez Le Bebe is famous for their griot (fried pork chunks). With an authentic dive feel the service can be unpredictable but the quality of food is always consistent. The menu is short but full of flavor. The local restaurant has been in business for nearly 30 years, with that kind of track record and clientele that is predominantly Haitian they are obviously doing Manje Kreyòl justice.

114 NE 54th St Miami Fl, 33137

New Piman Bouk

Named after a famous Haitian DJ this restaurant is as authentic as it’s namesake. When you arrive at New Piman Bouk you better be hungry because the portions are large! Order some fried fish and be prepared to get a portion swimming in butter and flopping off of the plate. With good service and a lot of homegrown appeal this is a must try for any foodie seeking Haitian cuisine. My recommendation: Poisson frit en sauce et banane, or fried fish with a banana sauce.

5932 NE 2nd Ave Miami, Fl 33137

Chef Creole

So popular that is has expanded to include several locations and frequented by celebrities like Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade, Chef Creole will not disappoint. Owned by master chef “Ken” Sejour Wilkinson, whose speciality is spicy seafood this restaurant has been reviewed as “The Best Haitian Restaurant” of 2012 by Miami New Times. If you find yourself lost looking for this culinary hotspot look for a mural of a fisherman reeling in a blue marlin. Growing up in a boating culture I can’t help but order the fried conch which is only rivaled by that you can find on the islands.

200 NW 54th St Miami Fl, 33127

Naomi’s

Easy to spot with a sea of yellow taxi cabs filling the parking lot Naomi’s is reminiscent of many island eateries serving it’s customers through a take-out window. Boasting a larger menu than most of the Haitian restaurants on this list the only thing Naomi’s is missing is pork. Bursting with tradition and spices this diamond in the rough is a must visit.....but try to make it a lunch outing. Try out the legume while you’re there and enjoy some local music and even the garden if you can.

650 NW 71st Miami, Fl 33150

Tap Tap

A South Beach hole-in-the-wall this Haitian restaurant is vibrant from the exterior lime green walls to the exploding tastes of it’s signature dishes. Sip on a Haitian beer and admire the paintings on the wall or chat with the lively owner about Haitian culture.....if you don’t know what a tap tap is that would be a good starting point. Whatever you order here make sure to accompany it with a side of zepina nan sos kokoye or spinach in coconut sauce.

819 5th st Miami Beach, Fl 33139

Dadou’s Kitchen

Dadou’s has a cafe feeling with plenty of Haitian paintings decorating the walls. Dadou puts in plenty of love and tradition in her cooking as she hails from Haiti herself. Located in Kendall it has been revered as the “Best Haitian in Dade county.” Dadou has even created a fusion burger combining the best of good ol’ American taste with a true Haitian component. While you are here order any chicken dish and your stomach will be happy you did.

10860 SW 104th St Miami, FL 33176

 

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