The Haitian gastronomy is known as Haitian Creole, or simply “creole,” a word referring to the French and Spanish elements adopted by the culture. In addition to European influences, authentic Haitian cuisine showcases African and Middle Eastern culinary styles. These are evident in the bold and spicy flavors. Creole also derives inspiration from neighboring Caribbean and South American countries. Seafood, beef, and poultry are always present in these hearty meals with which every Miamian should be familiarized.
Fried Conch With Creole Tartar Sauce and Pikliz
Surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, it is no surprise that the peninsula’s diet contains many Seafood dishes, of which the most delicious is undoubtedly fried conch. These crispy nuggets of sea snail are served with Pikliz, a Haitian dipping sauce of spicy pickled vegetables, including cabbage, carrots, onion, and peppers. Fried conch is a finger food that can be ordered at Chef Creole. This Little Haiti gem is Miami’s most popular restaurant for Haitian Creole.
Chef Creole 200 NW 54th St., Miami.
Shrimp in Creole Sauce and Boiled Yucca
Another seafood favorite is shrimp in creole sauce. Served in a bowl with a broth-style sauce containing onion and red bell peppers, this is a spicy dish best enjoyed with kidney bean rice and boiled yucca. Yucca is a starchy vegetable popular in Caribbean cuisine. Fried yucca is a crunchy alternative to the moist boiled version. At Tap Tap, South Beach’s top creole restaurant, the shrimp can also be ordered with a sweet coconut sauce.
Tap Tap 819 5th St., Miami Beach
Griot and Pikliz With Rice and Beans
Griot is fried pork, one of the most in demand creole dishes in Miami. In Little Haiti, Chez Le Bebe restaurant is known for their griot and pikliz. The griot is crunchy and savory, while the pikliz adds a sweet and spicy kick to the pork. Almost every Hatian dish will be accompanied by a little pikliz. For a side, enjoy this scrumptious plate with rice and beans and “banane frites”, or fried green plantains.
Chez Le Bebe 114 NE 54th St., Little Haiti
Kidney Bean Rice With Stewed Beef and Fried Sweet Plantains
This is probably the most traditional Haitian dish one can find in Miami. Creole-style stewed beef is absolutely delectable. The beef is cooked for hours and served in its own savory broth with bones and all. Kidney bean rice, an Afro-Caribbean specialty, is red beans with rice, but the rice is cooked with the beans. It sponges the bean soup and turns a reddish color, leaving the beans soft, but dry. In creole fashion, the kidney beans and rice are made spicy. This is pleasantly off set by the fried sweet plantains that are made with very ripe plantains to ensure maximum sweetness.
Naomi’s 650 NW 71st St., Miami
Poisson Frit En Sauce
Poisson frit en sauce is fried fish with creole sauce. The breading is quite different from other common styles of bread crumbs like southern, Japanese tempura, and Italian. This spicy fish fillet is thin and very soft on the inside, with a crisp exterior. At New Piman Bouk, order this creole favorite served with a banana.
New Piman Bouk 5932 NE 2nd Ave., Miami
Poulet or Lambi With Kidney Bean Rice
Poulet is stewed chicken, while lambi is stewed conch. The fried version of conch is a yummy finger food, but try the stew for a classic creole dinner that is hearty and satisfying. At Leela’s Restaurant, the poulet and lambi are both mouth watering. Order with kidney bean rice and your favorite version of plantains. Kidney bean rice is a frequent side dish, and it is often served in large portions equal to that of the meat.
Leela’s Restaurant 5650 NE 2nd Ave., Miami
Fritay is a divine array of fried finger foods. Often, one can create his own combination. At Macillon Grio, the tassot cabrit, or fried goat is succulent and full of flavor. The sweet plantains or fried green plantains are also excellent choices. No Haitian meal is ever complete without plantains. Do not forget to dip everything in the pikliz, the spicy sauce that goes with everything in Creole cuisine.
Macillon Grio Fish and Chicken 1026 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach