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Tassot. Kasav. Queue de Boeuf. If those words don’t make your mouth water, then you’re not living
in Miami. With a rising rate of migration, readers shouldn’t be surprised if some Haitian creations
soon become as commonplace as a media noche.
T E X T BY RYAN JAR R ELL
T here are an estimated 197,000 Haitian immigrants making their
lives anew in South Florida, and with this influx of people comes
a torrent of delectable dishes sure to permanently color Miami’s
culinary identity. Haitian cuisine, like its trademark hearty stews, is
a rich and daunting blend of French, African, Spanish and aboriginal
influence, all simmered together into a succulent whole. While you
should be sure to sample such staples as Sos Pwa Na (a velvety puree
of black beans, coconut milk, cloves and scotch bonnet peppers) and
Accra (malanga fritters sometimes undercut with cod or herring),
Haitian food offers a wide variety of fare sure to satiate any niche diner.
While Griyo (a slow-roasted, citrus-marinated pork shoulder fried to
perfection) and Bouyon Tet Kabrit (goat bullion) are sure to captivate
any carnivorous lachanophobe (a peson who fears vegetables), those
most enamored with the fruits of the sea should seek such dishes as
Lambi (a conch stew seasoned with sour orange and garlic) or Pwasan
Non Sos (a fish dish complemented by an interested combination of
lime and thyme). Viciously vexed by meat-eating? Riz Djon-Djon or the
ubiquitous Legume both hit all the necessary notes a meatless meal
needs! After such a whirlwind tour of tastes, what dessert works best
to palliate our overworked palate? Try Pain Patate, a winsome cake of
cinnamon, evaporated milk and sweet potato served chilled.
Tasty Haitian Eats
Piman Bouk: Utterly unpretentious and mouthwatering to the
last morsel, the no-frills interior of this place belies the complexity
of taste and savour provided by each plate. Home of mammoth
proportions and reasonable prices, try their breakfast platters
that redefine the word “hearty”; 5932 NE 2nd Ave., Little Haiti.
Chez Madame John’s: Cash only. A chalk menu board. Long
lines. While these might be deal-breakers for some, those in-the-know
recognize that what waits at the end is some of the finest ethnic
food available for the culinarily adventurous. A must-try is their Griot,
marinated the night before and fried to-order, well complemented by
their zesty Pikliz; 975 NE 25th St., North Miami.
Naomi’s Garden: Although not strictly Haitian, this
Caribbean eatery offers some amazing island staples wrapped in
a whimsically painted edifice that would make any Wynwoodite
weep. Recently reopened, active in their area and a cornerstone
of the community, check their calendar for fantastic live music
events and more; 650 NW 71st St., El Portal.