Archive for the ‘Cultural Arts’ Category

Pabellón criollo

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I think I’ve made it obvious that I’m not a big fan of Venezuelan cuisine. But, from time to time I do like to eat the national dish – pabellón criollo. The dish consists of white rice, black beans, shredded beef or chicken, and sliced sweet plantains.

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There are other variations of the dish – sometimes they put a fried egg right in the middle – but, my personal favorite is with sliced avocadoes. I think the trick is finding a place that prepares it with a lot of flavor and is willing to make slight adjustments based on your preferences. According to some Venezuelans, you cannot say you’ve visited here without trying this dish Sabelotodo

How we eat

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

I’m always the first to complain about people’s stereotypes regarding Haitian culture. I hate it when people say “you don’t look Haitian” or “you speak very well ‘for a Haitian’”. I realized that I’m so irritated by these comments that I miss an opportunity to teach others about what makes my culture so great. Better late than never, right? First lesson: how we eat.

Haitians (in general) eat three meals a day with very little snacking in between. Breakfast is usually something pretty heavy like eggs and boiled plantains or even spaghetti. Kids often have a lighter dish like bread and café au lait (yes, we drink coffee as children) or hot chocolate. The picture below is smoked herring (chiktay in Creole) which is sautéed with onions and hot peppers (we mostly use Scotch bonnet). You can eat this with bread or boiled plantains. I like it so much I can eat it throughout the day as a snack with crackers.

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Lunch is a pretty heavy meal, as well. Most dishes will consist of rice and beans in some form and meat. Some people also like to include a vegetable such as yuca, plantains or bread fruit. The dish below is red beans and rice, fried pork and plantains. Fried pork (griyo in Creole) is a very common dish sold by street vendors all over Haiti. It sounds easy to make, but there’s a trick used to prepare it that makes it nearly impossible to replicate at home. I think it has to do with the cut of the meat and the spices used.

griot, banane peze, diri kole.

Dinner is usually the lightest meal of the day. In my neck of the woods, we never really ate any rice or meat after 6 PM. It’s very common to have a porridge like the one pictured below made from grated plantains (you seeing a theme here) with some toast. Or, we sometimes had hot chocolate with a baguette. I must note that Haitian cuisine is very versatile in terms of porridges which can also be made from yuca, millet, and cornmeal.

Banana Porridge (Haitian Style)

This is of course a brief explanation and there’s a whole lot more to Haitian cuisine. Don’t worry, I plan on sharing more in the future Guiño; especially the many uses of some of the vegetables I mentioned here. Any fellow Haitians who eat/ate differently at home, please feel free to share.

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