Haiti is situated on the western part of the Carribean island of Hispaniola. Because of it's coastal location, it has had various colonizations. Starting in 1492, Cristopher Columbus discovered the Carribean island for the first time, settling with the Spanish for a good 25 years. This explains why the island was originally called Hispaniola (Little Spain). Afterward, in the early 17th century the French settled in some portions of Hispaniola as well, and in 1967 they were offered the Haitian portion from Spain. The French colony imported many African slaves into the island to care for their vast sugar cane crops, therefore, this is how Haiti obtained its African, Spanish and French culinary influences.
While the African cuisine offers exotic cuisine styles, the Spanish influence offers the spice and the French influence offers refined recipes, creating a pretty unique cuisine that will certaintly entertain the visitor. When African, Spanish and French cuisines mix, the local produce will supply various ingredients to work with. Haiti's coastal position offers plenty of seafood such as lobster, fishmeat and shrimp. Fruit-wise tropical fruits abund such as bananas, guava, mango, pineapple, coconuts, melons and breadfruit.
Breadfruit may sound like something peculiar for tourists. It is a native tree of the western Pacific islands which produces a large tasty fruit. It is very versatile and used in fruit salads and desserts.
As a tourist, expect Haitian food to be moderately spicy, not too mild yet not too hot.
While most of us are used to fast food restaurants and ready to eat foods, the Haitians invest a large amount of time cooking. Slow cooking is vital to assure proper conservation of vitamins and minerals and at the same time allow the flavors to flow. Many meals are slow cooked wrapped in banana or plantain leaves for up to 3-4 hours. Coals are often used to further allow slow cooking and this is accomplished by placing them in a hollow area...