Fritay is a Haitian Creole word that means “fried foods.” Many Haitian meals and ingredients are fried before they’re served to people. Haitians fry everything from meat to bananas and potatoes. They also mix fried foods with spices and other delicious vegetable-based ingredients.
Haitian fritay has been influenced by African cultures and French culture throughout the years. The French, of course, had previously settled and colonized the country before they were drawn out during the Haitian Revolution. However, their influence over Haitian cuisine has made fritay what it is today.
Fritay is not just one particular type of fried food either. If you order Haitian fritay in a restaurant, you would be given an assortment of different fried foods. It often comes in a combination platter, which gives you the opportunity to try out the best fried foods of Haiti.
You can also find Haitian fritay for sale by street vendors. Some Haitian families make their living by selling Haitian fritay on the streets. They’ll set up their booths in public areas of the cities, with the hopes of catching the attention of tourists. Fritay can make a great snack as well as a great meal.
Below are the top six fried foods found in Haitian fritay.
1) Griot and Epis
The simplest way to describe griot is “fried pork nuggets.” They are often prepared so that they’ll taste spicy and salty at the same time. People love salty and spicy foods in Haiti, and griot is no exception. It is also marinated in a special green seasoning called epis.
Tassot refers to fried cubed pieces of beef or goat meat. Before the meat is fried, the pieces are marinated in lemon juice, onions, and orange juice, to give them a truly tropical flavor. Next, the meat is fried thoroughly until the color turns brown and the texture becomes crispy. People will often eat rice, beans and fried plantains along with it. Tassot goes great with a spicy sauce called “ti malice.”
3) Banan Peze
Banan peze is a unique plantain dish, where the plantains are sliced into chunks and then flattened from a pressing process. After that, the pieces are double-fried to give them an extra golden-brown color to them. If you like fried banana, then you should love banan peze. You can find it on almost any fritay platter in Haiti.
Saucisse is the French word for sausage. Haiti loves to fry their sausage links to make them extra crispy and juicy. Saucisse can be eaten alone or served with other meals, such as Haitian Spaghetti. You could even westernize the saucisse by preparing them with eggs and plantains.
Fritters is another way to describe something that is fried, usually with dough or cornmeal. Haitians like to make fritters out of fish and plant-based foods, such as malanga and codfish. Salt and marinade are used to enhance the flavor of the fritters, which come out extra crunchy in the end.
6) Chicken Drumsticks
Sometimes the classics are the best. Fried chicken drumsticks are appetizing throughout any time of the day. You can eat them as a snack, lunch meal or dinner meal. Some people even eat them for breakfast too. Haitians prepare their chicken drumsticks with some light cornstarch and fried to the point where they are crispy on the outside while tender on the inside. Vinegar and other seasoning might be applied too.
The Best Side Dish for Fritay
The number one side dish for fritay is pikliz. It is a spicy pickled dish that contains scotch bonnet peppers, onions, carrots, and cabbage. You can put the pikliz on any fritay meal and it will taste so much more flavorful. If you visit a Haitian restaurant and request Haitian fritay, you will likely see a side of pikliz to go along with it.