A typical Haitian meal of fried plantains, bread, beans and rice with meat. Much of the food served to Habitat volunteers was brought over from the Dominican Republic for the week. (Photo by Matt Miller)
One of the best things about international travel is sampling the food.
But we don’t get to here at an Irish-run camp where the head chef wanted to take no chances.
So this has been a crushing disappointment — until last night.
That’s when Matt and I scored an invite to a Haitian dinner!
It meant we could leave our guarded camp and walk – like free people – up the street in the pitch dark to a colorful dorm-like building with beautiful ironwork, vaulted ceiling and cool people – volunteers, etc. Plus what we were treated to next is the first pop I’ve had – Coke sweetened with sugarcane syrup.
I’m not sure what tasted better. Was it the spicy rice and brown beans with the to-die-for beef stew? The soft, chewy, wonderful bread? The fried plantains? Or… freedom?
I can report the feeling is not reciprocal about food. Just now at our worksite, I witnessed a Haitian woman unwrap what we’ve been eating for lunch all week: a hoagie bun filled with a meat or cheese salad.
She took a bite, about gagged, made a face and wrapped the foil back around it. Her friends howled with laughter.
And while I can enjoy a good tunafish (and it’s been good), let’s face it: the Haitian meal we had is tough to beat.