A taste of Haiti in New Orleans. Haitian-American Charly Pierre moved from Boston six months ago and New Orleans immediately felt familiar because he says the food was like what he grew up eating.
“Instead of red beans and rice, we do black beans and rice,” Pierre said. “Eighty to 90 percent is the same exact thing.” Pierre along with Eva Chereches, who also moved from Boston, recently opened Fritai at the St. Roch Market to share Haitian cooking with their new home.
Haitian food, Pierre said, uses cuts, like pork shoulder, that used to be less desirably. Plantains, mirlitons and citrus are common ingredients. And the main condiment is pikliz (pronounced “PICK-lees”), a blend of cabbage, carrots, onions, bell peppers and scotch bonnet peppers. Food does not go to waste in the Haitian kitchen. Pierre, for example, braises his pork shoulder before frying it. Then he uses the pork braising liquid as the stock for his red rice.
“We utilize everything. Literally we do 5 percent waste,” he said. “That’s the same mentality in Haiti.”
One thing about Fritai is not completely authentic: the spiciness. On a scale of 1 to ten, Pierre estimates that food in Haiti would merit a 7 for heat. His food at St. Roch Market would measure a 3 for heat. For now.
Fritai Haitian Street Food at St. Roch Market: 2381 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans