GARIFUNA: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HONDURAS’ POPULAR FUSION CUISINE
From banana-heavy dishes to seafood galore, it’s obvious that the Honduran cuisine is no stranger to tasty ingredients. However, when you are traveling to Roatan, your options go way beyond a simple baleada or a bowl of sopa de caracol. The island is also home to the Garifuna cuisine, a fusion cuisine that loves all things coconut and draws on flavors of Africa, Europe, and the neighboring Caribbean countries. So, if you are ready to take your Roatan vacay to a whole new level, indulging in the coziness and exotic flair of the Garifuna cuisine feels like a no-brainer. It doesn’t hurt that this unique fusion fare is packed with flavors either. #IslandFoodRocks
A Nation Within A Nation
Descendants of several European, African and Caribbean tribes, the Garifunas are heavily influenced by a variety of ethnicities. That means that they had no choice but to incorporate the best of all worlds into their culture and create their own, unique identity which is worlds apart from anything we’ve seen so far. So, even though the majority of these Afro-Latin descents refer to Honduras as their home, the country’s cuisine has little to do with the way they prep, cook and enjoy their food.
Going Coconut-ty or Bananas?
;If there’s one way to describe the Garifuna cuisine, that is “coconut with everything.” The Afro-Latin Hondurans are huge fans of the exotic fruit, and they make sure they use every bit of it, from the water to the milk to the oil – which, by the way, they produce themselves. So, chances are you’ll find this delicious fruit lurking in most of their dishes, even in seafood soups. And before you let your cringe face set in, we’re here to tell you that this combo is downright delish.
The Garifuna people also have a thing for bananas and their not-so-distant cousins, plantains. In most cases, they add them to their meals in the form of puree (hello, machuca!) or serve them as a side dish, usually fried. While it may seem like an odd ingredient to resort to, both bananas and plantains add a much-needed sweetness to the mix, helping the Garifuna cuisine strike a perfect balance between salty/sour and sweet. Yum!
A Cassava Nation
An emblematic ingredient of the Afro-Latin cuisine, cassava is featured in many traditional Garifuna dishes. The starchy root thrives in tropical climates which is why it’s widely cultivated in Honduras. Once harvested, the Garifuna women turn cassava into a fine powder -or better yet, flour- with the use of a large cylindrical woven bag known as ruguma. Having it available in a flour-like consistency makes it easy for these women to incorporate it into a variety of dishes such as bread and stews. Some of the most popular cassava-based dishes include the ereba (a.k.a. cassava bread), tapou which is a fish/banana/root vegetable stew, and cassava porridge.
4 Garifuna Dishes You Can’t Afford to Miss
Knowing about all the delicious foods that make up the Garifuna cuisine is one thing. But, getting to taste the actual thing is where the money’s at. If you need some of the Garifuna culinary magic in your life, these four dishes are just the thing to get you started.
Related to the African fufu, hudutu is a creamy fish, coconut, and plantain stew. What makes this dish unique is the fact that the fish is fried, adding to the dish’s final texture. The soup features a variety of delicious ingredients such as lime, adobo seasoning, lime, and basil.
2. Ariran Guisou (Chicken Stew)
If you want to give fish a break, this chicken stew is going to hit just the spot. Sporting a spicy-sweet taste, this dish is infused with various flavorful ingredients, from lime juice and garlic to turmeric and cumin.
Made with fried fish, root vegetables, and green bananas, this Garifuna stew is a must-try for every adventurous foodie. The dish also contains lots of garlic and a crimson achiote paste, so you know you’re in for a unique experience.
4. Cassava Pudding
Satisfy your sweet tooth Garifuna-style with this cassava-based baked pudding which consists of coconut milk, grated cassava, ginger, nutmeg, brown sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla. You know, all the dessert basics.
Ever treated your taste buds with the delicacies of the Garifuna cuisine? If so, share your experience and/or photos with us in the comment section down below!