Countries with the Most Similar Food to Haiti

Country Food Similarity Index - Map of Countries with Similar Food to Haiti

The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied. 

The Most Similar Cuisines to Haitian Food

Haitian cuisine is a unique blend of African, French, and Caribbean influences. The five countries with the most similar food are all located in tropical regions. Four of the five nations border the Caribbean Sea. A high percentage of their people live close to the ocean. In addition, these countries are predominately Christian as well.

  1. Madagascar is off the coast of Africa, but it has many fascinating parallels with Haiti. Both countries were once colonies of France. Their food is similar as well, since rice and cassava are the two biggest components of their diet. Moreover, Madagascar’s varied seafood offerings and the use of coconut in their cuisine echo Haitian cooking.
  2. Panama is another country that borders the Caribbean Sea. Both nations embrace Afro-Caribbean influences, leading to similar flavors and ingredients in their dishes. They both rely heavily on rice, beans, and plantains. They also share a love for stews with a combination of meat, vegetables, and spices.
  3. Cuba and Haiti are both located on islands in the Caribbean, so they have had a significant amount of cultural exchange. Their cuisines bear traces of African, Spanish, and indigenous influences. These countries often eat rice, beans, cassavas, bananas, and pork. Ropa Vieja, a flavorful Cuban shredded beef stew, is reminiscent of Haiti’s Griot.
  4. Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, so the Dominican Republic has a lot of culinary overlap with its neighbor. Mangú is a beloved dish in both nations. This breakfast dish consists of mashed boiled plantains seasoned with garlic, salt, and olive oil. It is typically served alongside fried cheese, salami, and eggs.
  5. Colombia is located in South America, but it borders the Caribbean Sea. Both countries emphasize the use of beans, rice, and plantains as foundational ingredients. Colombia’s famous dish, Bandeja Paisa, bears resemblance to Haiti’s Griot. However, one big difference is that potatoes are much more commonly eaten in Colombia than Haiti.

Related: The 10 Most Similar Countries to Haiti

The Least Similar Cuisines to Haitian Food

The five countries with the least similar food to the Haiti are all located in Asia. Their climates are also much drier. Four of the five are landlocked. With the exception of Mongolia, these countries are predominately Muslim. Their people tend to consume a much greater amount of wheat and potatoes than Haitians. They also have far more meat in their diet.

  1. Uzbekistan is a Central Asian country that was once part of the Soviet Union. As a result, the country’s cuisine features a mix of traditional Uzbek and Russian dishes. Grapes and apples are two of the most popular commonly consumed fruits in Uzbekistan, unlike in Haiti where bananas and mangoes are more prevalent.
  2. Tajikistan is another landlocked Central Asian country on this list. Tajik cuisine features dumplings, and the extensive use of lamb, in contrast to Haitian cuisine. The Tajik people incorporate spices such as cumin, coriander, dill, and parsley, which are not nearly as common in Haitian food.
  3. Mongolia is the most sparsely populated country. Its cold, dry climate makes it difficult to grow crops. As a result, the country relies on animal husbandry for a large portion of its food. Mongolians tend to eat much more meat from sheep, and goats than Haitians. They also eat more dairy products, especially yogurt.
  4. Turkmenistan is extremely similar to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Wheat, tomatoes, and lamb are key components of Turkmen cuisine. The former USSR nation’s culinary traditions reflect the rich nomadic heritage of the Turkmen people, with an emphasis on hearty and filling meals.
  5. Syria is the only country on this list that is not landlocked. Syria has a much more arid climate than Haiti, so their farms produce drastically different crops. Syrians tend to eat a lot of oranges, lemons, watermelons, and apples, while people in Haiti tend to eat more bananas and mangos.

Related: The 10 Least Similar Countries to Haiti

Full Food Similarity Ranking of Countries and Territories

Haiti’s Most Common Food Ingredients

Protein: Chicken, Beef
Fruit: Banana, Mango
Vegetable: Avocado, Cow pea
Starch: Rice, Cassava

Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.

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