Ready for your next culinary adventure? We’re taking you to South America to explore Suriname, a small yet diverse country on the continent’s northeastern coast, and the birthplace of our very own Home Chef Julia.
So, what makes Surinamese cuisine one of a kind?
- The cuisine reflects the country’s rich multicultural background.
While the largest ethnic group in Suriname is East Indian – this includes people from India, Indonesia, and Nepal – the largest group of people is the Afro-Surinamese, including Creoles and Marons
.European immigrants (mainly Dutch, English, French, and Spanish), as well as Chinese immigrants, brought with them their own traditional recipes that over time fused with those of Suriname’s indigenous people, the Arawak and the Carib. Smaller immigrant groups in Suriname include the Portuguese and the Lebanese.
- Suriname’s wet, tropical climate gives way to incredible produce.
Despite the country’s relatively small size, it contains vast rainforests. This gives way to the abundant growth of unique root veggies, like yuca and yautia (taro) root (referred to as tayer in Suriname).
When expecting guests, Suriname natives commonly prepare Pom (full name Pomtajer), a tayer-based baked dish that also includes chicken and citrus. First introduced to the Creole people of Suriname by Portuguese Jews, Pom has a uniquely Creole-Jewish origin. Because the Portuguese potato, Pomme De Terre, is not native to Suriname, the Surinamese substitute it with Tayer.
Hungry for more? Get ready to indulge in coconut- and vanilla-infused desserts. Boyo is a sweet cake flavored with coconut and cassava (yuca), while Maizena Koek is cornstarch-based cookies flavored with vanilla. The Surinamese dessert table also includes Fiadu, a cake filled with raisins, currants, almonds, and succade (candied citrus peel).
- Basic ingredients get a fresh twist.
Tired of rice, bread, beans, chicken, and root veggies? Consider a trip to Suriname (or your nearest Surinamese restaurant). Suriname natives spice up cassava, eggplant, okra, yardlong beans, and pantry staples with Madame Jeanette Peppers, a type of chili.
Rice is mixed with salted meat, fish, or shrimp (a dish known as Moksi-Alesi); alternatively, it is served alongside peanut soup, battered fried plantain, bara, and traditional Indonesian (Javanese) Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng.
Moski Meti, which literally translates to “meat mix”, is a Chinese-Surinamese fusion dish served with rice, stir fry noodles, or bread, and veggies.
- Roti is the country’s bread of choice (and it’s served with nearly everything)
Whether you are digging into traditional Indian chicken masala or a modern fusion dish, you will likely find roti accompanying it.
- There are just as many vegetarian dishes as there are meat dishes
Due to its large Indian influence, there is an abundance of rich and comforting vegetarian dishes that – dare we say – put some meat-centric dishes to shame. Indonesian Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and Bami (stir fry noodles) can both be prepared vegetarian- or carnivore-friendly.