There are a lot of things to love about Haiti; one of them is the food. If you’re not excited about griot, bannann peze, piklèz, and fritay – you’re probably in the minority (and maybe even the wrong place!)
Pointing to food as a favorite experience among travelers is a bit clichéd, but it makes sense; in a new country where cultural differences can leave you feeling a bit adrift, food on the table is an invitation for everyone to come together.
The good news for all of you returning from Haiti is that you might just find some of that delicious Caribbean flavor popping up in locations closer than expected. (Like we did!)
Boston, New York, Miami – these are hot spots for the Haitian Diaspora, so you’re likely to find any number of great Haitian restaurants (We’re open to recommendations, comment below!) But what about in a place like Greensboro, NC?
King Queen Haitian Cuisine is about 45 minutes away from us, or an hour, depending on where they are for the day (They’re a food truck, so they move around!) But 45 minutes is a small price to pay for the promise of authentic griot and piklèz, and it’s definitely a lot closer than Miami, New York, or Boston! So this past Saturday we grabbed some friends, hopped in the car, and made a trip out of it.
100% worth it.
But of course, this doesn’t all just come down to the tasty food they served up. It’s more about finding something we share, and building community around it. For us, it’s kreyòl, it’s an interest in Haitian culture, an opportunity to connect with the Haitian community where we live, and yes, of course it’s also about delicious food.
Talking with DJ (the sister of the brother-sister King Queen team) she’s very much of the same mind. To her, King Queen Haitian Cuisine is much more than a food truck – it’s a chance to make the Haitian community visible within this new community, to teach people about her childhood home in Borgne, Haiti, and to gather people together; food just happens to be a natural catalyst and adhesive.
In short, we’re thrilled that King Queen Haitian Cuisine’s here, and we’ll be going back soon.
P.S. We’d love to put Haitian Cuisine on the map for more members of our community, but we need your help. (Like a real map, if you’ll send us suggestions we’ll make it!)
Where do you go to get your fix of piklèz, griot, fritay, diri, tassot, lambi, and bannann peze? Send us the name of the restaurant and the city you’re in!
by Erin Nguyen on August 27, 2015