Food has always been the commodity in my life that has helped me acquire knowledge about another person’s culture. I have always witnessed the sense of pride from others and within myself to talk about our cultural food platters. There is that strong sense of connection when you realize that the person can describe their identical mouthwatering experience from that delicious dish of food.
Every bite that I have taken here makes me miss my mother’s cooking and reminds me of Vietnamese dishes. Since France colonized both Haiti and Vietnam, I have been able to compare the French influence on food from these two countries. The food here is so significant to me, because throughout this trip I have reminisced about my childhood due to the plethora of similarities. It has been rewarding for me to be able to relate to the food that we eat here to what I grew up eating.
I never had preconceived notions about what Haitian food would be like, but the dishes that we get here are so delicious that it made me regret not taking photos when I came last spring.
Growing up, I did not eat the most popular “American” style breakfast. It would be on very rare occasions that I would have bacon, sausages, plain eggs, or waffles for breakfast. Then when I came to Haiti and our amazing chef made these flavorful eggs, I felt immediately at home. In my Vietnamese household, my parents would add more ingredients and condiments into the breakfast eggs to make it savory. We are also served coffee, passion fruit juice, and a variety of fruits.
The next meaningful moment that overwhelmed me with exhilaration was when a very generous farmer from Mourne Michel offered us sugarcane. Mourne Michel is one of the hikes that is personally most difficult for me, but carrying that 10-pound sugarcane stick down those range of mountains was the highlight of my hike. I carried a small piece in my other hand enjoying the juice dripping down my chin.
Food has been the constant topic that has allowed me to share my memories, comparisons of the food, and relay information about my own culture with my peers. Despite the language barrier and nationality differences, I am so glad that I have been able to find reminders of home here.