Yon ti fritay souple
A la tifi ka manje marinad! I would get from my closest neighbor in Haiti each time he would see me with my little brown bag filled with marinad. Man, he was so right. Every evening I had a little rendez-vous with my favorite street vendor right on the corner of my house.
In my time (I swear I am not that old) there were plenty of fritay vendors. The word refers to this group of fried food offered mainly at night. Some vendors will also double as machann chen janbe as we commonly refer to food cooked on the streets. There were many rumors about street food: the goat meat was rumored to be dog meat and many rats may have lost their lives in the boiling pots of mixed veggies. I didn’t care much. My motto like most Haitians was if you don’t see it, it didn’t happen.
A typical fritay vendor will have fried goat (tassot cabrit) or fried beef (tassot bef), fried pork (griot), fried crab or farmed fish from Miami (pwason Mayami), pisket (fried white bait), marinad (salty beignets), akra (fried malanga). Fried (yes, the frying continues) sweet poptatoes, green and sweet plantains, and breadfruit As you may realize fritay is not diet friendly.
The piece de resistance in a fritay is the pikliz a mix of thinly cut cabbage, habanero peppers, onions, lime juice, vinegar and salt. Some people add tomoatoes and sweet peppers for color. It resemble coleslaw or sauerkraut but taste way more better. Fritay and pikliz are like Cocotte ak Figaro. One cannot go without the other. The road to Kenscoff has one of the best vendors but they can be very pricey.
These days I am shocked to see what’s fritay means: no seafood, the meat is replaced by hot dogs, salami and steroid-packed chicken from the Dominican Republic and the US. When you find meat it is so expensive that it is not even worth buying it. And sanitary conditions on the streets got to a point where people really don’t want to risk their lives for a piece of fried goat.
I tried googling “Fritay vendors” and I have no idea why I get pictures of president Martelly and earthquake. Such bad press on Haiti. Like we do not exist outside of politics and misery. So you guys will have to wait for pictures. Makes me think I need to organized my long overdue Fritay Party…
Picture from the last fritay party I organized in Haiti (Breadfruit bottom, Akra on top in the black pan)