Top 25 Foods in Suriname – Most Popular Dishes in Suriname w/ Recipes
Stunningly beautiful, the tropical nation of Suriname is one of the smallest countries in South America. Suriname is an incredible 94% green, dominated by tropical rainforest. Admired for its multicultural population, Suriname has diverse cultures and lifestyles. It possesses a rich food culture based on its varied heritage.
Food is an integral part of Surinamese culture. Because of the different ethnic groups, Suriname has a variety of delicacies each one can call their own. The indigenous peoples, Creoles, Indians, Chinese, and Javanese, produce the most varied and delicious cuisine.
So, without further ado, let’s round up the most tasty & popular foods in Suriname.
1. Moksi Alesi (Mixed rice)
In addition to being delicious, Moksi Alesi has a fascinating history. During slavery, this food was created by enslaved people who used leftovers of chicken, meat, dried fish, beans, vegetables, and anything else they could find, with rice as a base.
Nowadays, it’s a dish you will find at most parties, gatherings, or on any occasion. Moksi Alesi is mostly topped off with plantain, oven-roasted or baked chicken, and garter, a local green bean. This mixed rice is the perfect dish for every occasion.
2. Podosiri (Acai Juice/Pudding)
Famous among the Maroons, this traditional delicacy has made its way throughout Suriname. Made from the juice from the acai fruit, which is found only in the South American rainforest, the podosiri is neither juice nor pudding because it has a very different consistency from them both.
Podosiri can be eaten with a variety of dried foods. The most usual are cassava bread, rice, and plain bread.
3. Grietbana Soep Met Tomtom (Grated Plantain Soup with Tomtom)
Also known as the Surinamese love soup. Grietbana soep with tomtom is one of many and contains root vegetables, green plantains, dried fish, salted meat, and coconut milk.
The tomtom in the soup is made of grated plantain and cassava mixed together until it looks like a mushy dough. Small portions of this dough are spooned into the soup while cooking. It is a taste that takes you back to your childhood and is one of the many mouthwatering and nutritious soups of Creole cuisine.
This is another of Suriname’s excellent soups and comes from the Maroons. For Afingie, grated bitter cassava is left to dry, filtered, and finally smashed by hand into little grains called poc-poc.
A luscious soup is then prepared with meat or fish, and the poc-poc is added. Once the flavors have had time to meld together, you’re ready to dig in!
It is said that Afingie is most satisfying when made with wild meat and eaten with pepper. If you are into hot soup, I recommend trying this out. As an added bonus, it’s also considered one of the world’s most effective hangover cures.
5. Heri Heri
Suppose you are traveling in Suriname and looking for healthy, tasty food. In that case, you must not miss this extraordinary traditional dish. Like the Moksi Alesi, this is a meal the enslaved people created to boost their energy and get them through the day.
Today, it has evolved into a sumptuous dish served in all the top restaurants in Suriname.
Heri heri consists of cassava, green banana, sweet potatoes, and eggs. All of these are boiled and then placed together. Everything is topped off with salted, shredded fish. This completes the basic heri heri recipe: rich in flavor and a dish that sparks up your energy.
Roti is a popular Indian dish. Indian immigrants came to live and work in Suriname in 1873, bringing with them their own culture and food.
Roti is made with flour and filled with potato or yellow peas. It is rolled out into circles and baked on a special flat pan. It’s typically served with chicken or duck in curry sauce, potato curry, and vegetables on the side. In restaurants, you’ll find that garter and pumpkin are popular ingredients, but eggplant also partners well with roti.
This bread is easy to find because there are many fine Indian restaurants in Suriname.
Another dish popular in Indian restaurants is the famous and very tasty snack called bara. The main ingredients are urdi, flour, and spinach, which are mixed into a dough and then deep fried in hot oil. For even more taste, add some chicken or chicken liver. For the best bara experience you need chutney.
There are many different kinds and they can be quite hot. The most popular are potato chutney and green mango chutney.
This triangle-shaped snack not only looks delicious, but it tastes even better. Samosa is one of many indian snacks, which has steadily gained popularity throughout Suriname. Just one bite, and you know you’ll need more. Samosas are perfect for every occasion, as snacks and appetizers.
Samosas are made with a pastry of plain butter and flour. The filling is most important. It consists of mashed potatoes, peas, celery, curry spices, and green paprika. This is cooked before being wrapped in characteristic small triangular parcels and deep-fried in boiling oil. Best served with hot ketchup on the side.
9. Ghughri (Baked Chickpeas)
Ghughri or channa is a great peppery snack to nibble on, and it’s straightforward to make. The chickpeas are baked with pepper and spices for a delicious taste.
Combining baked peas with spices is pure creativity, bringing out a splendid flavor that makes this simple snack one of the most famous in Suriname.
You cannot visit an Indian party or wedding in Suriname and not feast on this delicious snack. Yellow peas, cumin seed, pepper, garlic, and onion are blended and mixed with water to make the phulauri dough.
The phulauri is further rolled into marble-sized pieces and fried in boiling oil. These delicious balls are only complete with some hot ketchup or flaming hot potato chutney.
11. Javaanse Bami (Javanese Noodles)
This is one of the most popular dishes in Suriname. It came from the Javanese people, who emigrated to Suriname in the 1890s, bringing their cultural delicacies.
Before assembling this dish, the noodles are immersed in boiling water to soften them. After rinsing, they’re baked with soy sauce and various spices. Then, before serving, the plate of delicious noodles is topped off with some baked chicken and vegetables on the side. To make it even better, peanut sauce is drizzled on top.
This particular noodle dish is absolutely delicious and cannot be passed up if you visit Suriname.
12. Bakabana (Fried Plantain in Batter)
This is a popular snack also rooted in Javanese culture. The bakabana, as we call it, is ripe plantain, sliced, covered in a sweet batter, and fried in hot oil. It is served with peanut sauce drizzled on top.
Eating bakabana has been described as having a sweet party in your mouth, so don’t miss any chance to try it!
Editor’s Note: Fried foods ranging from bananas to tempeh remain a Javanese and Indonesian street food staple.
13. Saoto Soup
This mouthwatering soup is one of the most famous traditional Javanese chicken soups in Suriname. You can find it at every warung (Javanese restaurant) across the country. This soup is a mix of chicken filet and herbs. The chicken is boiled in water, shredded, and then baked with sliced potato and vermicelli. The herbs are cooked together with all the necessary spices.
When the soup is done, the chicken, potato, and vermicelli mixture is added to the soup along with salam leaves, allspice, and laos. You can add rice, boiled egg, dry baked potato fries, and soy sprouts for extra toppings.
When everything is combined, it becomes a masterpiece representing a creative mixture of cultures, flavors, and creativity. Saoto soup is a particular must-have during chilly weather.
14. Saté (Kabob)
Saté is a delicious Indonesian snack and street food. The kabob can be made from various types of meat, such as chicken, beef, pork, and even crocodile! This dish is a simple preparation of meat marinated in soy sauce, skewered on a stick, and grilled until ready to eat.
This popular snack is sold at warungs (Javanese restaurants) and served at BBQs. If you are a meat lover, this is especially for you.
15. Nasi Goreng (Javanese Fried Rice)
Everyone in Suriname loves this South-East Asian fried rice! Nasi goreng is a delicious rice-based dish fried in soy sauce with shrimp paste which is hugely popular in Indonesia and Malaysia. Other ingredients vary, including vegetables, boneless chicken, pork, or beef.
It is a dish made in almost every household, whatever their cultural background. It is the perfect party food as well as a family staple because it’s easy and affordable. And delicious!
16. Pepre Watra (Chilli Soup)
Long before the arrival of slavery and immigrants, Suriname was inhabited by indigenous peoples enjoying their way of life and their own, locally-sourced foods. Wild meat, fish, and root vegetables were dietary staples as they survived by hunting, fishing, and agriculture.
This specific soup is made with cassava water, fish, and peppers. It is delicious and can be eaten with rice or cassava bread.
17. Cassave Brood (Cassava Bread)
Cassava bread is a dry bread made of bitter cassava. It is mainly used as a side dish for soups, turning every one into a joyful meal.
Grated bitter cassava is first left to dry in the sun, then baked in a pan without oil and left in the sun again to make it extra brittle. When soaked, it becomes soft again, making it a perfect combination with soup.
So if you are a soup lover visiting Suriname, add cassava bread to your must-taste list!
Bojo is a Surinamese cake made from grated cassava and coconut. To make it even more delicious, the dough is mixed with raisins and, when baked, topped with sprinkles.
This cake is sweet, soft, and spongy. It makes a great dessert, mostly on special occasions such as birthdays and other celebrations. When you visit Suriname, this is a dessert you should try.
From the early 1600s, Jews came to Suriname, bringing their traditional cuisine with them. Pom is one of the most famous Jewish foods in Suriname. Originally pom was made with potatoes and chicken. However, potatoes don’t grow in Suriname because of the tropical environment, so they use a root vegetable called pomtayer instead.
That is how the traditional pom became the dish that we have come to know and love.
This oven-baked dish can be eaten with bread or rice, which helps it be enough for everyone to dig in and eat until they’re full. But in restaurants, pom is typically served with rice, vegetables, plantain, and chicken. It’s also a festive dish served at most gatherings as a combo with kip pastei – coming up next…
20. Kip Pastei (Surinamese Chicken Pot Pie)
The ultimate Surinamese pie is none other than the pastei. It’s an exquisite side dish that you’ll find served at every party, wedding, and family gathering.
A puff pastry crust covers a delicious filling of peas, baby carrots, shredded chicken, and corn baked in a tomato sauce and well seasoned. Before putting on the top crust, slices of hard-boiled egg are layered over the filling. The pie is baked in the oven till it’s golden brown.
After it cools a little, it is ready to enjoy!
21. Bruine Bonen Soup (Brown Bean Soup)
Here’s another iconic Surinamese dish. Bruine bonen is a multicultural dish and is loved across the country. There is no better dish suitable for every occasion than bruine bonen.
It’s made with meat ( chicken, pork, beef, or wild meat cooked separately), and beans and is usually served with rice.
22. Gele Erwten Soep (Yellow Pea Soup)
Another splendid Surinamese soup. As yellow as the bright sunshine, this soup is a shining star amongst the other stars of the nation’s cuisine. Much like bruine bonen, the peas are boiled to soften them.
The meat (preferably salted beef, chicken, or pork) is cooked first, then the peas and water are added and finally topped off with spices. The soup is simmered long enough for those mouthwatering flavors to meld, then served to the eager diners.
23. Tjauw Min (Chinese Noodles)
Pronounced chow min, this traditional Chinese dish was introduced to Surinamese society between 1858 and 1875 by the wave of Chinese immigrants. This tasty dish has become one of Suriname’s best and most popular meals.
Tjauw min is made with boiled, then fried tjau min noodles mixed with baked egg and chapsoi (a vegetable also known as chok boi). What makes tjauw min so unique is the meat added to the dish. You can choose either chicken or pork or even use both. It’s cut into small pieces and mixed in with the noodles.
Almost every block in every Surinamese city has a Chinese restaurant where you can sample this dish, so when you’re visiting – don’t miss out!
24. Chinese Fried Rice
Another Chinese delicacy is the delicious Chinese fried rice. It’s prepared almost the same way as tjauw min, the only difference being the use of rice instead of noodles. So, if you are not a noodle person, you must try fried rice; both options taste equally fantastic.
The rice is baked together with all the fragrant spices and meat chunks. I recommend trying both these Chinese dishes a few times, so you can decide which one you prefer!
Teloh is a very well-loved dish amongst the Javanese. A simple yet remarkable meal that will satisfy your hunger, it consists of fried cassava sticks served with spiced trie (little fishes) or bakkeljauw (salted fish), and topped off with ketchup, peanut sauce, and soy sauce.
The idea of mixing cassava with trie or bakkeljauw was inspired as Teloh is a simple but satisfying dish.
Most Surinamese dishes are made from local fruit and vegetables from the rainforest. While every dish has its own cultural origins, a surprising fusion of cultures has led to the development of a rich and delicious cuisine.
It is, for example, not unusual to find traditional Indian dishes at a Creole party. It demonstrates how delicious and diverse culinary fare contributes to the unity of society.
Did you find your favorite Surinamese dishes on the list? Which ones would you love to try? Share your feedback below because we love to hear from our community of readers!
Related: 25 Most Popular Caribbean Foods
Featured image of moksi alesi courtesy of Allakondre catering.