Local Cuisine Tips for US Citizens Traveling to Suriname

What are the signature dishes or specialties that I must try in Suriname?

1. Pom (Pom is a traditional Surinamese dish made with tayer leaves, coconut milk, and salted meat or fish).

2. Bojo (Bojo is a traditional Surinamese cake made with cassava root, coconut milk, and spices).

3. Roti (Roti is a type of flatbread that is usually served with a variety of curries).

4. Moksi-alis (Moksi-alis is a combination of rice, beans, and vegetables that can be served with fish or chicken).

5. Gado Gado (Gado Gado is a type of salad made with steamed vegetables and boiled eggs, topped with a spicy peanut sauce).

6. Pomtajer (Pomtajer is a traditional Surinamese soup made with pumpkin, okra, and shrimp).

7. Pindasoep (Pindasoep is a traditional Surinamese soup made with peanuts, chicken, and potatoes).

8. Pompoensoep (Pompoensoep is a traditional Surinamese soup made with pumpkin and coconut milk).

9. Saoto Soep (Saoto Soep is a traditional Surinamese soup made with vermicelli noodles, chicken, turmeric, and spices).

10. Sateh (Sateh is a traditional Surinamese dish consisting of grilled meat skewers served with peanut sauce).

Are there any common ingredients or spices used in Suriname that I might not be familiar with?

Common ingredients in Surinamese cuisine include cassava (manioc) and plantains, yam, okra, sweet potato, and tayer (a type of squash). Common spices used in Surinamese cooking include cumin, ginger, garlic, curry powder, turmeric, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and tamarind.

How would you describe the typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Suriname?

Breakfast: A typical breakfast in Suriname might consist of dishes such as pholourie (fried dumplings made from split peas and served with a spicy sauce), roti (flatbread) with cheese, and bakabana (fried plantain).

Lunch: Lunch is usually a large meal, and might include foods such as nasi goreng (fried rice with shrimp and vegetables), choka (a dish made from mashed plantains and vegetables), and pom (a stew made from beef or chicken).

Dinner: Dinner in Suriname often consists of a variety of dishes, including kouseband (a spicy stew made from fish or beef), baka sopi (a hearty stew made with pork, vegetables, and spices), and pomtayer (fried cassava dumplings).

Are there popular street food options, and what are some recommendations for safe and delicious choices in Suriname?

Yes, there are popular street food options in Suriname. Some recommendations for safe and delicious choices include:

-Bakabana (Fried Plantain): This is a popular street food snack that is often served with a spicy dipping sauce made from ginger, chillies, and garlic.

-Keshi Yena (Stuffed Cheese): This is a Surinamese dish that is typically made with Gouda cheese stuffed with chicken or beef, onion, and spices. It is then covered in a thick sauce and baked until golden brown.

-Pom (Soup): This is a thick soup made with beef, vegetables, and spices that is served with rice and a side of plantain chips.

-Bami (Fried Noodle): This is a popular street food dish that consists of fried egg noodles stir fried with vegetables and spices.

-Panada (Fish Fritters): These are deep fried fish balls that are often served with a spicy sauce.

What is the local etiquette for dining out, especially in terms of tipping and reservations in Suriname?

Tipping is expected in Suriname. Most restaurants will add between 10-15% to the bill for a service charge, however you should add an additional 5-10% tip to thank your server for their service. It is also common to pay directly to the server after the meal.

Reservations are not commonly used in Suriname, but some restaurants do accept them. You should call ahead to confirm if you wish to make a reservation.

Are there specific dining customs or table manners that I should be aware of in Suriname?

Yes, there are certain dining customs and table manners you should be aware of when dining in Suriname.

1. Arrive on time: Arriving on time for a meal is the expected norm in Suriname, so be sure to arrive on time for a meal.

2. Utensils: In Suriname, it is customary to use utensils when eating.

3. Table manners: Table manners are expected when dining in Suriname. This includes using your utensils properly and not talking with your mouth full.

4. Greeting: It is polite to greet everyone at the table before beginning your meal.

5. Sharing food: It is polite to not be greedy with your food and to share the food on the table with everyone present.

6. Finishing your meal: Finish all of the food on your plate, as it is considered impolite to leave any food behind.

How spicy are the local dishes, and is there a way to request milder options if I’m not accustomed to spicy food?

The spiciness of local dishes varies depending on the restaurant, but it is usually quite spicy. Most restaurants in the area are accustomed to accommodating visitors who are not used to spicy food and will usually offer milder options if requested.

Are there vegetarian or vegan options readily available in Suriname?

Yes, vegetarian and vegan options are readily available in Suriname. There are many restaurants offering vegetarian and vegan dishes, as well as supermarkets and health food stores stocking a variety of plant-based products.

What are some local beverages or non-alcoholic drinks that I should try in Suriname?

1. Masala Chai – A spicy tea made with local spices, milk, and sugar.

2. Ready-made Juice – Juices made with local fruits like guava, passionfruit, and mango are widely available throughout the country.

3. Lemonade – A cool and refreshing lemonade made with fresh lemon juice, sugar and water is perfect for hot days.

4. Koffie Verkeerd – Literally translated as “wrong coffee”, this sweetened coffee drink is popular in the country.

5. Water Lemon – A refreshing mix of water and fresh lemon juice, a perfect drink to cool down in the tropical climate of Suriname.

6. Coconut Water – Among the most popular drinks in Suriname is coconut water, served cold with ice cubes and a straw to reduce the sweetness.

Is it common to drink tap water, or should I stick to bottled water in Suriname?

It is common to drink tap water in Suriname, but the quality and safety of the tap water can vary by region. It is advisable to stick to bottled water if you are uncertain about the quality of the tap water in your region.

Are there any traditional dining experiences, like food markets or cooking classes, that you would recommend in Suriname?

1. Afobaka Lake Restaurant: This restaurant offers a traditional Caribbean style menu, with local and international dishes. The restaurant is located close to the Afobaka Lake, in the heart of Brokopondo, offering a unique dining experience.

2. Larimar Restaurant: Located in the downtown area of Paramaribo, this restaurant has been serving traditional Surinamese dishes for over 25 years. The menu offers a great variety of dishes, from traditional stews to grilled fish and seafood.

3. De Kombuis: This restaurant specializes in traditional Surinamese cuisine. The menu offers a wide range of dishes, from soups and stews to grilled meats and seafood. The restaurant also hosts cooking classes and food markets on certain days.

4. De Pinda Plantage Restaurant: Located in the Paramaribo area, this restaurant is known for its selection of traditional Surinamese dishes. The menu includes a variety of dishes such as stews, grilled meats and seafood, as well as desserts and pastries. The restaurant also offers cooking classes and food markets on specific days throughout the year.

What are the dining hours and typical meal times in Suriname?

Dining hours in Suriname vary depending on the type of restaurant or establishment, however, typical meal times are usually breakfast from 7am to 9am, lunch from 12pm to 2pm, and dinner from 6pm to 8pm.

How can I navigate food allergies or dietary restrictions when dining out in Suriname?

If you are dining out in Suriname and have food allergies or dietary restrictions, it is important to notify the restaurant staff before ordering. You can explain your medical condition or dietary preferences and inquire about the ingredients used in their dishes. Many restaurants in Suriname are willing to accommodate special requests, so don’t be afraid to ask. It is also a good idea to carry snacks or other foods in case of emergency.

Are there any specific dishes that are considered a delicacy or are reserved for special occasions in Suriname?

Yes, there are several dishes that are considered delicacies or reserved for special occasions in Suriname. Some examples of these dishes include Baka Bobi (a stew of cow feet, cassava, okra, and other vegetables), Kutawe Keshi (a curry made with diced pumpkin and beef or fish), ajamboeroe (a cassava-based dessert), roti (a flatbread made with flour, curry, and vegetables), and pekel (a lightly spiced fish stew). Other popular dishes include kousenband (stir-fried cassava leaves), erwtensoep (a thick pea soup), pom (baked plantain and cheese), and moksi-alesi (a rice and chicken dish).

What is the local perspective on haggling or negotiating prices in food markets or street stalls in Suriname?

Haggling or negotiating prices in food markets or street stalls is generally expected and accepted in Suriname. Bargaining is seen as a way to show appreciation for the goods and services being provided and as a sign of respect to the vendor. Bargainers can expect a discount of up to 20-30% off the initial price. However, it is also important to note that haggling can be seen as rude in some circles so it is advised to do so with caution.

Are there regional variations in cuisine within Suriname, and if so, what are some notable differences?

Yes, there are regional variations in cuisine within Suriname. The coastal region is known for its seafood dishes, with many dishes featuring various types of fish and shellfish. The interior regions are known for their reliance on starchy root vegetables, such as yuca and tayer. There is a greater variety of spices used in the interior region as well, such as cumin, clove, nutmeg, and tamarind. Nasi goreng is a popular dish in the interior region, which consists of fried rice with vegetables and meat. In the eastern regions of Suriname, where there is a large Maroon population, dishes feature more peppers and groundnuts for flavoring. Curried dishes are also popular in the east.

How can I avoid common foodborne illnesses and ensure that the food I’m consuming is safe in Suriname?

1. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling food.

2. Practice safe food handling and preparation practices, including washing fruits and vegetables, separating raw and cooked foods, using separate cutting boards for raw and cooked food, and cooking food to the appropriate temperature.

3. Buy food from trusted sources, such as local markets and grocery stores, to ensure that it is fresh and safe to eat.

4. Check the expiration dates on packaged foods, and discard any products that are no longer fresh.

5. Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods within two hours of cooking or purchasing them.

6. Avoid cross-contamination of cooked and uncooked food by using separate utensils and cookware for each type of food.

7. Avoid eating raw or undercooked seafood, meats, eggs, or dairy products.

Are there any unique dining customs or traditions related to holidays or festivals in Suriname?

Yes, there are several unique dining customs and traditions related to holidays and festivals in Suriname. One of the most important is the zwara, which is a traditional Surinamese meal served during special occasions, such as weddings, baptisms, funerals, and other important milestones. This meal typically consists of rice or cassava with vegetables, fish, and other meats. Additionally, during the Christmas season, a traditional dish called kwarkrijst (literally “curry rice”) is usually served. This dish is made with red beans cooked in a curry sauce and served over white rice. Other favorite dishes during the Christmas season include roti (flatbread) and bakabana (sweet plantain). Additionally, the Hindu community in Suriname often celebrates the festival of Diwali with traditional dishes such as sweetmeats, savory snacks, and fried sweets.

Where can I find the best local desserts or sweets in Suriname?

The best local desserts and sweets in Suriname can be found at the many bakeries and cafes throughout the country. Popular sweets include: koek (cookies), pudding, vruchtenijs (fruit ice cream), pinda-koek (peanut cake), bakabana (plantain tart), kokada (coconut confection), masaka (coconut candy), and kasiri (smoked coconut candy). Other popular local desserts include: moksi meti (a cassava-based sweet dish), pom (sweet potato pudding), and gladde cake (a type of sponge cake).

Are there any local dining establishments that are known for their historical or cultural significance in Suriname?

Yes, there are several local dining establishments in Suriname with historical or cultural significance. One of the most popular is the Palmentuin, located in Paramaribo, the capital city. This restaurant is located in a colonial-era home and known for its traditional Surinamese cuisine. Another popular restaurant is De Grote Chinese Tent, located in Paramaribo, which offers both Chinese and Indonesian-inspired dishes. There is also La Cour, located in Paramaribo, which serves traditional Dutch and French cuisine. Finally, Joden Eiland, located in Paramaribo, is a restaurant with a unique history as it was once a Jewish quarter and is known for its international fare.