Haitian Food in America: Best Mayi Kolé in the USA?

One of the best things about living in Miami is its diversity. It’s the unofficial capital of Latin America and has large Cuban, Venezuelan, Colombian, Honduran, Peruvian, and Brazilian communities. There are also lots of Caribbean people here, including Haitians. These immigrants brought their cultures with them, and that includes their food! So today, I’m exploring the world of Haitian food in America with some friends!

If you watched my Trinidad and Tobago series, you’re probably already familiar with my good friends Chef Jason Peru and Candice Mohan. They were with me through most of my adventures across the islands, and now they’re hanging with me in Miami for a few days.

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Visiting Naomi’s Garden in Miami

Noam builds a plate of Haitian food favorites at Naomi's Garden in Miami | Davidsbeenhere

Naomi’s Garden is an amazing restaurant and lounge at the corner of three neighborhoods, including Little Haiti. Haitian food has lots of Creole and Caribbean influences, and I couldn’t wait to check it out!

They have a little window where you can place your order. You can also see the different foods they have. I could see soups, casseroles, meat, seafood, poultry, vegan options, and more.

Inside, we met the owner, Noam, who took us into the kitchen, where they were making beans, mayi (cornmeal), mayi kolé (cornmeal with pinto beans, spices, etc.), rice, cabbage salad, oxtail, greens, and a spice blend called epis (which is used in nearly every Haitian dish)! 

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They also made a spicy, baked macaroni and cheese, which I couldn’t wait to try. There was also chicken marinating in the epis for three days before they bake it. The pieces of chicken were huge!

I couldn’t wait to try everything! There were some pickled and spicy salads, liver stew, jerk chicken, fried grouper, and more there. We got three different places so we could try as much as possible!

We headed over to the outdoor dining hall with our plates. It’s a nice, large garden area that makes you feel like you’re dining out in nature.

Eating the Best Haitian Food in Miami

David Hoffmann and Chef Jason Peru enjoy the Haitian cuisine at Naomi's Garden in Miami | Davidsbeenhere

The spinach stew was creamy and similar to collard greens, while the legume (veg stew) was so flavorful! My jerk chicken was so tender it fell off the bone, and the oxtail contained tons of tender, fatty meat. I had to suck out the marrow!

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I loved the spicy cabbage salad. It contained a nice amount of vinegar as well. It was almost like a fresh, non-fermented kimchi, one of my favorite Korean foods! The baked chicken epis was flavorful and moist, with a crispy, roasted exterior.

Next was the mayi kolé, which were like grits with kidney beans. It was so tasty and grainy, and felt very healthy, too. I really loved the fried plantains, too.

The spaghetti with hot dogs was really tasty. The andouille sausage in it was nice, too! I loved the massive portion sizes here!

The fried grouper was a fantastic fried fish filet. There were no bones. Adding some pikliz (pickled cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, and scotch bonnets) added a crunch and some heat. It was the perfect combo!

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I can’t definitively say it’s the best Haitian food in America, but it’s definitely the best I’ve ever had!

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