The foods eaten by the people of Suriname

The culinary history of Suriname is incredibly diverse and reflects the country's complex history and multicultural fabric. The foods eaten in Suriname over the last 500 years have been influenced by indigenous cultures, colonial powers like the Dutch and the British, enslaved Africans, indentured laborers from India, Indonesia, and China, and other immigrant groups.

Indigenous Period

  1. Cassava: A root vegetable that was and is a staple in the diets of indigenous peoples.
  2. Fish and Game: The indigenous people were skilled fishermen and hunters, consuming a variety of freshwater fish and game like deer and birds.
  3. Fruits: Various tropical fruits such as guava, pineapple, and papaya were part of the indigenous diet.
  4. Corn and Beans: These were cultivated and consumed by native populations.

Colonial Period and African Influence

  1. Rice: Introduced primarily during the colonial era, it became a staple food item.
  2. Plantains and Bananas: Brought by the colonizers and adopted into the local cuisine.
  3. Okra: Introduced by African slaves, okra is now a common ingredient in many Surinamese dishes.

Indian and Javanese Influence

  1. Roti: A flatbread that is a staple in the Indo-Surinamese community.
  2. Curry Dishes: Curry-based dishes, often with chicken, duck, or vegetables, were introduced by indentured laborers from India.
  3. Soto Ayam: An Indonesian chicken soup that became popular in Suriname.
  4. Nasi Goreng and Bami: Fried rice and fried noodles, respectively, influenced by Indonesian cuisine.

Chinese Influence

  1. Chow Mein: Suriname has its own version, often made with chicken, shrimp, or pork.
  2. Spring Rolls: Another Chinese import, they have been adapted to include local ingredients and flavors.

European Influence

  1. Bread and Pastries: Influenced by Dutch and Portuguese colonial presence, bread, cakes, and pastries like 'oliebollen' have a place in Surinamese cuisine.

Modern Day

  1. Pom: A popular dish of Creole origin made from pomtajer (an indigenous tuber), chicken, and citrus juice.
  2. Moksi Alesi: Literally "mixed rice," this dish can include a variety of meats, vegetables, and sometimes dried shrimp.
  3. BBQ: Influenced by both American and Caribbean BBQ styles, grilling is a popular cooking method.
  4. Fast Food: Globalization has brought a range of international fast-food chains to Suriname.


  1. Parbo Bier: The national beer of Suriname.
  2. Rum: Various types of rum are popular, both for drinking and for culinary uses.
  3. Fruit Juices: Freshly squeezed tropical fruit juices are common.

The foods of Suriname are a vibrant blend of indigenous traditions and a myriad of cultural influences from Africa, India, Indonesia, China, and Europe, making its cuisine one of the most diverse in the Caribbean region.

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