Victoria Pease,

Editor (Food)


Traditional Guyanese food is known for its fusion of different cultural cuisines, as well as, for its colourful variety of ingredients and flavours. A rich combination of meat and heavy spices are often typically offered in a variation of stews, fricassees and curry dishes; hot dishes being a natural adaption of locals to the humid climate.

The ‘bouillon d’aoura’ is said to be French Guiana’s most traditional and locally-enjoyed dish, mixing smoked fish, prawns, crab, chicken and vegetables with aoura, the palm fruit of Savanna trees. This stew is cooked over the period of three days and may contain any variation of the above-mentioned ingredients. Typical ingredients used throughout French Guyanese cuisine include curry powders, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cayenne pepper (this name derives from French Guinea’s capital) and hot chillies. ‘Columbo’ is another popular meal eaten by Guyanese locals, a stew of tomatoes and curry powder to which mangoes and vegetables such as zucchini and eggplant are added to create a thicker consistency. For more festive occasions and holidays, ‘roti’ is served, a traditional fried bread eaten with curry sauces and fish stews. Desserts are often made with tropical fruits, in a combination of either cream or custard.

Bouillon d’aoura

At the end of a meal Guyanese locals commonly drink the famous Ti Punch, a cocktail with ingredients equal to those of the more universally known Caipirinha: rum, lime and sugar-cane syrup. The local rule is that once you accept your second Ti Punch, it is expected of you to also finish it as to avoid insulting your host. Other classical widely enjoyed beverages – not only served in French Guiana but throughout the Caribbean- are Mauby, made from tree-bark and ginger beer. The influence and hybridization of different culinary styles makes French Guiana an interesting destination for authentic and original cooking, as well as for its diverse societal landscape.

Image courtesy: Alan Chan, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license/Wiki Commons

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Victoria is a contributor at The Global Panorama since November 2012. She is currently taking a masters in International Journalism at City University London and is interested in international relations, travel and lifestyle reporting. Follow her on Twitter @victoriapease92