Popular Suriname dishes

Surinamese cuisine reflects its rich and diverse cultural heritage.

Written by Philip Briggs


Surinamese cuisine reflects the country’s diverse cultural heritage and includes many unique or hybrid dishes similar to but not quite the same as their Javan, Chinese, Dutch, Indian, African, Jewish or Portuguese antecedents. Local food is usually very tasty, though the menus offered at the typical warung do tend to become a bit repetitive after a while. A great place to diversify with some more unusual local dishes is Blauwgrond, a suburb of Paramaribo famed for the dozen or so Javan-Surinamese restaurants clustered on one block of JS Green Straat. Surinamese cooking tends to be quite spicy, but if a meal isn’t hot enough to your taste, ask for sambal (hot pepper) on the side. A brief overview of some popular staple and fusion dishes follows:

baka kesaba Literally ‘baked cassava’, and also known as khali or cassava bread, this traditional Amerindian and Marron staple is a flat, hard loaf baked on a griddle and best dipped in water or soup to soften it

bakabana Traditional dessert made with overripe plantains that are battered and deep-fried, then served with a peanut dip

bakkeljauw Of Portuguese origin, this is a dried and salted fi sh, usually cod, also spelled bakalhau

bami Ubiquitous fried noodle dish (similar to the Chinese bakmi) usually served with chicken (kip)

bara Savoury skillet-fried Hindustani cake made with flour and tajer or spinach leaves, plus plenty of spices

bojo Rich spongy cake made from grated coconut and cassava, often spiced with rum

broodje pom  Cold pom sandwich, usually on a bread roll

dhal A lentil-based Indian-infl uenced curry-like stew, served at most roti shops, usually as a side dish but also as an alternative to meat during religious holidays or festivals

goedangan Cabbage, bean sprout and kousenban (a type of green bean) salad served with a piquant coconut dressing, and optionally hard boiled eggs or peanut sauce

her’heri West African in origin, this hearty stew is made with bakkeljauw, vegetables and usually a mix of cassava, plantain and sweet potato

loempia Javan-Surinamese equivalent of spring roll

lontong tahu Vegetarian dish of Indonesian origin containing fried tofu blocks, bean sprouts and small rice cakes

moksi alesi A Creole dish, originally a kind of pot luck mixture of leftovers, now usually boiled rice mixed risotto-like with salted meat or fish

moksi meti Literally mixed meat, comprising several kinds of roasted meat and Chinese sausage

nasi This popular fried rice dish, similar to the Indonesian nasi goreng, is served at almost all warungs, usually with chicken (kip)

pastei Chicken pot pie, made with carrots and peas, introduced by the earliest Jewish settlers

patat Literally potatoes, but in practice usually chips (French fries), a recent Western introduction usually served as a standalone dish or with greasy fried chicken

pepre watra Literally ‘pepper water’, this spicy fish soup is an Amerindian dish also known as adjupo

petjil Javanese vegetables topped with a peanut sauce and served in a leaf

phulauri Spicy deep-fried ball made with split peas or chickpeas and often served as a snack at Hindustani restaurants and celebrations

pinda soep Named after the peanuts that dominate its taste, this thick spicy soup usually also contains chicken and various vegetables

pom A unique Surinamese dish of Jewish origin, often served on festive days, the name pom derives from the Portuguese word for potato but it actually consists of an oven-baked pie made of grated

pomtajer (the tuber of the indigenous arrowleaf elephant ear), chicken, onion, tomato, bitter citrus juice and various spices

roti Flat, round Indian-style bread usually eaten with masalakip (spicy chicken curry)

samosa Well-known Indian snack made by wrapping a spicy filling (vegetable or meat) in a thin dough triangle, then deep frying it

satao Spicy thin soup of Indonesian origin, usually containing shredded fried potatoes, bean sprouts and shredded chicken. Also known as Blauwgrond soup (after the warung-rich suburb of Paramaribo) it is a very common dish and a good light lunch.

teloh Deep-fried cassava wedges usually eaten as a side dish

tjauw min Local variation of chow mein, comprising stir-fried noodles, usually served with vegetables, chicken or shrimp

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