Traditional Food of Suriname


There are many cuisines in South America and beyond that claim to have diverse influences, but the influences that have helped to form Surinamese cuisine are truly varied. The reason for this is that this small nation in the north of the continent was a Dutch colony for several centuries, and slaves were transported to the country from Africa, Indonesia, China and East India.


These have all had an influence on the local cuisine, and this is combined with the adaptability to make the most of the ingredients that were available in the country, as there are many traditional crops such as potatoes that are simply not suited to the growing conditions in Suriname.

1. Pom

This dish is one of the most famous and distinctive in Suriname, and is widely recognized as a dish that is cooked at celebrations, particularly during birthdays and special occasions. While potatoes don't grow very well in Suriname, Pom makes good use of its own root vegetable known as tayer or pomtayer, which is combined with chicken and citrus juice and then baked in the oven. The tayer is an indigenous plant in Suriname, and the popularity of Pom means it has also become a dish that is common in many parts of the Netherlands too.

2. Pastei

Pastei is a dish that was brought to Suriname by Jewish settlers, and is a type of chicken pot pie that includes carrots, peas and other vegetables to make for a tasty savory dish. Pastei is made by lining a pie dish with pastry and then combining the chicken and vegetables in a broth to cook, with these then being placed in the pie dish before being topped with sliced boiled eggs, and then a pastry top to the pie.

3. Massalakip Chicken Curry

Curries and other spicy dishes are common in Suriname having been brought to the country by people of Indian and Indonesian origin, and in Suriname a curry means dishes that are flavored with the spicy masala spice mix. Dutch food is generally quite mild, but when it comes to its curries, Surinamese cuisine definitely tends to go with the preferences of those from Indian and Indonesian descent, as they can be quite spicy dishes.

4. Bakbana

This dish is one that makes good use of the plantains that are widely cultivated in Suriname, and combines these ingredients with the traditional peanut sauce that is common in the country. The plantains themselves are dipped in batter and then fried until they are crispy, and are then served with the sweet and creamy peanut sauce. These crispy morsels are then dipped in the sauce, with larger dishes of the plantains often shared among groups of people.

5. Goedangan

This dish is one that has its origins among the workers that were brought to the country from the Indonesian island of Java, and it is a salad that is served with a distinctive and refreshing dressing that makes it a great dish for the warm climate of the country. Goedangan is a type of salad that is made of cabbage, green beans, bean sprouts and carrots that are parboiled and served with cucumber and boiled eggs, and then topped with the dressing made of coconut cream, lime juice and yogurt.

6. Bojo Cake

This dessert is one that has a distinctive tropical flavor as it is made using cinnamon and rum among its ingredients, and is a type of cake that is made with coconut and cassava. It is believed that the cake was developed by Dutch settlers looking to try and replicate the cakes that they had enjoyed at home, and combined the cassava with the grated coconut and other ingredients to make a sweet treat that combines the sweet flavors of the Caribbean coast of South America with traditional Dutch cuisine.