Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Hinche, Haiti


Hinche, Haiti

Coordinates: 19 9 N 72 1 W

Population: 23,599 (2003 est.)

People travel for many reasons, but a chance to sample local or “authentic” cuisine often weighs heavily in the decision-making process. In my own peregrinations I’ve sampled stir-fried insects in Thailand, whale carpaccio in Norway, and stink tofu in Taiwan: all things that are harder to come by in the U. S. of A. An uncommon foodstuff that I haven’t tried however, can be purchased for next to nothing in the impoverished Caribbean nation of Haiti. Struggling to survive on as little as two dollars a day, many people in urban slums consume cookies made of salt, water, vegetable shortening, and dirt trucked in from the town of Hinche. Located on a fertile central plain northeast of the capital and close to the Dominican border, Hinche is also surrounded by farms that produce coffee, sugar cane, sisal, cotton, and tropical fruit. The practice of eating dirt is called geophagy.


Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.

Recent Comments

  1. Jerry

    I have seen a 5 minutes report on TV about this habit of eating dirt cakes. The purpose of it is to fill the stomach so you don’t fill hungry. There are women who sell these cakes at the local market and in the main cities

  2. Trent Clow

    Les responsables d’exploitations sont d’accord !

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