Ti-kreyol (TK) is a food truck in East Naples that serves Haitian cuisine. They are positioned permanently on the 11000 block of Tamiami Trail E., in the parking lot where Garibaldi Bakery and Mexican Restaurant is located. The food is take out and really meant to be consumed elsewhere. Fortunately, there are nearby spots that are pleasant to eat at such as Rookery Bay, one of the last few remaining mangrove estuaries in the U.S.
Ti, in Haitian Creole means tiny and kreyol is the proper Haitian Creole spelling of Creole, which is both a language and cuisine.
What is Creole?
Linguistically, Creole developed from the interactions of people whose languages are totally different, most notably in agricultural or trading interactions as a consequence of colonization. It starts off as a rudimentary common language known as pidgin. The most common creole, that of Haiti, has over 10 million speakers and is a mixture of French and a former native Haitian language.
Ti-kreyol’s menu is simple but very authentic. The owner, Camelo Etienne, is a Haitian who learned many of the recipes he uses from his mother while growing up in Haiti. As an adult, he was in many restaurants acquiring experience in both the back and front ends. TK is his first solo venture, and they have been open since August of 2018.
The food offerings are simple and consist of a very generous side of rice, fried plantains and a main dish.
The first time, I ordered the fish, which was priced at $16-$21 dollars depending on the size of the fish.
The fish was delicious, fried and expertly cooked. It was served with sauteed onions and peppers, fried plantains and Pikliz, that wonderful Haitian condiment of cabbage, onion, scotch bonnet pepper and carrot in a vinegar base. It works very well with fried plantains, as it was meant to.
This also came with a very generous serving of rice with Sos (sauce). This is a gravy meant to pour on rice made from tomato paste, cloves, thyme and other Haitian spice bases. I went for the larger fish which was about 1 and 1/2 pounds. With the serving of rice (about 1 and 1/2 cups) this was enough for two people. All of this food was a bargain at $22.00. Most highly recommended.
On a second visit, my dining companion and I tried a couple of other offerings. We ordered the turkey and goat dishes.
The turkey was cooked Tassot style, braised then fried before serving. This is a very traditional Haitian dish.
It came with the requisite plantains, pikliz and salad with dressing. It was quite good.
My dining companion ordered goat, also cooked Tassot style. It too, was very good.
We also ordered a couple of traditional Haitian fruit drinks, Komosol and Grenadin, drinks made from soursop and passion fruit respectively. In both cases, the fruit pulp is blended with water and sugar and vanilla extract. Condensed milk is added to the soupsop, then both mixtures are strained and served cold. Really delicious and a unique treat to those of us not consuming these wonderful beverages regularly.
The food at TK is very good and will not disappoint.