Bokit Sandwich - ©

Street Food Discoveries: The Bokit Of Guadeloupe

Time to take a break from our intense weekly culinary expeditions to realms far and wide and recharge our batteries. No better way to do that and still indulge in the exotic than day trips to some of the world’s most exotic and exciting street food destinations…

Bokit - © saveur.comA Classic Bokit bun: “The soul of a Guadeloupe Sandwich”

To kick off our series, we’ll take a 7 hour flight to the island group of Guadeloupe, “where the Caribbean meets the West Atlantic,” (according to Wikipedia), and The French colonial tradition meets the local ingredients and tastes of the region’s slavery-era culture.

Where we’re going

Guadelopue is officially an overseas department (province) of France neighboured on the north by Montserrat and the south by Dominica. It’s population of just under 400,000 is mainly settled on the three largest islands, Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre and Marie-Galante. The tourism and business capital is Pointe-à-Pitre, The official language is French, the architecture is, as we mentioned, French Colonial, and the cuisine is an intriguing blend of French techniques and local ingredients.

What we’re eating

While visitors can partake of french stytle food at any number of ‘finer’ restaurants in Pointe-à-Pitre. the real action, according to food writer Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is at street level.

While in Guadeloupe researching a travelogue for the BBC, she discovered a street food little known outside the islands but ubiqitous in them: the Bokit sandwich:

“The ultimate Guadeloupan street food, Bokit is a hefty sandwich fashioned from fried dough and a creative range of ingredients that’s sold from stands, trucks and cafes that dot the island. I entered a tiny eatery with a faded sign and a few tables and chairs. A mind-numbing list of ingredient choices – including lamb, lobster, conch, curried chicken, pepper sauce, cheeses, curry sauce and ketchup – lined a wall over a grill where the owner was frying two long pieces of dough.”

At first glance, you might think the Bokit is a close cousin of the Italian ciabatta bun. But it’s totally different in character. Under a much more delicate crust, the interior is lighter and finer-textured. And the stuff is not baked but fried in oil. Traditional street Bokit is usually fried in long strips and comes out looking like a pale, flat, baguette. It’s cut into sandwich-sized portions and stuffed to order.

A dish that unites

“The bokit is a festive sandwich. It is a dish that unites,” Naike’ Claudeon, owner of Bokit Center, a stylish restaurant that serves healthy, gourmet versions of bokit in Pointe-à-Pitre told Cummings-Yeates.” When we think of a Bokit, we often associate it with a family outing after visits to the cemetery or at the carnival. We also have to talk about the dankit (simple fried bread) from which the bokit is inspired.”

The history of the Bokit reaches back to the abolition of slavery in France (and its overseas departments) in the middle 19th century. Bokit evolved from Dankit, plain fried dough (flatbread) called Johnnycake in most of the rest of the Caribbean. Dankit, in turn, evolved from a very basic cornbread baked on hot stones by the Africans who were originally enslaved there. As time went by and the entire culture became more sophisticaed, so Dankit became Bokit, which is a much lighter yeast-raised loaf. Now it’s Guadeloupe’s daily bread, and unique to the islands.

Today, you can get Bokit sandwiches from street vendors, neighbourhood restuaurants and food trucks all over Guadeloupe.

You can make it yourself!

I found a real, authentic Bokit recipe at! And this backgrounder for those who want to replicate it… All it takes is fglour, sugar, butter and salt – plus both yeast and baking powder; a bit of a twist, there.

Try making Bokit today, and amaze your family and friends with a sandwich unlike any they’ve ever tasted before! Make your kids the envy of everyone else in the school lunch room (if they still allow kids to bring lunches from home). And don’t forget to try Bokit as a dessert treat, drizzled with chocolate and dusted with powdered sugar!

~ Maggie J.