List of African cuisines

This is a list of African cuisines. A cuisine is a characteristic style of cooking practices and traditions,[1] often associated with a specific culture. The various cuisines of Africa use a combination of locally available fruits, cereal grains and vegetables, as well as milk and meat products. In some parts of the continent, the traditional diet features a preponderance of milk, curd and whey products. The continent's diverse demographic makeup is reflected in the many different eating and drinking habits, dishes, and preparation techniques of its manifold populations.[2]

Central African cuisine

Ndolé is the national dish of Cameroon.
  • Cameroonian cuisine is one of the most varied in Africa due to its location on the crossroads between the north, west, and center of the continent; added to this is the profound influence of French food, a legacy of the colonial era.
  • Congolese cuisine (Democratic Republic of the Congo) cuisine varies widely, representing the food of indigenous people. Cassava is generally the staple food usually eaten with other side dishes.
  • Centrafrican cuisine in the Central African Republic includes Middle Eastern and French influences.

East African cuisine

A Ramadan dinner in Tanzania
  • Burundian cuisine - Burundi is situated in Eastern Africa and has a territory full of mountains, savannas and agricultural fields, with forests in the surrounding of rivers and waters. Agriculture is spread on 80% of the country's surface and it especially includes coffee, tea, corn, beans and manioc.
  • Kenyan cuisine - There is no singular dish that represents all of Kenya. Different communities have their own native foods. Staples are maize and other cereals depending on the region including millet and sorghum eaten with various meats and vegetables. The foods that are universally eaten in Kenya are ugali, sukuma wiki, and nyama choma.
  • Tanzanian cuisine - Along the coastal regions (Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Bagamoyo, Zanzibar & Pemba), spicy foods are common, and there is also much use of coconut milk. Regions in Tanzania's mainland also have their own unique foods.
  • Ugandan cuisine consists of traditional and modern cooking styles, practices, foods and dishes in Uganda, with English, Arab, Asian and especially Indian influences. Like the cuisines of most countries, it varies in complexity, from the most basic, a starchy filler with a sauce of beans or meat, to several-course meals served in upper-class homes and high-end restaurants.
  • Maasai cuisine - The staple diet of the Maasai consists of cow's milk and maize-meal. The cuisine also consists of soups from plants and fruits. More recently, the Maasai have grown dependent on food produced in other areas such as maize meal, rice, potatoes, and cabbage (known to the Maasai as goat leaves).

Horn African cuisine

Injera bread and several kinds of wat (stew) are typical of Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine.

North African cuisine

Nile perch are one of the world's largest freshwater fish and a significant food source.[11] It reaches a maximum length of over six feet, weighing up to 440 lbs,[12] although many fish are caught before growing this large.[13] It is widespread throughout much of the Afrotropic ecozone.
  • Sudanese cuisine varies by region and has been influenced by the cross-cultural influences upon Sudan throughout history. In addition to the indigenous African peoples, the cuisine was influenced by Arab traders and settlers during the Ottoman Empire, who introduced spices such as red pepper and garlic.
  • Tunisian cuisine is the cuisine of Tunisia, a blend of Mediterranean and desert dwellers' culinary traditions. Its distinctive spicy fieriness comes from neighboring Mediterranean countries and the many civilizations which have ruled the land now known as Tunisia: Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Ottoman Empire, French, and the native Berber people.

Southern African cuisine

  • Botswanan cuisine is unique but also shares some characteristics with other cuisine of Southern Africa. Examples of Botswanan food include pap, samp, vetkoek and mopane worms. A food unique to Botswana includes seswaa, heavily salted mashed-up meat.
  • Malagasy cuisine is the cuisine of the island country of Madagascar, located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. Madagascans are mostly Malayan Polynesian, along with Africans, Arabs, Indians and Europeans.[17] Rice is a common staple food, and fruits and vegetables are prominent in the cuisine. Pineapples, mangoes, peaches, grapes, avocados and lychee are grown on the island.[17] Meats include chicken, beef and fish, and curry dishes are common.[17] A common food is laoka, a mixture of cooked foods served atop rice. Laoka are most often served in some kind of sauce: in the highlands, this sauce is generally tomato-based, while in coastal areas coconut milk is often added during cooking.[18]
Closeup of large round speckled beans cooked with cubes of pork over rice
Closeup of stewed green leaves, tomato and tiny shrimp
Bottles of lemon and mango sauces (achards) are common in the northwestern coastal regions of Madagascar.
Malagasy cuisine: Two common Madagascan laokas: bambara groundnut and pork (left) and potato leaves with dried shrimp (center), usually served atop rice. On the right are bottles of lemon and mango sauces (achards), which are common in the northwestern coastal regions of Madagascar.[19]
  • South African cuisine is sometimes called "rainbow cuisine", as it has had a variety of multicultural sources and stages. Influences include indigenous practices and settler cookery that immigrants practiced.

West African cuisine

Yassa is a popular dish throughout West Africa prepared with chicken or fish. Chicken yassa is pictured.

By country

Spices at central market in Agadir, Morocco
A map of Africa

See also


  1. "Cuisine." Accessed June 2011.
  2. Bea Sandler (1993). The African Cookbook. Diane and Leo Dillon (Illust.). Carol Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8065-1398-5. Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Food in Africa." Accessed July 2011.
  4. Robert, Nassau Hamill (1904). "Fetichism in West Africa: Forty Years' Observation of Native Customs and Superstitions." Accessed July 2011.
  5. United Nations Statistics Division – Standard Country and Area Codes Classifications
  6. Sandra Fullerton Joireman, Institutional Change in the Horn of Africa, (Universal-Publishers: 1997), p.1: "The Horn of Africa encompasses the countries of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. These countries share similar peoples, languages, and geographical endowments."
  7. 1 2 "Eritrean Food Practices." Accessed July 2011.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Javins, Marie. "Eating and Drinking in Ethiopia." Accessed July 2011.
  9. "Somali Halwa." Accessed July 2011.
  10. Barlin Ali, Somali Cuisine, (AuthorHouse: 2007), p.79
  11. "Nile Perch." Accessed July 2011.
  12. Kaufman, Les. "Catastrophic Change in Species-Rich Freshwater Ecosystems: The lessons of Lake Victoria". BioScience. 42 (11). doi:10.2307/1312084.
  13. Wood (1983). The Guinness Book of Animal Facts and Feats. Sterling Pub Co Inc. ISBN 978-0-85112-235-9.
  14. "Northern Africa." Accessed June 2011.
  15. Mourad, Mazouz. "The Momo Cookbook." The Globalist. Accessed June 2011.
  16. "Rainbow Cuisine in South Africa." Road Travel – Travel Group. Accessed July 2011.
  17. 1 2 3 "Madagascar." African Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania. Accessed July 2011.
  18. Bradt, Hilary (2011). Madagascar (10th ed.). Guilford, Connecticut: The Globe Pequot Press Inc. pp. 12–14. ISBN 978-1-84162-341-2.
  19. Espagne-Ravo, Angéline (1997). Ma Cuisine Malgache: Karibo Sakafo (in French). Paris: Edisud. ISBN 2-85744-946-1.
  20. "Africa Climate." Backpack Traveller. Accessed July 2011.
  21. 1 2 3 "Food and the African Past." p. 14.
  22. "Oxfam's Cool Planet - Food in Burkina Faso". Oxfam. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
  23. Marchais, p. 99
  24. H.O. Anthonio & M. Isoun: "Nigerian Cookbook." Macmillan, Lagos, 1982.
  25. Adebayo Oyebade, Culture and Customs of Angola (2007). Greenwood, p. 109.
  26. 1 2 "Central African Republic." Accessed June 2011.
  27. "Gabon." Accessed June 2011.
  28. "Gabon." Accessed June 2011.
  29. Adekunle, p.81
  30. "Food habits of rural Swazi households" (PDF).
  31. "Swaziland Food and Drink".
  32. "Sharing the Secrets of Togo's Cuisine." Accessed July 2011.

Further reading

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