In true celebration of the continent’s rich and dynamic cultures, heritage and delicious flavours, here are 10 most popular African foods to try
Happy Africa Day! Annually, the African Union (AU) commemorates International Africa Day on 25 May in commemoration of its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, which was founded on this day in 1963.
Africa is a continent possessing numerous attractions. Visitors and holiday makers are often drawn to the many positive features on the continent including a friendly and energetic people, an inviting climate as well as natural wonders among others. As a result of these factors, Africa continues to remain a top tourist destination for millions every year.
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Perhaps the most compelling narrative revolves around what her peoples eat. African cuisine is diverse, delicious and if you desire, decadent. You are spoiled, not only for choice; tasting the sumptuous dishes also open your eyes to the gateways to the very cultural essence of the tribes/races on the continent.
The typical African meal comes from paying considerable attention to detail; you will find that those cooks employ a rich array of base ingredients, spices as well as other condiments to create culinary paradise. From the desert lands in North Africa to the lush greens of the West and the Sahel plains of the East, every region serves a delicacy that will surpass your minimum expectations. Without further ado, here are ten most popular African foods:
Jollof Rice (West Africa)
Jollof rice is a meal prepared and enjoyed across the West African sub-region. However, a fierce rivalry exists among Nigerians, Senegalese and Ghanaians as to who makes the dish best, with the latter laying claim to owning the most delicious variety. At its most basic form, Jollof is a pot of rice prepared with tomato sauce and served with meat or fish. Chicken is another common accompaniment to Jollof. Feast your eyes and later, your taste buds, as you watch the rice soak up the prepared juices/sauces and turn orange as it reaches readiness.
Koki – Bean Cake (Cameroon)
If you happen to find yourself in Central Africa, specifically Cameroun, then do not let this delightful appetizer pass you by. Ask for it, seek it and eat it!
With cowpeas as its primary constituent, Koki arises when the peas are mashed, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. Koki derives its characteristic bright red color and flavor from red palm oil (or palm nut sauce) as well as other condiments such as crayfish, pieces of fish and chili peppers.
Couscous Royale (Tunisia, North Africa)
Couscous is a staple dish, enjoyed across the vast North African landscape. It consists of steamed semolina. If you want this meal taken up a notch, request for Couscous Royale, with infusions of lamb cuttings. At other times, ask for specially spiced chicken as an accompaniment. Saffron is also added to give you a memorable eating experience.
Chicken Muamba (Angola, Southern Africa)
In Luanda, do as the Angolans do. That is eating this spicy, oily brew consisting of palm oil or palm butter, garlic, chilis, and okra. Note that chicken Muamba itself comes marinated with spices, which gives it a unique and electrifying taste. Explore your options by having Chicken Muamba with traditional African starchy porridges such as funge, fufu, and igali.
Chicken Kebabs (Egypt)
This North African food is a favorite in Cairo and across Egypt. Before giving your tongue an unforgettable treat, watch as dexterous chefs turn boneless chicken breasts into mouth-watering kebabs, complete and spiced with cardamom, black pepper as well as other ingredients that you should discover yourself. As it is said, the taste of the pudding is in the eating!
Egusi Soup (Melon Seed Stew) with Fufu (Nigeria)
Are you in Nigeria? Specifically, in the Eastern part of the country? Then you will do well to try the spectacular Egusi soup with spinach leaves. Comprising an assortment of meats, fish, spices, oils and other condiments, Egusi soup serves well with rice, potatoes, pounded yam, or well-made fufu balls. There has to be a deliberateness when eating this soup, to fully imbibe all the inherent goodness available in a serving of this meal.
Pap en Vleis/Shisa Nyama (South Africa)
This food is regarded as an institution, not only in South Africa but across the length and breadth of the region. Get ready for a culinary adventure of a lifetime when you come in contact with maize porridge and meat. This is an umbrella meal covering exciting stewed beef or braaied and starch, which feature alongside compulsory accompaniments like chakalaka or spicy gravy.
Then you should also not miss Shisa nyama or ‘Burn the meat’ (in Zulu), which denotes enjoying any combination of steaks, chops, kebabs, and chicken among others. If you take this with a local beer, you may not leave South Africa in a hurry!
Nyama na irio (Kenya)
Kenya, in East Africa, is noted for her long-distance runners. But did you know that there’s a meal that’s guaranteed to leave you longing for more in quick, short bursts? Say hello Nyama na irio, a national favorite in the country and across Eastern Africa.
This much-loved dish, initially a Kikuyu staple that has spread through Kenya, comprises mashed-up potatoes, peas, beans, corn and onion and often served with spiced roasted meat, backed by alluring spices and condiments.
Koshari, Egypt (North Africa)
Are you exploring the land of the mythical Pharaohs? As you feast your eyes on impressive pyramids and mummified Egyptian kings, do not forget to fete your taste buds with Koshari, a favorite runaway meal of the average Egyptian family. Watch and join your hosts as you savor a healthy vegetarian serving of rice, lentils, macaroni, garlic, and chickpeas, brought together by a spicy tomato sauce and topped off with fried onion.
The meal does not only sound good, but it tastes even better.
Alloco (Ivory Coast)
If you find yourself on vacation in West Africa, do stop by this beautiful nation to savor a meal for all time: the irresistible Alloco. Often considered a snack, Alloco consists of Ivorian fried plantain served with chili pepper, onions or egg and tasty tomato sauce. Famed for its unique taste and ease of preparation, you will not have to keep the wolves in your tummy at bay for too long as a result.
Main Image: Whisk