There are so many delicious foods in Africa that it can be hard to know where to start. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this blog post, we will discuss 10 of the best African foods that you need to try. From traditional dishes like jollof rice and fufu, to modern fusion cuisine like plantain-wrapped shrimp, there is something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next trip to Africa and get ready to indulge in some of the best food on the planet!
1. Ful Medames – a slow cooked fava bean dish that is popular in Egypt
Ful Medames is a traditional dish originating from Egypt and commonly found in North African countries. It is made from cooked fava beans, often mixed with spices and topped with olive oil, lemon juice, and vegetables such as tomato and onion. Ful Medames can be eaten for breakfast or as a side dish, and is often served with bread or pita. This dish has been enjoyed for centuries and is popular among many cultures, including Arabic, Turkish, and Israeli. In addition to its delicious taste, Ful Medames also offers health benefits such as high protein and fiber content.
2. Injera – a sourdough flatbread that is popular in Ethiopia and Eritrea
Injera is a traditional Ethiopian flatbread made from teff flour. It has a spongy texture and slightly sour taste, and is often used as the base for stews and other dishes. In Ethiopian culture, injera is not only an important part of meals but also serves as the eating utensil, with food being placed on top and torn off to be eaten by hand. Injera is also popular in Eritrean cuisine, where it is known as injera taita. Beyond Ethiopia and Eritrea, injera has gained popularity throughout the African continent and beyond as a tasty and versatile bread option.
In addition to injera, African cuisine includes a wide variety of flavors and ingredients. Common staples include maize, plantains, cassava, yams, peanuts, and various vegetables and meats. African food is also known for its use of spices like chili peppers, ginger, and cumin to add depth and complexity to dishes. Traditional cooking methods often involve stewing or grilling over open flame or hot coals.
As African diaspora communities have spread around the world, so too has traditional African cuisine. In cities with large African populations, such as London and New York, restaurants serving African food can be found easily. And as more people become interested in exploring global cuisines, dishes like jollof rice, shakshuka, and suya are becoming increasingly popular. So next time you’re in search of something new to try, consider giving African foods a taste. Who knows, you may just discover your new favorite dish!
3. Jollof Rice – a one pot rice dish that is popular in Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Liberia
Originating from West Africa, jollof rice is a beloved dish among many African countries. It is commonly made with rice, tomatoes, onions, spices, and sometimes meat or vegetables.
Traditionally cooked in a single pot over an open flame, the dish gets its name from the Wolof people of Senegal who refer to the dish as “oooo-la-f,” meaning “one pot.”
Jollof rice is often served at special events and celebrations, and variations of the dish can be found in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, and Sierra Leone.
The dish has also gained popularity outside of Africa and can be found on menus in Afro-Caribbean restaurants and at African cultural events.
No matter the country or variation, jollof rice remains a beloved staple in African cuisine.
4. Chakalaka – a vegetable relish from South Africa that can be eaten with anything
Chakalaka is a popular South African dish made with vegetables, tomato sauce, and spices. It can be served as a side dish or as a condiment for meats such as boerewors (South African sausage).
Traditionally, chakalaka was made by street vendors using leftover vegetables and whatever spices were available. However, today it can be found in restaurants and at home cooked meals throughout South Africa.
The origins of chakalaka are uncertain, with some speculating that it originated from Mozambique or Zimbabwe before becoming popular in South Africa.
Despite its simplicity, chakalaka packs a flavorful punch and has become a staple in South African cuisine. Try it for yourself by making your own chakalaka using a recipe or purchasing it from an African market. You won’t be disappointed!
5. Bobotie – a Cape Malay dish made with curried minced meat, eggs, and almonds
Bobotie is a traditional South African dish made with spiced minced meat and topped with a creamy egg custard. It is often served with rice or sliced banana, and can also be made vegetarian by substituting the meat with lentils or chickpeas. This dish has influences from Malaysian, Dutch, and Indonesian cuisine due to the cultural mixing that took place in South Africa’s history. Give this flavorful dish a try and taste the diverse cultural influences in every bite!
6. Biryani – an Indian-inspired dish made with fragrant basmati rice, chicken or beef, and spices
Biryani is a dish originating from South Asia, with variations found in the Middle East and parts of Africa. In African countries such as Nigeria and Kenya, biryani often includes local ingredients like plantains or cassava. The dish traditionally consists of rice and spices layered with meat or vegetables. It is commonly served at special occasions and festivals.
In addition to biryani, African cuisine includes a variety of dishes and flavors influenced by colonial powers, indigenous tribes, and the Middle East. Popular African foods include injera (flatbread) in Ethiopia, jollof rice in West Africa, and morogo (sauteed wild spinach) in South Africa. Overall, African cuisine emphasizes fresh and seasonal ingredients, slow cooking methods, and an emphasis on communal dining. Whether it’s biryani or a traditional African dish, the vibrant flavors of this continent are not to be missed.
7. Nyama Choma – grilled meat, usually beef or goat, popular in East Africa
Located in Seattle’s vibrant Capitol Hill neighborhood, Nyama Choma African Foods brings authentic Kenyan-style barbeque to the Pacific Northwest. Our menu features grilled meats, fresh salads, and traditional sides cooked with spices imported directly from Kenya. We also offer a selection of East African beers and wines to complement your meal. Come experience the unique flavors of Kenyan cuisine at Nyama Choma African Foods.
8. Fufu – a starchy dish made from cassava or plantains that is pounded into a dough-like consistency
Fufu is a staple dish found in many African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast. It is made from starchy vegetables or grains such as cassava or plantains that are boiled, pounded into a dough-like consistency, and formed into balls before serving. Traditionally, fufu is eaten by hand, using chunks of the dough to scoop up accompanying sauces or stews. It can also be served alongside meat dishes or vegetables. Fufu is a satisfying and filling dish, and has become popular in African restaurants around the world. Next time you’re looking for a unique dining experience, give fufu a try!
9. Muamba de Galinha – a chicken stew from Angola with palm oil, garlic, and spices
Muamba de Galinha is a popular dish originating from Angola in West Africa. It consists of chicken cooked with garlic, red palm oil, and various spices such as piri piri and ginger. The dish is traditionally served with funge, a type of starchy cassava porridge. Muamba de Galinha is often enjoyed at celebrations and special occasions. Try this delicious dish at our restaurant, where it is prepared authentically by our chefs from Angola. We also offer a variety of other African dishes for you to try. Come taste the flavors of Africa at Muamba de Galinha African Foods!
10. Plantain-Wrapped Shrimp – a modern fusion dish that combines African plantains and seafood, popular in coastal regions.
Plantain is a popular ingredient in many African dishes, including this plantain-wrapped shrimp recipe. The plantains add a sweet and starchy component to the dish, while the shrimp adds protein and flavor. This dish can be grilled or baked for an easy and delicious meal. Serve with rice or vegetable side dishes for a complete meal. Don’t forget to include some hot sauce for added spice! Give this unique twist on shrimp a try and enjoy the flavors of African cuisine.