In celebration of this year’s Africa Day and our continent’s richness in history, culture, and diversity, we have compiled a delectable list of five African countries and the foods they are well known for. We’ve also sprinkled our little listicle with some interesting fast facts about each country.
One of the greatest coffee producers in Africa, Ethiopia have their own calendar called the Ge’ez calendar; it consists of thirteen months, including a five- to six-day month called “Pagume”. It is also one of the few African countries that hold the rare and distinct status of being considered as never having been successfully colonised by European powers. Famous for the Habesha kemis worn by women made out of white cloth and 100 per cent cotton, Ethiopian cuisine includes:
- It is a sour flatbread made out of fresh teff, similar to sorghum. Served with vegetables, it is gluten-free with lots of protein.
Known for the famous talking drum used as a communication method traditionally across communities over long distances, Nigeria also boasts Africa’s largest economy and the biggest yam market worldwide. The country is home to a variety of tribes, including the Igbo, Yoruba, and Fulani people. Some flagship Naija dishes are:
- Isi Ewu
- The traditional Igbo delicacy is made from a goat’s head and piquant spices and served with rice.
- Nigerian jollof rice. (Although it’s not a Nigerian dish by origin as it’s from a Senegalese tribe called the Wolof or Jolof people.)
- The Nigerian version of jollof rice (since many other West African countries make the rice dish) is made of long-grained parboiled rice, tomatoes, tomato paste, onions and pepper. This food is usually reserved for special occasions in Nigeria.
Home to the world’s oldest desert (Namib desert), it is the only country that has desert elephants. The famous Himba tribe reside in Namibia. Due to water scarcity, the tribe apply a mixture of otjize (red clay and animal fat) paste on their hair and bodies.
A classic Namibian dish is dried meat and plantain such as spinach served with maize pap.
Known to be the second-largest producer of gold in the world and the biggest in Africa, Ghana is also famous for the colourful kente cloth and for serving the most nutritious dishes in the world. Famous dishes include:
- Fufu is made out of pounded plantain served with fish, meat, and vegetables.
- Waakye is a mixture of beans and rice, which can be served with (but not necessarily limited to) garri or fried plantain.
Home to the famous big five: the lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino, and leopard, the country is also known for the world-renowned Massai tribe. Kenya is best known for producing quality coffee and being Africa’s largest tea-exporting country. Kenyan original dishes are:
- Made of flour, coconut milk, and baking powder, the deep-fried sweet dough can be served with your favourite drink.
- Sukuma wiki
- The most popular family dish is usually served with papa or sorghum porridge.
Whether your flavour pallet favours the sweet side of life or the spicy parts of any menu, Africa has a dish for both flavour poles. Diverse as our cultures, languages and traditions, there are plenty of African cuisines to explore in celebration of Africa Day and Month, and we hope that this list served well in whetting your appetite.