When you think of African cuisine, what comes to mind?
Influenced by Indian flavours in some areas, Portuguese, Arabic and European in others, the pots and pans of Africa are filled with the kind of diversity, colour and taste that one can never grow tired of. There’s no better way to distil the essence of whichever African country you’re in than by rubbing shoulders with the locals and enjoying a plate of their favourite food. It’s one of those grassroots experiences that money can't buy.
1. Galinha à Zambeziana, Mozambique
In Mozambique, the Portuguese influence has survived in the way they cook their chicken. Covered in piri piri sauce, Galinha à Zambeziana is perhaps the most renowned Mozambique dish of them all. With kicks of lime, garlic, coconut milk and pepper – this is one chicken feast you simply cannot afford to miss.
2. Bunny chow, South Africa
Any visit to South Africa must be underscored with at least one feast of this iconic street food. Durban is widely acknowledged as the finest proprietor of ’bunnies’, which involve a hollowed out half-loaf of bread stuffed full of what might be some of the most delicious curry you’ve ever eaten. The name remains a mystery, but the allure does not.
3. Ewa agoyin, Nigeria
Consisting mainly of boiled beans drenched in a pepper sauce, ewa agoyin might not sound that special. But it only takes one taste to understand the appeal. The dish originated in Togo and Ghana, but has become a Nigerian staple, which is probably due to the fact that it is absolutely delicious. Eat it with soft bread, fried plantains or boiled yams, and you’re set.
4. Zanzibari biryanis, Zanzibar
Whether chock full of vegetables, seafood or meat, a Zanzibari biryani is a sumptuous affair. Flavoured with the likes of cumin, pepper and cardamom, and paired with biryani rice that is complimented perfectly by an onion and tomato salad (kachumbari), it’s a curry you’re sure to remember.
5. Wat and inerja, Ethiopia
Ethiopian cuisine relies heavily on spicy meat or vegetable stews known as wat. These stews – which are predominantly flavoured by red onions and berbere (a spice) – sit atop inerja, a soft, large, sourdough flatbread. The bread is used to pick up the stew and eat it, in favour of using utensils. It’s typical for one large inerja to be topped by a variety of wats.
6. Chambo and nsima, Malawi
Abundant with chambo fish, Lake Malawi serves as a great source of food for the local people. Perhaps the nation’s favourite meal, the fish is usually simply grilled and served with either chips or nsima – a porridge-like dish that’s typical of Malawi. Accompanied with ndiwo, a relish that incorporates tomatoes, groundnut powder and pumpkin (or cassava leaves), it’s easy to see what all the fuss is about.