Africa is a land of diversity, be it in culture or food! The continent is a mix of diverse cultures and hence, a variety of cuisines and foods. Though all the delicacies of African cuisines are not very popular in world cuisine, a few of them, mostly belonging to the southern Sahara, do come on the map of the world culinary scene. There are porridges, exotic root vegetables and wholesome feast dishes that feature in the list. Read on to find out more about the unique food delicacies of Africa!
Pap en vleis/ Shisa nyama
It is a popular and most loved combination dish of barbecued meat and maize porridge. “Pap en vleis” is the name of a dish that has starched or stewed meat along with spicy maize porridge gravy. The meat is Shisa nyama, which means to “burn it ” in the Zulu language. Tourists can enjoy this delicacy in Shisa nyama restaurants located near butchers’ shops. These restaurants predominantly exist near the butcher shops so as to choose their meat cuts and cook them immediately on wooden fires for foodies. The maize porridges that accompany the meat are available in varied forms, like phuthu and stywe pap, krummelpap (crumbly porridge), or suurpap (soured pap). Some of the popular Shisa nyama eateries are Chaf Pozi, Orlando Towers, Corner Chris Hani Road and Nicholas Street.
Piri piri chicken
Galinha a Zambeziana or Piri piri chicken is another delicacy that is an amalgamation of chicken blend cooked with lime, spicy pepper, garlic, coconut milk and the special ingredient- piri piri sauce. It is most popular in Mozambique, where cuisines are predominantly a mix of African, Portuguese, continental and Arabian-inspired flavours. The dishes cooked include hot sauces, coconut milk and spices. Piri piri chicken is primarily served with matapa, which is another dish of cassava leaves purely cooked in peanut sauce.
Jollof rice and egusi soup
This unique food delicacy of Africa is a popular and most-loved delicacy in western Africa, and primarily in Nigeria. It comes in a pot and a spicy dish containing rice, tomatoes, onions and bell pepper. The dish is a primary dish at feasts and occasions. Nigerians have this dish with egusi soup (a broth made from ground melon seeds and bitter leaf), fried plantains and pounded yam. Tourists can also try other popular Nigerian dishes like spicy broths made from a mix of okra and flavored chicken, and suya (spicy Nigerian kebabs). Some of the popular eateries to try Jollof rice and egusi soup include Yellow Chili, and 27 Oju Olobun Close.
Bunny chow is a hollowed-out loaf of white bread filled with spicy curry. It is one of the popular street foods of South Africa. The spicy curries in this dish earned its inspiration from Indian laborers back in the 19th century who loved having a spicy meal after a hard day’s work in the sugar-cane fields. Tourists can have bunny chow in Durban in restaurants like Britannia Hotel and Gounden’s Restaurant.
Kapenta with sadza
The crispy fried kapenta is a fish dish, a unique food delicacy of Africa and the most-loved delicacy of Zimbabwe, primarily as a protein source. It consists of Kapenta, two different species of tiny freshwater fish (found in Lake Tanganyika) stewed with ripe tomatoes, onions, fresh green veggies and groundnut powder. The dish comes with a bowl of maize porridge, popularly known as sadza. Tourists can have the dish both as a dried and fresh variant. The best way to eat the dish is in the traditional style, like scooping up the sadza porridge with sauce and blending it with the fish and having it.
Another popular dish to try from Zimbabwe is the fresh bream/ tilapia friend with lemon butter. Tourists can try out kapenta with sazda from eateries like The Boma and La Fontaine Restaurant.
Chambo with nsima
Chambo is a popular and most-eaten fish in Malawi. The dish gets chombo grilled and served with nsima (which is porridge) or with chips. Also, one will get ndiwo with chambo dish, which is a delicacy made from a blend of pumpkin, tomatoes and groundnut powder. The nsima and ndiwo dishes are staple foods across Zambia. Tourists can try chambo with nsima at eateries like Nkope restaurant and La Mirage.
Venison is a popular meat consumed across Southern Africa. And Namibians in particular have the refined and best gemsbok, kudu, zebra, warthog, ostrich and springbok meat for tourists. The Namibian cuisine is predominantly influenced by an intermix of German and South African influences. One will find German delicacies like sausages, purely cured meats, sauerkraut and Eisbein as a side along with a dish with potjiekos, biltong and from braaivleis of South Africa. Tourists can try the different and new kinds of venison with the traditional dish oshifima (a kind of maize porridge) or mahangu (pure pearl millet) in restaurants like Joe’s Beer House or Swakopmund Brauhaus.
Muamba de Galinha
The Angola dish has a strong Portuguese influence in its preparation method. It is also popular as chicken muamba and is a spicy oily stew created with palm oil or palm butter. There is also a blend of garlic, chilis and okra mixed into the preparation method. The variations of the dish include the incorporation of chicken muamba like poulet moambé. Another variation is the nyembwe chicken (the national dish of Gabon) and is made from palm nuts.
Another popular dish in Angola includes Caldeirade de Cabrito, a goat stew cooked with a mix of potatoes, wine and tomatoes. Tourists can have the Muamba de Galinha in eateries like Ilha de Luanda.
It is a popular dish of Cape Malay cuisine and includes a blend of marinated meat, rice, spice-y ingredients and lentils topped with fried onions and hard-boiled eggs. Served in a pot, the dish is slowly cooked and is apt for feasts and celebrations. Tourists can have the Cape breyani in eateries like Biesmiellah Restaurant.
Zanzibari biryanis and pilaus
Zanzibar offers a range of birayanis and pilaus, with the predominant and common element being rice. The dishes, which are unique food delicacies of Africa, are more like varied types of biryani- some with a classic assortment of vegetables, some with a complex mix of meats and seafood and many more. Pilau is a one-pot dish with a preparation method including spices like cardamom, cumin and pepper powder. The biryanis and pilaus come with kachumbari, which is an onion and tomato salad. Zanzibar also offers another popular dish, ‘urojo’, which is a broth having pieces of meat, chili, mango, ginger, tamarind and lime mixed into it. Tourists can taste the varied range of biryanis and pilaus in eateries like Forodhani Gardens, Lukmaan Restaurant, and Archipelago.
Nyama na irio
Irio is the staple food of the Kikuyu, whose popularity has spread across Kenya and beyond. The dish is a mix of mashed potatoes, peas, beans, green veggies, corn and onions topped with spicy roasted meat. Sukuma Wiki is another popular Kenyan dish, which is also popular as a strength-enhancing and protein source food for people. The porridge dish is prepared with collard greens, kale, onions and spices. Tourists can enjoy the dish at eateries like Ranalo Foods and Carnivore Restaurant.
Koshari is a popular dish in Egypt and a must-have in every Egyptian home. It is a vegetarian dish comprising of a mix of rice, lentils, cured macaroni, garlic and chickpeas, topped with hot tomato sauce and crispy fried onions. Another popular Egyptian dish is mahshi, which is a combination of vegetables like zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and vine leaves with spicy rice. Tourists can enjoy the dishes at eateries Koshari al-Tahrir and Hosny.
The ful medames is an intercultural mixed dish (pre-Ottoman and pre-Islamic) and dates back almost to the age of the Pharaohs. It is considered as one of the national dishes of Egypt and consists of fava beans simmered and cooked with spices and olive oil. Ful Medames is an ideal breakfast delicacy and tourists can have it in street stalls or Mohamed Ahmed Restaurant.
Potjiekos and stew
Potjiekos refers to a food item cooked in layers in a traditional cast-iron pot. It is more like a stew, similar to the beef, chicken or mutton stews popular across South Africa. The dish is primarily served with pap and staples like umngqusho (a mix of samp and beans), morogo (wild green veggies), dumplings (spicy amadombolo), steamed bread (ujeqe) or pot-baked bread (potbrood). Tourists can enjoy this delicacy in Gramadoelas or Roots Restaurant.
Pastilla au pigeon
The pastilla au pigeou dish, also popular as b’stilla, is a sweet pie dish and unique food delicacy of Africa consisting of shredded cooked squab or chicken and is thickened with egg white sauce. It is spread with light thin pastry and multiple layers of nutty fillings. B’stilla is a popular dish in Morocco and predominant in celebrations. Tourists can have this dish at Pepe Nero.
For food enthusiasts who want to try out raw meat, Kifo is the perfect dish to choose! The dish is prepared in a number of ways, with the most popular one being mitimta (which is raw beef cured and marinated in spices) or kebbeh (which is raw beef blended in chilli powder and butter). One can also try out a warm spicy meat lebb.
The Ackee plant is an important food in Africa. The plant is a great substitute for eggs in breakfast meals and is served primarily with fried onions and tomatoes. It is also known as the ‘Vegetable Brain’, due to its resemblance to the grey matter in the brain. Tourists can try the Ackee plant. However, it is essential to have the matured plant as the immature plant and fruit are toxic, formed from a compound named hypoglycin A and can cause hypoglycemia.
Grasshoppers are a delicacy in Uganda, popular as nsenene. They comprise a traditional dish where the insects are roasted or fried and then blended in an assortment of spices. The preparation method involves cutting off the wings and legs of the insect when they are alive and then pan fried. There is no oil used in cooking, as the insect bodies produce their own ‘oil’ during cooking. The grasshoppers are then added with salt, pepper and spices for flavor and savoured.
The Mopane Worm, popular as the Imbrassia belina, is a staple food across Africa. The worms are plucked carefully from the trees and squeezed to eradicate the guts from the bodies. After that, they are boiled with a mix of ingredients like garlic and tomatoes, or panned and eaten.
Pineapple on a sandwich!? Yes, you heard it right! In this dish, the pineapple is sandwiched between two slices of white bread with butter and eaten. Though it may sound odd, the sandwich does taste good.
The dish is prepared from lean meat cuts like the rump or silverside, and blended in a mix of spices and vinegar and later the pieces are hung out to dry. It is super tasty with the dried flavours in the meat.
Imagine the omelet made from the largest egg on the planet on your plate! This is surely a paradise dish for omelet lovers. People in Africa savour the omelet made from ostrich eggs. The egg, which itself weights more than 3 pounds, gives us an omelet that can be shared with us by a bunch of friends! An omelet from an ostrich’s egg is equal to 24 regular eggs you have in your home. That’s a pretty whopping number! The ostrich omelet in Africa is served with butter, salt, and pepper.
The unique food delicacies of Africa on the list can go on with different food items and elements which many of us would shudder to touch or even fathom eating. But the unique continent has a good way of preparing the same dishes, which makes it enjoyable for the locals and they savour it like the best delicacy ever!