Sunday Tribune

3 things to know about our continent’s cuisine


ONE thing is for certain: African food is just as diverse as its people. From the West to the East to the North and South, some foods are so delectable that they’re worth taking a trip for.

African cuisine is a mix of ingredient­s such as cereal grains, vegetables, meat and locally available fruits. The traditiona­l preparatio­n features mostly milk, curd and whey products in some parts of the continent.

If you are looking for a food adventure, then let us try to explore more about this cuisine and find out why more people are interested to try it.

African cuisine will likely entice your palate because of its colourful presentati­on, with mixed flavours brought about by local ingredient­s added to each dish.

In a study that was conducted over 20 years in 187 countries across the world, home to 89% of the world’s population, it was observed that diets from Sub-saharan African are healthier compared to diets from other parts of the world, because such cuisine contains mostly dietary fibre, with low sugar, fat, and salt.

African examples

Though West African cuisine may remain an enigma to many of us, historical­ly speaking it is one of the world’s most influentia­l food cultures.

For anyone looking to explore the wider world of West African food, we recommend first trying kenkey, jollof rice, fufu, chicken Yassa, and egusi.

Here are some of the things you should know about African cuisine.

Grown locally

In his television series Africa on a Plate, celebrity chef, Lentswe Bhengu said: “The different African cuisines are directly related to the produce grown specifical­ly in those regions.

If you go to central, East, and West Africa, they use lots of cassava, they have certain types of ingredient­s that only grow in that area.”

Food and travel blogger Maria Kennedy also highlights the following: Great for veggies

In a lot of African cuisines, you will notice that there is significan­tly less meat used in dishes than is common in the Western world.

This means that food is cheaper and of course healthier too. If you are a vegetarian, you won’t struggle to find something tasty wherever you go. Popular vegetables include okra, yams, black-eyed peas and sweet potatoes, as these grow in the high heat of Africa.

Starch is the base

A lot of traditiona­l African meals are centred on various starches, with other ingredient­s added to create the dishes. Starches are usually something like porridge, grits, cornmeal, or fried bread.

The tastes and flavours are then changed depending on whatever ingredient­s are added.

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