If the beginning of the barbecue might well have been held in Africa, it is one continent that could be said to have invented cooking. There are several foods on the continent but some stand out as the best foods in Africa. However, African cuisines particularly those from south of the Sahara are unappreciated on the global food scene.
Top 10 Best Foods In Africa
From the simple maize porridges, grain porridges, and root vegetables that form the base of so many different diets, to the grand meals like stews, tagines, biryanis, and delicious curries, the most popular African food options are something for everyone’s taste.
1. Pap en vleis/Shisa nyama, South Africa
Barbecued meats and maize porridge are a combo popular across many communities in Southern Africa, particularly in South Africa, where the braaivleis is an enduring institution and is practically a sporting event that is a national pastime. Pap en vleis literally, maize porridge and meat is a vibrant broad term that covers virtually every combination of braised or stewed meat, along with the obligatory addition of gravy, relishes, or chakalaka. It is one of the best foods in Africa.
Shisa nyama, which means burn the meat in Zulu is now used to mean a party or bring-and-braai gathering. Shisa nyama establishments are typically situated near butcher shops so that customers can choose their meats and cook them according to their preferences over burning wood-fired grills. Chops, steaks chicken, kebabs, chops, and boerewors, a spicy farmer’s sausage are served with maize porridges available in various forms, such as Phu Thu (the pap) as well as Krummelpap (crumbly porridge) or suurpap (soured pap).
2. Piri Piri chicken, Mozambique
The cuisine of Mozambique is a delicious mix that combines African, Portuguese, oriental & Arab flavors, thick delicious spices, hot Piri, and coconut-based creamy sauces with hints of peanuts and cashews. Spicy, hot prawns and seafood are often the first option for those visiting Maputo.
Don’t overlook the famous Mozambican dish Galinha A Zambeziana which is a delicious dish of chicken that is cooked with garlic, lime, pepper, coconut milk, and Piri sauce. It’s usually referred to as grilled chicken Piri-Piri by foreigners and is typically consumed with matapa a meal made consisting of cooked cassava leaves in a peanut sauce.
3. Jollof rice and Egusi soup, Nigeria
It’s difficult to pinpoint the most popular national dish in Nigeria as it is a large country with numerous regional dishes. However, one food you shouldn’t leave Nigeria without tasting is Jollof rice, which is a favorite across West Africa, and one that has been suggested to be the source for the Cajun dish jambalaya. The Simple and spicy dish is made from the most basic ingredients comprising rice, tomatoes, pepper, and onions. It is one of the best foods in Africa.
It’s usually served at parties and other celebration gatherings. Other Nigerian favorites comprise the Egusi soup (made using melon seeds ground as well as bitter leaves) cooked plantains, fried plantains, and crushed yam and cassava (iyan and fufu). Other food options that you can try from Nigeria include spicy, thick broths that are made of pepper and flavored with meat, chicken, or suya, which can be spicy Nigerian shish Kebabs (similar to the Ghanaian Chichinga) cooked in braziers and sold by street vendors.
4. Bunny Chow, South Africa
It’s not clear how the bunny chow came about to be named, however, what’s evident is the fact that this hollowed-out half-or quarter-loaf of white bread is filled with a fiery-hot curry is among the most sought-after street food items.
The curries of vegetables and meat that make up bunny chows were brought into South Africa by Indian indentured workers who came to South Africa in the 19th century to work in sugar-cane fields. They are available for takeaway in every major city and the best candies are from Durban.
5. Kapenta along with sadza, Zimbabwe
Crisp-fried Kapenta is a culinary highlight for many tourists to Zimbabwe. Kapenta comprises two species of freshwater fish that are native to Lake Tanganyika but were introduced to Lake Kariba and now are an extremely sought-after source of protein to the lakeside communities in Zambia and Zimbabwe. As with many African cuisines, kapenta comes usually served with an abundance of delicious maize porridge, referred to by the people of Zimbabwe by the name of sadza.
Kapenta is available fresh and dried. It is cooked with onions, tomatoes, and groundnut powder. It’s eaten with freshly-cut greens. Don’t grab a fork and knife to devour your kapenta. the traditional way to consume it is to scoop the sadza in your hands and dip it in a sauce, or roll it around in the condiments of the fish and relishes. Another food to try while visiting Zimbabwe is fresh bream or fresh tilapia from Lake Kariba, grilled or cooked with lemon butter.
6. Chambo with nsima, Malawi
Lake Malawi is home to more fish species than any other lake in the world. The Malawians’ eyes in the diaspora might well be filled up with tears when you mention chambo to them. It’s the most loved and well-known fish on the shores of Lake Malawi, and a very popular national food item. It is usually served with the nsima (a hard porridge that is like the pap of South Africa and Zimbabwe’s sadza) or chips.
Chambo isn’t complete without ndiwo, which is a delicious relish made from the leaves of cassava or pumpkin tomatoes, and groundnut powder. Nsima and ndiwo are staples in the neighboring country of Zambia and Ifisashi the dish that consists of greens served in peanut sauce. Chambo is one of the best foods in Africa.
7. Namibian venison, Namibia
It is possible to sample good venison across Southern Africa, but Namibians will say that the top gemsbok, kudu warthog, ostrich, and springbok can be had at game lodges and restaurants across their country. Namibian cooking is marked by strong German or South African influences, with traditional German dishes like sausages, cured meats, Eisbein, and sauerkraut mixing with South-African style braaivleis, potjiekos, and biltong.
Enjoy your venison in traditional Namibian staples such as oshifima (maize porridge) or mahangu (pearl millet) and most importantly an energizing tankard or two of a fine Namibian beer. The meal is undoubtedly one of the best foods in Africa
8. Muamba de Galinha, Angola
It is similar to the well-known Caldeirada de Peixe (fish stew) which shows the impact of Portuguese cuisine in this former colony and is regarded as an Angolan national dish treasure. Also called chicken Muamba, it is an oily and spicy stew that is made using palm oil, or palm butter as well as chilis, garlic, and the okra. There are many variations of chicken Muamba like poulet moambe which can be found throughout the Congo River region, where it’s usually served with cassava leaves and white rice.
Another variation, nyembwe Chicken is a popular dish in Gabon and it is cooked with macadamia or palm kernels. Because it is so spicy and rich the chicken Muamba is perfect with the central African starchy porridges like Fufu, Funge, and Ugali that are deemed boring by western palates. Caldeira de Cabrito is another one of Angola’s most loved dishes. This stew for kids or goats is prepared using wine, potatoes, and tomatoes and it is usually eaten to commemorate Independence Day on November 11.
9. Cape breyani, South Africa
A classic that is a treasured part of the Cape Malay cuisine, breyani is a delicious dish that consists of layers of marinated meat, rice spice, and lentils, topped with crispy-fried onions and hard-boiled eggs. It remains one of the best foods in Africa.
The one-pot slow-cooked meal which is a favorite for feeding large crowds during parties and special occasions was brought to the Cape from the East in the early days of the slave trade as well as additional “Malay” dishes such as pickled fish, bredies bobotie, and denningvleis.
10. Zanzibari biryanis and pilaus, Zanzibar
It’s almost like feeling the warm breeze from the winds of trade on your skin as you enjoy these celebrated wonderful dishes that are both built on rice and the exotic assortment of spices associated with Zanzibar. There are many biryani variations, ranging from simple vegetable assemblages to more elaborate ones that incorporate seafood and meat.
Pilau is usually an all-in-one dish that is seasoned with cumin, cardamom, and black pepper. They are both delicious when accompanied by the fresh onion and tomato salad, which is popular across East Africa. Another traditional dish of Zanzibar is urojo. It is a yellowish soup that is sold by street vendors and made from various ingredients, including pieces of meat, chili mango, ginger, lime, and tamarind. The meal is one of the best foods in Africa.