From the humble maize/grain porridges and root vegetables that form the basis of so many diets, to grand feasting dishes such as breyanis, tagines, stews and aromatic curries, Africa's favorite foods offer something for every palate.
This article focuses on regional dishes that you might enjoy in the some of the more popular tourist destinations.
1. Pap en vleis/Shisa nyama, South Africa
Barbecued meat and maize porridge is a combination dearly beloved across many cultures in Southern Africa, and particularly in South Africa, where the braaivleis is a treasured institution and practically a national sport.
Shisa nyama, meaning "burn the meat" in Zulu, has come to refer to a festive "bring-and-braai" gathering; Shisa nyama restaurants are often located next to butchers' shops so patrons can select their own meats and have them cooked to order over fiercely hot wood fires.
2.Piri piri chicken, Mozambique
Mozambique's cuisine is a heady blend of African, Portuguese, oriental and Arab flavors -- think fragrant spices, hot piri piri and creamy coconut sauces, with hints of cashews and peanuts.
Sizzling, spicy prawns and seafood are often a first choice for visitors to Maputo, but don't miss the iconic Mozambican dish Galinha à Zambeziana, a succulent feast of chicken cooked with lime, pepper, garlic, coconut milk and piri piri sauce.
It's generally known simply as grilled chicken piri piri by tourists, and is traditionally served with matapa, a dish of cassava leaves cooked in a peanut sauce.
3. Jollof rice and egusi soup, Nigeria
It's not easy pinning down a national favorite dish for Nigeria, because this is a vast country with many distinct regional cuisines.
But one dish you shouldn't leave Nigeria without eating is jollof rice, a great favorite all over West Africa, and one that is thought may be the origin of the Cajun dish jambalaya.
A simple, spicy one-pot dish comprising, at its most basic, rice, tomatoes, onions and pepper, it's often served at parties and other festive gatherings, along with other Nigerian favorites such as egusi soup (made with ground melon seeds and bitter leaf), fried plantains and pounded yam (iyan or fufu).
Other dishes to try in Nigeria include thick, spicy broths made with okra and flavored with chicken or meat, and suya, which are spicy Nigerian shish kebabs (similar to Ghana's chichinga) cooked over braziers by street vendors.
4. Bunny chow, South Africa
No one's quite sure how bunny chow came to be named, but what is certain is that this hollowed-out half- or quarter-loaf of white bread filled with a blistering-hot curry is one of South Africa's most treasured street foods.
The meat and vegetable curries that fill bunny chows were bought to South Africa by Indian indentured laborers who came to South Africa in the 19th century to work on the sugar-cane fields.
Available as takeaways in all major cities, but the best bunnies come from Durban.
5. Kapenta with sadza, Zimbabwe
Kapenta, comprising two species of small freshwater fish native to Lake Tanganyika, were introduced to Lake Kariba and now are a much-loved source of protein for lakeside populations of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
6. Chambo with nsima, Malawi
The eyes of Malawians away from home may well fill with tears when you say the word "chambo" to them -- it's the most popular and best-known fish found in Lake Malawi, and a great national favorite.
It's served grilled along the lake shore, usually with nsima (a stiff porridge very similar to South Africa's pap and Zimbabwe's sadza) or with chips.
7. Namibian venison, Namibia
Good venison can be sampled all over Southern Africa, but Namibians will insist that the very best gemsbok, kudu, zebra, warthog, ostrich and springbok is to be found at restaurants and game lodges across their country.
8. Muamba de Galinha, Angola
Also known as chicken muamba, this is a spicy, somewhat oily stew made with with palm oil or palm butter, garlic, chilis and okra. Variations of chicken muamba, such as poulet moambé, are to be found all over the Congo River region, where it's often served with cassava leaves and white rice.
9. Cape breyani, South Africa
A treasured classic of Cape Malay cuisine, breyani is a fragrant dish comprising layers of marinated meat, rice, lentils and spices topped with crisp-fried onions and hard-boiled eggs.
10. Zanzibari biryanis and pilaus, Zanzibar
You can practically feel the warm breath of the trade winds in your face as you taste these great celebration dishes, both based on rice and the exotic array of spices synonymous with Zanzibar.
There are all sorts of variations on biryani, ranging from humble vegetable assemblages to more complex ones incorporating meat and seafood; pilau tends to be a one-pot dish generously spiced with cardamom, cumin and pepper.
11. Nyama na irio, Kenya
This well-loved dish, originally a Kikuyu staple that has spread through Kenya, is made of mashed-up potatoes, peas, beans, corn and onion and often served with spiced roasted meat to make a delicious dish called nyama na irio.
12. Koshari, Egypt
If you want a taste of what ordinary Egyptian families eat at home, you can't go wrong with koshari (variously spelled koushari and koshary), a nourishing vegetarian dish of rice, lentils, macaroni, garlic and chickpeas, bought together by a spicy tomato sauce and topped off with fried onion.
13. Pastilla au pigeon/b'stilla, Morocco
Moroccan tagines and couscous dishes have earned their glory on the world's culinary stage in recent decades, but this is one dish you'll not find in an average cookbook.
A complex and many-faceted feast dish, pastilla au pigeou (also known as b'stilla) is sweet and savory; substantial and delicate.
It's a pie comprising shredded cooked squab (or, more often, chicken, when pigeon is hard to find) thickened with egg sauce and interspersed with paper-thin pastry and layers of nutty, spicy filling. Please Join Our Forum Today For More Updates, Click here
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