What do Africans like to eat

Africa - the culinary unknown continent

Asia, South America, Eastern Europe - they have all found their way onto our plates. Africa, on the other hand, is still a culinary terra incognita. The cuisine of the black continent has a lot to offer.

First of all: “The” African cuisine does not exist, of course - no wonder considering the size of the continent. The traditional dishes of the various regions are shaped by geographical influences as well as by colonization and immigration. However, African cuisine can be roughly divided into four regions: North Africa, Black Africa, Ethiopia and South Africa.

Arabic influences meet couscous and semolina

The cuisine of the states north of the Sahara, such as Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria, is strongly influenced by Arabian influences. A lot of lamb and fish is eaten here, fresh herbs and spices such as coriander, cardamom or cinnamon are used in large quantities.

Tajine is one of the most famous dishes in the region. The term refers to both the casserole made of clay and the dish prepared in it. These simple stews are part of everyday Maghrebian cuisine and are usually served with couscous, which is made from semolina. However, couscous is not only eaten as a side dish, it is also served as a salad with plenty of fresh mint (tabboule) or as a main course.

The largest geographical part of the continent is covered by black African cuisine - it includes all countries south of the Sahara, with the exception of South Africa. The staple food here is a porridge made from grain or roots, such as cassava, and often replaces bread or other side dishes. Fufu, for example, is very popular throughout West Africa, a porridge made from cassava or yams with plantains that is formed into small dumplings and eaten with soups.

In addition, many vegetables are on the menu in black African cuisine, and fish in the coastal regions. In West Africa, thieboudienne, a stuffed fish with rice, is particularly popular on festive days. Meat is rarely on the table, when chickens, geese or rabbits are very popular. Fruits, both fresh and dried, are an integral part of Black African cuisine and are responsible for their typical taste.

Unknown pleasures and European influence

Despite the geographical affiliation to East Africa, the cuisine of Ethiopia and Eritrea differs fundamentally from that of the rest of Black Africa. The staple food in this region is injera, a flatbread made from sourdough that is served with various sauces (wot).

An Ethiopian meal takes some getting used to for Europeans, as the injera replaces both the plate and the cutlery. The dishes, which are usually very spicy, are picked up with a piece of bread and brought to the mouth. Incidentally, the regionally typical Berbere spice mixture is responsible for the spiciness of the dishes.

The South African cuisine is a typical immigrant cuisine. Germans, French, Dutch, Indians - they all brought their respective kitchens with them to the Cape of Good Hope. Therefore, there is no such thing as “the” South African cuisine, but each region has its own characteristics. Black African dishes are rarely found in South African cuisine.

Typical dishes include the meatloaf Bobotie, which was brought from Malaysia by immigrants, the air-dried beef or venison Bilton (comparable to beef jerky from the USA), the spicy sauce Chakalaka or Vetkoek, deep-fried flatbreads that are filled with sweet or savory can be eaten as breakfast, between meals or with tea or coffee.