food culture

Africans are proud of their culture and richness of their cuisine. Cooking, sharing food and eating are social events and a community experience because food acts as the medium that brings family and friends together.

The food culture of Africa blends the traditions of many cultures and influences and therefore it is difficult to refer one particular food and call is as African cuisine. The various cuisines of the continent can be broken up into geographical regions. Each region has its own distinctive dishes, preparation techniques, eating and drinking habits, and this immensely rich diversity makes African cuisines unique from region to region. While rice features prominently in African cuisines, a lot of other products like locally grown fruits and vegetables, grains, meat and dairy products constitute African diet.

In East Africa, people rely mainly on grains and vegetables, with meat rarely consumed in this region. Local produce such as bananas, fish, and coconuts feature prominently. Maize is used in most of the dishes of this region, Ugali being the famous. Portuguese influence can be seen in this region, particularly on marinating and barbequing techniques.  In Uganda, Matoka is the most famous dish prepared with steamed plantains (green bananas).  It serves as carb-filler of many meals.

The food of North Africa has been heavily influenced by the foreign visitors and invaders. Olives are an important produce in North Africa and olive oil is frequently used in cooking. Other than this, Koshari, a dish of pasta, lentils, and rice is considered to be the national dish of Egypt. Meat stews prepared in urns are popular in several countries. Wheat, semolina, spices such as saffron, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves are some other food items popular in North African countries brought by the foreign visitors.

Western African cuisine tends to rely on heavy starchy foods and the popular starchy food of this region is Fufu. Fufu is made from the yam flour and is normally accompanied by sauces or stews. Africans are fond of Fufu and they don’t feel full unless they’ve had their Fufu. The boldly flavored spices like chilly, and peppers and fresh sauces are also widely consumed. Water, palm wine, and millet beer are common beverages of this region.

Cuisines in the southern region of Africa have a blend of many cultures with European and Asian influences. Potjiekos, a stew of meat and vegetables is a traditional dish of this region that is cooked in a cast iron pot suspended over coals. Beer and Mageu are popular drinks of the region. Boboti is a well-known South African dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping.  The wine of this region is the best quality wine in the world.

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