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5 African foods you NEED to try

By Imani LaTortue, ONE Digital Intern

The continent of Africa is filled with a wide array of beautiful countries—all with even more amazing cuisine. There are plenty of options: from salty to sweet, numerous consistencies, meat-filled dishes, and options for vegetarians. Here are five African foods that you should have on the menu in your home or even try the next time that you eat out:

Jollof Rice

Photo credit: Ask4ugo/Wikimedia Commons

As one of the most adored western African dishes, jollof rice is a must-have. Like many popular foods, there is no one way to make it and that leads to a huge debate as to who or even what region makes the best jollof rice. Nigerians, Ghanaians, and so many other countries stand firmly by their variations and deem anything different “inauthentic.” Typically it’s made with rice, tomatoes, tomato paste, and numerous meats, spices, and vegetables. Jollof rice is usually reserved for festive celebrations, but since it’s so unanimously delicious, there’s no limit to when it can be made.


Photo credit: Bli/Wikimedia Commons

Often known as the national dish of South Africa, bobotie is a sweet and spicy dish that consists of curried minced meat and is baked with fruit (like raisins) and a creamy, egg-based topping. The origins of bobotie stem using leftovers from a Sunday roast to create what is now a beloved meal.


Photo credit: Zakouski/Wikimedia Commons

Also known as foo-foo, foufou, or foutou, this dish is popular across western and central Africa. In eastern Africa, a similar dish is ugali and southern Africa’s take on it is known as sadza. It is a very soft, pounded yam that can be compared to mashed potatoes, but with a denser consistency. Fufu is often eaten with stews, soups, and sauces surrounding it.

Cassava Leaf and Rice

Photo credit: T.K. Naliaka/Wikimedia Commons

Popular in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, this stew is a staple. The cassava leaves are pounded and cooked with meats, fish, water (or coconut milk), and other ingredients depending on the region and recipe. Cassava leaves contain plenty of beneficial antioxidants and have properties comparable to that of carrots.


Photo credit: ChildofMidnight/Wikimedia Commons

Want to satisfy your sweet tooth? Try mandazi, which is like an East African doughnut. At first sight, it’s comparable to a beignet, but of course, it has its own special flare. It is typically made with water, sugar, flour, yeast, and milk, with some recipes calling for coconut milk to give this popular street food a sweeter taste. Some street vendors add a bit of a spicy kick, but it’s not overbearing. Mandazi can be topped off with grated fresh coconut, coconut flakes, and/or powdered sugar. It can also be dipped into various sweet or savory sauces.

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