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Reasons to Miss African Food During the Holidays

The narrative on Africa continues to harp on the positives found on the continent. In one breath, Africa qualifies as the next business and new economic frontier. At other times, the ingenuity of her people holds your attention. In other instances, the diversity in climate, weather, natural wonders, flora, and fauna amazes to no end, drawing millions of tourists every year. The greatest reason to miss African borders is the foods and desserts of her populace. Whether you have a sweet tooth or you want to tow the path of healthy and conscious eating during the holiday, Africa food offers a piece of everything and more.

From the ubiquitous maize porridges and spiced vegetables forming the staples of so many diets to exotic dishes such as breyanis, tagines, stews and aromatic curries. Africa’s favorite holiday foods delight your taste buds, time and again. In no particular order, here is a list of regional meals for your kind consideration as you enjoy your holiday season.

Pap en vleis/Shisa nyama, South Africa

Pap en vleis

If you ever find yourself on a vacation in the Rainbow nation, do your best to grab a bite of the popular Shisa nyama. This meal prides itself as the way South Africans cook meat.

This tasty meal comes from the Zulus. It means to burn meat. You get much more from this delicacy which includes offerings of maize porridge and generous helpings of spicy gravy, relish or chakalaka.

You enjoy great flexibility with this food as you can order from a wide variety of meats including steak, chops, kebabs, chicken, and boerewors (a hot farmer’s sausage). A cold local beer serves as a wonderful accompaniment.

Where to enjoy this delicacy

Eating a dish of Shisa Nyama is a culinary exercise in South African culture. Rather than stay at home on a Sunday, you have the perfect excuse to hang out with friends and family, at any popular joint. (You can check out this Shisa Nyama-themed eatery; the Chaf Pozi)

Peri Peri Chicken, South Africa


What can be better than the pristine beaches and waters of this beautiful nation? It definitely will be this iconic chicken dish. It comes with a succulence boosted with generous additions of lime, pepper, garlic, coconut milk and Piri Piri sauce. Excite your taste buds further by eating the chicken with matapa; this is a dish of cassava leaves cooked in a peanut sauce.

How to enjoy Peri Peri Chicken

Again, enjoy this dish in the company of friends and family. Check out this recipe to make it for your own dinner or party!

Jollof Rice and other assortments, Nigeria


If you visited Nigeria without tasting this famous African dish, get on the next return flight! It is that good! This meal is celebrated across the entire West African sub-region for its vibrant taste and diverse offering.

At its most basic, jollof rice is a simple, spicy one-pot dish consisting of rice, tomatoes, onions, pepper and groundnut oil.

This meal goes down really well with other delicious side dishes including fried plantain, suya, and spicy Nigerian shish kebabs.

How and When to enjoy Jollof Rice

Jollof rice is the most popular dish served at events in Nigeria, going by the moniker ‘party rice’. Jollof rice also serves as a weekend staple in many homes across Nigeria.

In case you want to eat this dish in a convivial atmosphere, head over to Yellow Chili, at 27 Oju Olobun Close, off Bishop Oluwole Street, Lagos.

Bunny Chow, South Africa

South African Food bunny chow shutterstock

If you think you have seen it all when it comes to bread, then you could have a point. After all, bread has been with us from time immemorial. Yet, if you’re currently on vacation in South Africa and come across a hollowed-out half loaf with steaming, hot-curry brew, fret not! Welcome to the world of Bunny Chow, the authentic street grub of major cities in South Africa.

The Bunny chow comes from an exciting mixture of meat and vegetable curries, cooked over a smoldering fire. Historians attribute the recipe to the infusions from immigrant, indentured Indian laborers. These people worked the sugar fields of South Africa in the 19th century.

Where to enjoy the Bunny Chow Barometer

Do you desire the complete Bunny Chow eating experience? Then head to the annual the Bunny Chow Barometer. The event holds every September, at the Blue Lagoon, on the South Bank of the Umgeni River. You will meet thousands of fellow enthusiasts bound by the appeal and taste of this African meal.

Muamba de Galinha, Angola

Muamba de Galinha

The oil-rich state of Angola is among the top tourist destinations in Africa. One of the main reasons for this is her cuisine. Also referred to as Chicken Muamba, the Muamba de Galinha is a spicy, somewhat oily stew made with palm oil or palm butter, garlic, chilis, and okra.

This meal shows great versatility and variation. You have the Poulet Moambé, which is another favorite dish in Angola and across the Central Africa region. You could also request the nyembwe chicken, spiced with palm or macadamia nuts. The Muamba is spicy. Food enthusiasts recommend you take this meal with traditional African porridges like the funge, fufu, and ugali.

Where to enjoy the Muamba de Galinha

If you love to travel, the best places to thrill your taste buds with this meal while in the country are the effervescent beach restaurants on Ilha de Luanda.  It is a small island off Luanda. If you’re not traveling anytime soon,  should your culinary sense of adventure kick in, try your hands on this recipe.

Madagascar Vanilla Bean Fruity Clafouti (A dessert)

The eating habits of the average Madagascan is as diverse as the beautiful beaches and coastlines of the country. One food takes prime position, the tongue-twisting Vanilla Bean Fruity Clafouti. But it sure will excite your taste buds and leave you yearning for more. Served either warm/fresh or cooled, the Clafouti is great for outdoor occasions like a picnic or get-together.

You can play with the consistency to make it more like a cake or custard. You could also choose whatever fresh berries you like. Do you want a hands-on experience making this dessert? This recipe gives you all the information and know-how required.

This list is by no means exhaustive. If you have tasted these meals and more during your stay on the continent, who says you can’t relive the experience as often as you wish? Try your hands on recipes and infuse your own ideas into the mix.

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