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Here Are 50 of the Best African Foods From Across the Continent

We asked and you answered. Here is the best African food that you need to try.

Trying to figure out Africa's best dish is an impossible task, so we put the question to our audience to try and get a list of the 50 must-try foods when traveling in Africa or to try and replicate at home. If you're lucky, there's a restaurant serving one of these dishes in your hometown. Recently many of Africa's favorite foods have been popping up on menus worldwide.

Nigerian standbys like suya and fufu can be found easily in the immigrant-rich neighborhoods of New York and London while Moroccan tajine is practically a home cooking staple in many countries, albeit probably not in the way Moroccans know it. Senegalese thieboudienne and (Nigerian, Ghanaian, Sierra Leonean) jollof are coming close to that global ubiquity too while East African favorite chapatis and samosas tend to get lumped in with their cousins from the Indian subcontinent.

READ: A Quick Guide to Fufu, an African Staple Food

One things for certain: African food is just as diverse as its people. From the West to the East to the North and South, some foods are so delectable that they're worth taking a trip for.

We asked our audience to share some of their favorite dishes from their country and tell us why. We received colorful responses that introduced us to a world of delightful, adventurous dishes that have us wondering how we can make it to each and every country on the continent some time in the near future.

Below we give you 50 of the best African foods from various countries, based on our own favorites and your responses. If your country is not represented on this list, feel free to send your favorite dish our way via socials.

Chapati

Chapatis

Via Wikimedia commons

Country: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda

While this delicious staple originates in India, the unleavened flat bread is one of the most popular staples in East African cuisine, it can be enjoyed any time of day, and is often eaten with lentils, beef stew and other sauces.

"It's versatile. It can be had for breakfast, afternoon snack or main entree for dinner."—Wangari

Palm Butter

Country: Liberia, Gabon

Palm butter is a thick sauce made by boiling and grinding palm nuts. The silky buttery richness of this dish as its ladled over rice is where it gets its name. It can be used to cook a wide variety of proteins from crawfish to goat. Many have their preferred version, but Liberians like it with plenty pepper. In Liberia, it's usually served for lunch.

"Flavor, flavor, flavor."—Alfreda

Beyenatu

Via Wikimedia Commons

Country: Ethiopia

Ethiopian restaurants can be found all over the African continent and, in fact, the world. It's a varied cuisine, popular for the wide variety of spices and, of course, injera, the delightfully spongy sourdough bread which diners use to scoop up aromatic stews and sauces. One of our readers' favorites, beyenatu is a tasty vegetarian dish consisting of lentils, beats, spiced greens and a combination of other tasty vegetables, and is served with injera, of course. It's best shared.

"It's healthy and delicious!"—Felicia Genet

Pondu (Saka-Saka)

Country: DRC

Pondu is a classic Congolese stew made of cassava leaves, onions, chili, and palm oil. Eat it with white rice for a filling, delectable meal.

"It's so famous and good that even people in neighboring countries like Rwanda also cook it."—Digata Kabongo

"Because we don't get enough credit for our food!!!"—Quentin

Kitfo

Country: Ethiopia

Many non-Ethiopians know the cuisine as a vegetarian's favorite but while there are an incredible number of vegetable forward Ethiopian dishes, none gets quite the reaction from Ethiopians themselves like the meaty Kitfo.

Kitfo is a spiced raw beef dish, seasoned with traditional Ethiopian spices like mitmita (a chili powder blend) and niter kibbeh (clarified butter with herbs).

[I love] its buttery goodness. You can't make it wrong unless you make it uneatable. It is raw minced meat."—Feven Mekonenn

Pweza wa nazi

Country: (Zanzibar) Tanzania

Swahili is one of the great world cuisines with influences that span the Indian Ocean basin and the African continent. Its a reflection of the east coast, and Zanzibar in particular's history as a crossroads for trade and empire. There's nothing quite so quintessentially Zanzibari as "pweza wa nazi" or octopus curry. This Zanzibari delicacy consists of octopus braised in lime, spices and coconut milk until it's tender. It's a true seafood lover's dream.

Caranguejo e Coco (Coconut Crab Curry)

Country: Mozambique

Visualize a table by the beach, little limes and chilis on the table and a bowl of fresh crab sitting in a rich curry made with savory/sweet coconut milk. Crack open the crabs to get at the fluffy white meat while the fragrant sauce mixes with the rice. Eat with peri peri and a large Manica beer to share.

"I haven't had anything like this anywhere else in the world." —Nicole Freire

Doro Wat

Via Flickr CC

Country: Ethiopia

Ethiopia's star chicken dish, cooked with clarified butter and jam packed with spiced herbs.

"It's such amazing dish to ever indulge in."—Mozi

"It's popular for holidays and events. It also takes patience and mad skills to do it right."—Mahlet

Bunny Chow

Country: South Africa

It's a beloved dish created out of necessity. An Indian-South African invention designed to take away. Instead of on a plate with more traditional starches like rice, the curry is ladled into a loaf of bread which acts as a takeaway container and accompaniment to the main event. Originally vegetarian and from the seaside city of Durban, it's now often made with meat, satisfying the tastes of South African from all backgrounds.

The best place to get [bunny chow] is from Oyster Hotel in Durban."—Tasmika Ramkaran

Fufu & Palm Nut Soup

Country: Ghana

"Fufu" is a West African staple that encompasses most starches eaten by hand with a sauce or stew. Cassava fufu is probably the best known. Palm nut soup, like its Liberian cousin palm butter, is a Ghanaian classic made from the oil-rich palm fruit, cooked with chilis, tomatoes, garlic and other flavorful ingredients.

Very delicious! — Kofi Asiedu

Mandazi

Mandazi are like an African donut or fritter

Via flickr cc

Country: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda

These deep fried treats are a ubiquitous East African snack that pair impeccably well with a cup of tea.

"Who doesn't like deep fried sweets?"—Nic

Plasas

Country: Gambia, Sierra Leone

Visitors to Freetown will never forget the smell of plasas, a hearty stew made with leafy greens, meat, peppers, peanut sauce and often dried fish.

"It's literally the best food for every emotion and sickness! I swear it cures everything from a broken heart to a hangover"—Abigail

Yassa Guinar (Yassa Poulet)

Via Flickr cc

Country: Senegal

"You can never go wrong with a well marinated and seasoned chicken that is accompanied by mouth-watering onion sauce that will leave you dreaming for days. This dish can be made in a way that suits the cook and the people that he/she is serving. Add a side of plantains, olives, peas & carrots, substitute the chicken for fish, or just go all out vegetarian; that is the beauty of yassa!"—Mousli

Efo

Country: Nigeria

Leafy green goodness, cooked in palm oil and infused with spices, red onion, stock fish and assorted meats. It pairs well with any starch, including pounded yam, eba, and amala.

"Delicious and nutritious."—Ayo

Seswaa

Seswaa being eaten in Botswana

Via wikimedia commons

Country: Botswana

Made with pounded beef and goat, this dish is a staple in Botswana and is often served during ceremonies and special events.

Fun fact: Botswana is said to be the birthplace of watermelon.

Egusi

Man eating egusi soup and pounded yam

Via Flickr CC

Country: Nigeria, Ghana

Classic West African stew made with pounded melon seeds. You can't go wrong with egusi and a side of rice or fufu.

"Egusi is literally a blast of flavor in every bite. It's savory and pairs well with rice, eba or pounded yam. Simply delicious!"—Dara

Caldeirada de Cabrito

Country: Angola, Mozambique

This hearty goat meat and potato stew is eaten on special occasions like Angolan Independence Day. It's often seasoned with onion, garlic, bell peppers and a dash of piri piri sauce.

Jollof Rice

Country: Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Togo, Benin, Mali, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Gambia

This one's a no-brainer. It's West Africa's most cherished dish, perfect for large celebrations or at home. No surprise, describing which country with the best jollof is no small thing. The biggest rivalry is between Nigerians and Ghanaians so we brought together self-professed jollof experts on video to see whose was best once and for all.

Ndole & Plantains

Ndole, a Cameroonian vegetable stew, with Malta.

Via flickr CC

Country: Cameroon

Ndole is Cameroon's most popular dish, prepared using spinach, bitter leaf and stewed nuts. As our reader Ngum says, if you can't get to Douala to try it, some of the best versions of the dish can be found in Cameroonian restaurants in Paris.

"It's the most popular but NOT our national dish as foreigners often think. We don't have one!"—Ngum

Samosa

Country: Kenya, Tanzania

Who doesn't like samosas? A common snack across East and Southern Africa, this deep fried meat or vegetable pastry pairs well with any meal and is a delightful snack on it's own.

"They all remind me of meals when I visit Kenya where we sit around the table as a family and talk and laugh." — Zilipah Cruz

Suya

A Suya seller in Lagos.

Via Wikimedia Commons

Country: Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Cameroon

"The spicy meat kabab is a delectable street food. Whenever I would have suya growing up, I would feel like I was being given a special treat. You just don't say no to suya.

I once had somewhat of a screaming match with my sister for finishing suya that my mom brought back from Nigeria. I just thought it to be so wildly inconsiderate of her. Yes, it's that serious.

I once heard about vegan suya—which I just can't see to wrap my head around. No shade. "—Damola

Nsaka madesu

Country: Congo

This comforting dish is made of cassava leaves and beans, cooked with onions garlic and peppers.

"Every time I go to a family meeting we eat this, it is part of all of my family memories."—Lucie

Tajine

Tajine: Moroccan food named after the dish it's cooked in.

Via Flickr CC

Country: Morocco

This slow cooked stew or casserole of meats and vegetables is named after the ornate pot that's it's cooked in. The ultimate one-dish comfort food.

"For its taste, infinite combinations, simplicity and symbolism... tajine reminds us of family and friends meeting. Waiting for the tajine to be brought, and enjoying beforehand the smell of the cooking smoke teases you in the meantime! The best part is probably when the host let you discover the content of the, still hot and savory, Tajine !

There are as many good tajines as families in Morocco ! "—Yassin

Nyama choma

Country: Kenya

Nyma choma is Swahili for "grilled meats" and one of the country's most beloved dishes. Check out the video above on Kenya's popular street food.

Best memory: "When the boys finished all the goat ribs and we led an uprising to get our share."—Nepurko

Matoke and ground nut paste

Country: Uganda, Rwanda

Matoke is the green cooking banana that's a staple in Ugandan cuisine, paired with slow cooked peanut sauce, it makes for a uniquely tasty meal.

"Uganda being ethnically diverse, matooke is mostly eaten by the Bantu, however, it is eaten all over the country."—Sandra Martha Batakana

Shito

The spicy Ghanaian hot sauce shito, Jowenko brand.

Via Flickr CC

Country: Ghana

This spicy condiment is found all over Ghana. Made of chilli peppers and seafood—usually dried fish skin or shrimp—shito adds a spicy kick to any meal.

Rolex

The image shows a "Rolex" merchant frying chapatis. Rolex in Uganda refers to a delicacy prepared in a few minutes , its made by frying eggs and then a chapati is wrapped around the egg and rolled. It is a very delicious treat, that has gained massive popularity over the years.

Via Wikimedia Commons

Country: Uganda

This popular Ugandan breakfast food combines eggs and vegetables wrapped in chapati. It's Uganda's very own breakfast sandwich.

"Rolex is now a top snack/food and was even ranked best African food by CNN."—Sandra Martha Batakana

Cachupa

Cachupa is a traditional Cape Verdean stew served here with white wine.

Via Flickr CC

Country: Cape Verde

Cachupa is a slow-cocked stew consisting of peas, sweet potato, beans, corn, carrots and fish or meat. Every mouthful offers warm, nourishing goodness.

"It's Cape Verde's most traditional dish."—Sara

Fufu with groundnut stew and okra

Countriy: Ghana

Pounded cassava served with a spicy peanut stew and okra, multiple variations on this dish are served in West Africa. A true classic.

"One of the best [food experiences] I've had was traveling with a Ghanaian friend in a small village where we entered a wooden shack and fufu and groundnut stew was the only food served. It was delicious! The spice made you sweat and cool off in the heat!"—Martha Ma

Mogodu

Mogodu, South African tripe stew served here by woman in Soweto.

Via Flickr CC

Country: South Africa

South Africans love their cows and sheep, and tripe this is one of the most beloved parts of the animal to eat. Mogodu is a classic, Southern African tripe dish that can be found anywhere in the country. Try it with spicy chakalaka relish.

Palmnut sauce with plantain fufu or omo tuo

Country: Côte D'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Benin, Togo

"Growing up in France on the countryside, it was difficult for my mother to find the ingredients to make it so, we would only have it for special occasions. It was always on our Christmas menu."—Marie-Ange

Ofada Stew

Nigerian Ofada stew with rice and banana leaf and egg.

Via Wikimedia Commons

Country: Nigeria

Fun Fact: Another popular name for this stew is "Mama Put."

"It's spicy and delicious! Whenever I travelled to Abeokuta we would buy tens of them wrapped in banana leaves." —Motunde

Githeri

Country: Kenya

This traditional Kenyan meal consists of beans and corn boiled together in a large flat bottom pot, of sufuria. I can also be made into a stew with meat and potatoes.

"[I like] eating it when sick, it makes a great dish to feed the body and soul."—Sarah

Waakye

Waakye, Ghanaian food served in a leaf.

Via Wikimedia Commons

Country: Ghana

"It's my favorite Ghanaian dish. I love how the dish consists of 2 types of stew and the crazy thing is that they compliment each other so well! My first time visiting Ghana (we moved to Belgium). We went out on a Friday evening and, as it goes, on the way home we wanted some food to eat. So we stopped at this lady's stand on the way home and let me tell you, it was sooo good! She put the waakye in a big leaf which made it even better!"—Rebecca

Foutou

Woman serving foutou in Ivory Coast.

Via Wikimedia

Country: Côte D'Ivoire

Plantain boiled and pounded in the classic West African style, served with soup.

"The sweetness of the plantain make an excellent accompaniment to any savory, meaty sauce like sauce arachide or sauce graine, and I love its texture."—Cecile-Emmanuelle Ahipeaud Kenny

Thieboudienne

Woman serving Thieboudienne with fish, carrot and aubergine.

Via Wikimedia Commons

Country: Senegal, Mauritania

"First, it's the National Dish. Second, while Nigeria and Ghana fight over who has the best Jollof, the master and namesake country ( Senegal) is sitting in the corner with its special recipe and shaking its head. There were people in my neighborhood who would literally leave their house during lunchtime and go to another house. Why? Because the lady didn't cook thieb. Something I still don't get. And mind you some houses cook that stuff every single day. To this day. I think that's the only dish Senegalese people never get tired of." —Aminah

Isombe

Country: Rwanda

"Not only is isombe delicious, it's also very nutritious. Mommies-to-be (like me) love it because it provides all the nutrients we crave! Made with cassava leaves, palm oil and peanut sauce it's absolutely scrumptious with any starch! You can add meat or keep it vegan. Either way, it's number one in my book!"—Uwase

Kapenta

Kapenta drying in the sun with women and children looking on.

Via Wikimedia Commons

Country: Zambia, Zimbabwe

Kapenta is a type of small dried freshwater fish usually cooked in a savory tomato sauce and served with nshima or sadza—two names for the maize dish that's a staple of Zambian and Zimbabwean cooking.

Ukwa

Country: Nigeria

Ukwa, eaten mostly in Eastern Nigeria, is a flavorful porridge made of breadfruit.

"It's savory, great texture and spices. It's delicious. This is my younger sister's favorite dish. I am picky, but I love this dish, too. I think any time it comes freshly cooked and hot in the plate...that first spoonful is heaven. And the rest is just bliss."—Olivia Obineme

Mufete

Mufete completo is an Angolan grilled fish dish with cassava and plantain.

Via Wikimedia commons

Country: Angola

A dish of grilled tilapia with a beans, boiled plantain, sweet potato, and cassava. A simple but savory meal that always hits the spot.

"I like beans a lot, and if I am going to get fancy this dish is it, a perfect combination of African vegetables, banana, fish and, of course, beans."—Jordy Pedro

Ewa Agoyin and Agege Bread

Country: Nigeria

This dish consisting of boiled beans eaten with a spicy, pepper stew is a Nigerian favorite.

"We have many amazing dishes in Nigeria, but the soft feel of 'shingom,' Agege bread and hot agoyin goes straight to the brain :D" —Tochukwu Jerome Obiefule

Romazava

Country: Madagascar

The national dish of Madagascar is a soup consisting of beef, pork, greens, onions, tomatoes, and garlic slow-cooked in a pot. It is usually eaten with rice.

Malawah

Country: Somalia

A round, sweet pastry like a thin pancake, malawah can be eaten with sugar and honey or with a savory stew. And it's great with Somali spiced milk tea.

"This is a great example of sweet and savory dish tasting AMAZING!!!! It's light but filling because of the beef sauce."—Hanan

Ugali, kienyeji mboga and mursik

Country: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda

Ugali is East Africa's staple starchy food, made with corn flour and usually paired with greens and beef or chicken stew.

Attieke-poisson thon et alloco (cassava, couscous and fried tuna)

Attieke poisson is cassava with fish served in the Ivory Coast.

Via Wikimedia Commons

Country: Côte D'Ivoire

A dish of flaked cassava served with a tomato and onion sauce, along with fried tuna. The spices, with a side of fried plantains, create an unforgettable flavor combination.

"Because it's one of the best dish ever. It never disappoints. You can also be creative and have it with chicken [instead]."—Amandine Dago

Pilau

Country: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda

This dish of garlic, ginger, pepper, onions, and other spices is the East African rice that takes rice to another level.

"Amongst the rice debate in Africa this is often overlooked."—Patricia Awino

Mealie Bread

Country: Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe

This sweet corn bread is ussualy eaten hot out of the oven and is popular across Southern Africa.

Matapa (Cassava leaf stew)

Country: Mozambique

This classic dish consists of cassava leaves cooked in coconut milk, with cashew nuts. It generally contains seafood like shrimp or crab.

Moi Moi

Slices of moi moi, as served at the Nigerian Tapas Restaurant, Chuku's (London, UK)

Via Wikimedia Commons

Country: Nigeria

This Nigerian staple, is made of black-eyed peas, onions and peppers, blended and steamed into a gelatin-like dish. Add some shrimp, fish, corned beef, or boiled egg and you have yourself a treat.

Kachumbari

East African woman proudly holds a bowl of Kachumbari. Kiswahili: Mixed Spicy Salad

Via Wikimedia Commons

Country: Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi

This refreshing salad consists of chopped tomatoes, onions, lemon and chili pepper. Kachumbari is an unbeatable side dish.

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