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

We asked and you answered. Here are 50 of the best African foods that you need to try.

It's food month here at OkayAfrica and that means that we'll be exploring different African delicacies, sharing recipes, highlighting the best spots for African cuisine, and dropping quick food videos throughout the month of November, so get your taste buds ready.

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

Countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda

Originally from 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

Countries: Liberia, Gabon

Palm butter is a thick sauce made by boiling and grinding palm nuts. In Liberia, it's usually served for lunch.

"Flavor, flavor, flavor."—Alfreda

Beyenatu

Country: Ethiopia

This tasty vegetarian dish consists 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

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

This Zanzibari delicacy consists of octopus cooked in lime and coconut milk. It's a true seafood lover's dream.

Caranguejo e Coco (Coconut Crab Curry)

Country: Mozambique

Fluffy Crab, cooked in a flavorful blend of curry and savory, sweet coconut milk. Enough said.

Doro Wat

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

The popular South African dish satisfies bread and meat lovers alike, with it's curry goodness served inside a hollowed loaf.

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. Palm nut soup is a Ghanaian classic made form palm fruit, cooked with chilis, tomatoes, garlic and other flavorful ingredients.

Mandazi

Countries: 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

Countries: Gambia, Sierra Leone

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)

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

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

Countries: Nigeria, Ghana

Classic West African stew made with 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

Countries: 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

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

This one's a no-brainer. It's West Africa's most cherished and famous dish. We don't want any drama, so you'll have to decide for yourself which county makes it the best.

Ndole & Plantains

Country: Cameroon

Ndole is Cameroon's most popular dish, prepared using spinach, bitter leaf and stewed nuts.

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

Samosa

Countries: Kenya, Tanzania

Who doesn't like samosas? The deep fried meat or vegetable pastry pairs well with any meal and is a delightful snack on it's own.

Suya

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."—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

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"—Yassin

Nyama choma

Country: Kenya

Nyma choma is Swahili for "grilled meats."

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

Countries: 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

Country: Ghana

This paper sauce made of dried fish skin adds a spicy kick to any meal.

Rolex

Countries: 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

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

Countries: 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 Ghanian 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

Country: South Africa

Mogodu is a classic, Southern African tripe dish.

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

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

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

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

Thiebou Djeun

Country: Senegal

"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

Country: Zimbabwe

Kapenta is a type of sardine usually eaten dry, and cookied in a savory tomato sauce.

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

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, banan, 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

Countries: 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)

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

Countries: 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

Countries: 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

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

Countries: 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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Photo still courtesy of YouNeek Studios.

The Official Trailer for 'Malika: Warrior Queen' Is Here

Malika surely means business in the clip that sets the scene for YouNeek Studios' newest animated pilot.

After much anticipation, the new trailer for Malika: Warrior Queen, starring Nollywood's own Adesua Etomi, is finally here.

In the trailer, we already see the Warrior Queen fearlessly stand up to defend her people against enemies who have set their sights on seizing her expanding empire of Azzaz. Facing threats of invasion by foreign cultures, Malika now has to decide how to fight a war both inside her kingdom and outside of it.

"War is coming," she declares.

Malika: Warrior Queen was executive produced by Niyi Akinmolayan of Anthill Studios. The series has been three years in the making, with a two-part comic series already available for reading; and even more so in line with YouNeek Studios' mission to create stories inspired by African history, culture and mythology.

Joining Etomi in the cast are Femi Branch, voicing Chief Dogbari, Deyemi Okanlowon, voicing the WindMaker and King Bass, Blossom Chukwujekwu as Abdul and Sambassa Nzeribe, voicing General Ras.

Check it out below.

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All photos courtesy of Remi Dada

Afropreneurs: Meet the Designer Reinventing Nigerian Workspaces

Remi Dada's Spacefinish is shaking up design to create futuristic work environments for African companies

In the digital age when a fancy rectangle in our pockets can find us whatever we want, customize it and deliver it to our door, it's odd that the same thought process isn't also applied to physical space. Why does every parking lot feel exactly the same? Can waiting rooms be designed to make time pass more quickly? How can we bring these new standards of personalization into the areas where we live our lives?

Nigerian designer, Remi Dada, is doing just that. With both architecture and business degrees, Dada started his career in tech working in user experience and product marketing–eventually ending up at Google Nigeria. Once he started working in the office however, Dada didn't find it to be an environment that sparked inspiration or productivity. It felt more like rooms with tables and chairs rather than a place that nurtured new, progressive ideas. Luckily, the perfect project presented itself: redesign the office. Dada jumped at the opportunity to meld his practical knowledge in user experience with his love of design and architecture–and the result turned some heads.

Thus Spacefinish was born, a pioneering design company based in Nigeria that works with companies to transform ordinary office space into beautiful and functional environments that increase productivity and employee satisfaction. I spoke with Dada about the purpose of Spacefinish, the importance of design in the workspace and the unique properties of designing in Nigeria for Nigerians. Read on for insights from the design entrepreneur on the impact of spaces and what the future holds for the company.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Nereya Otieno for OkayAfrica: In your experience, how important is workspace environment in Lagos? How is it viewed?

It hasn't been prioritized. A lot of employers do not invest heavily in their employees and you can see that in work spaces all over the world. Now, people are also beginning to understand that high-performing employees–especially millennials–want to work in a space that inspires them and with people who inspire them. Right now in Nigeria it is still very new.

We've been able to measure how companies have been performing prior to us renovating their space and afterwards. What we've seen consistently is that our spaces help with employee retention, they help with collaboration and they help with inspiration. One important thing that we always measure and that we try and add to our design is what we call 'PIC.' PIC is the measure of productivity, innovation and collaboration–now we can track that within a workspace. These three key things are the pillars of how we create better work spaces.


A sketch showing plans for a space in the PwC Experience Centre, Lagos.

With that data, it's probably pretty simple to pitch Spacefinish to a company. But what was it like in the beginning to try and sell the first Spacefinish idea outside of Google? You're essentially coming into a stranger's space and saying 'you're doing this wrong.'

True. We were very lucky in that the first space we did was a Google office. It's Google. Everyone aspires to have a workplace like Google and people visiting the office were curious about how a space like that could exist in Nigeria. So there was a lot of interest but no commitments. Our first real commitment came from a company called Andela, a tech startup aspiring to be like the spaces you see in Silicon Valley. But they were looking to create a space just to meet their capacity and meet their head count, that was all. They thought they wouldn't be able to afford what we'd done for Google.

I went and pitched for them to do something different instead of creating the standard, generic workspace that we've all seen. Then I took our approach: connect the expense and cost of that project to the potential output of the team working there and how that could affect the company's bottom line. When we do that, it becomes an easier conversation to have. Once we are able to connect with the key decision makers and give them metrics they actually care about—like it's not about having a pretty space but about having a space that will allow people to achieve their short and long-term goals—they tend to be more receptive.

A meeting room at the Google offices in Lagos.

Do you feel like a bit of a disruptor or trouble maker?

I would say when we started we didn't feel like a disruptor. For me, it felt very natural because it was in line with what I was hired for and the world I was coming from. When you work at Google, you tend to live in an innovation bubble. So we didn't feel like disruptors while it was happening, but when we got people's reactions—the industry's reaction—then we realized that what we were doing was actually groundbreaking and very new to that part of the world.

Okay. And then what do you do after that? You just keep poking at that nerve?

Yeah. [Laughs] So what happens after that is the floodgates open up and we start to see a lot more demand than we can handle as a company. That gave me the confidence to quit my job at Google and do this full time. We are now starting to figure out how to do it to the best of our capacity at the same level, and sometimes surpassing, what our peers are doing across the world.

What do you find is the most important element within the workspace? How does Spacefinish highlight that?

People are the most important element in the workspace. One CEO said that his team was very unruly—weren't well composed. There is a mentality that we all subscribe to, especially coming from Nigeria where you see people at the local airports not obeying the rules. But those same people, as soon as they land in Heathrow, they're suddenly very compliant. They're the same people. The only thing that changed is their environment. New spaces can cause people to change their behavior—they morph into the space. For that client, the leadership was very happy that their team members began acting in the way they wanted them to act when we changed the space. The psychology of the whole thing is very interesting. That's why we take a human-centered approach to design, with a lot of qualitative and quantitative research before we begin.

View of the Vibranium Valley warehouse workspace in Lagos.

I'm originally from California and I grew up in Silicon Valley–it's a very peculiar place simply because of the concentration of resources. There are surely different challenges for a developer in Nigeria versus one in Silicon Valley. What is the most unique thing for you, after all your travels and experience, that makes designing for Nigeria special?

That's a really good question. You rarely find imagery of inland Africa that is progressive and modern. The first time in recent times was the Black Panther movie and that's why it was so huge. Kids could see a different version of what Africa could be in their collective imagination. I'm making this correlation because that is what I think is different for us, from a design standpoint. For example, the Google office in Nigeria looks very Nigerian. It has a lot of cultural nuances and it is locally relevant to the region, however it is a very sophisticated and modern space with all the right technology. There's videoconferencing, micro-efficiency, access control and security but with the backdrop of an African space. When people see that, it feels very fresh and new and there is so much content that we can use to inspire–from artwork to traditions–and we infuse all those things in to the spaces we're creating.

Do you have a favorite space you've done?

All the spaces we've done have been fantastic. But I think my favorite to date is the PwC office, it is an innovation hub and a huge cultural departure for PwC. They are more or less known as a rigid, stoic brand and they wanted a space that defied all of those things. So we created an innovation hub that was super, super, super futuristic and the first of its kind in West Africa. Anyone who knows interior fitouts understands that lines are straightforward but curves are complicated. This space has a lot of curves. That's difficult to do anywhere in the world but 10 times more complicated in Nigeria because we just don't have access to the right tools and technology that you will find elsewhere. But it came out very well and that has been my most exciting space so far.

A look at the PwC Experience Centre, Lagos

Was it also the most challenging?

It was, yes, because of the design ideas we wanted to achieve. We have things like revolving doors that were inspired by the hobbits' shire in Lord of the Rings and a single workstation that extends across the entire space. There are a lot of lights, floating elements and Nsibidi—an ancient African writing system that we used to create a new language. The artwork is very deep and gives a timeline of different instances in Africa where technology has inspired innovation. It was a very involved and challenging project. But we do the challenging things because we feel it allows us to move forward and push boundaries.

Sure. It's exciting for you and everyone you work with but also, I'd say, for the local contractors and artists doing the artwork.

You know, that is something that we do differently. Most architecture firms just design but we design and build. We do that because, when we started, no one in the market really understood what we were doing. We were asking for materials that didn't exist so we had to create our own. Also, everything we do is local, we don't import anything–which can be an even bigger challenge. But we want to know that we are helping to build industries here in Nigeria, we want to help fix the lack of resources in this part of the world. We could import but it doesn't help the community and economic infrastructure in the long run.

A meeting room in Vibranium Valley

I think the first time our impact hit me was when we were building a place called Vibranium Valley. That's been our biggest project so far: a 2,000 square meter office that was built in a massive warehouse. I went there on a Wednesday one day and we had over 200 people working in the space. And for the first time I was like, "Wow, we really have the ability to create jobs as well." It put things in context for me.

Are there any plans to venture outside of offices and corporate workspaces with your human-centered approach? Classrooms, waiting rooms, etc.?

We are actually about to embark on our first non-office project. We are designing and building the interior of two international airports in Nigeria: Lagos and Port Harcourt. Two very massive projects that we couldn't say no to because...no one says no to international airports [Laughs]. So it's a good way to toss us into things outside of the workspace. So everyone should come fly to Nigeria and check it out when we're finished.

Catch Nereya on her Instagram here.

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Still from 'Harriet' trailer.

Watch Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman In the Moving New Trailer for 'Harriet'

The highly-anticipated biopic about the life of the iconic freedom fighter is due out on November 1.

Back in 2017, it was announced that Tony-winning actor and singer Cynthia Erivo would be taking on the role of the iconic freedom fighter Harriet Tubman in the upcoming biopic Harriet. We've been anticipating its release ever since, and today, the trailer for the buzzed about film has finally arrived.

The moving and climactic trailer sees Erivo delivering a convincing performance as Tubman. The film follows the hero's journey from escaping slavery to becoming a legendary abolitionist and freedom fighter. Here's the official description of the film via Shadow & Act:

Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman's escape from slavery and transformation into one of America's greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.
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