popular
Photo via Instagram.

Essential Foods You'll Find at an African Party

We know these are the African foods you long for. Let the drooling commence.

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.

No singular cuisine defines any country or region. Culinary scenes are comprised of a mix of influences from indigenous groups, European colonizers as well as ancient trade routes in which we came in contact with Arabic and Indian nomads. There are multiple religious, cultural, historical and topographical factors at play.

Food transcends borders but flavor, my friends, flavor, reigns supreme. Our flavors are complex, bitter, spicy and at times sour but more often than not, they call to mind home.

Africans far and wide are consistently brought together by one thing, FOOD! The quintessential way to enjoy a meal is to do so surrounded by friends and family. With Thanksgiving around the corner, it's only right we put together a list of essential foods you'll find at an African party. Few are the gatherings that don't offer these options.

Please, don't read this on an empty stomach.


Meat

Our diets are heavy in meat. Seriously—ask an African vegetarian to tell you the story of when they revealed they were cutting meat from their diets to their parents and listen carefully to how the experience went. Cue the resounding, "How can you be a vegetarian and an African? That is unnatural."

We roast it, we grill it, we pepper it, and we stuff it in pie. Meat isn't just served alone; It's a way to enhance stew or accompany everything else we place in our meals.

Chicken is eaten everywhere. Goat meat is a prevalent red meat and we love our kebabs from spicy suya to brochettes to shoukouya to tankora.

South Africans, Zimbabweans and Namibians enjoy strips of dried and spiced meat called biltong and boerewors or thick sausage. Both are notorious for being great cures to hangovers!

Cabidela is an Angola dish comprised of rabbit and poultry. The Horn of Africa's tibs are a cross between stir fry and stew made with just about any meat you can get your hands on. Moroccan b'Stilla or poultry pie, typically made with pigeon, is legendary and a starter at most festive occasions. Kofta is South Sudanese soul food comprised of meatballs in tomato sauce.

Fish

As you would imagine, fish is plentiful along coasts. Our fish is dried, smoked, seasoned to perfection, and can be prepared in even more creative ways. West Africans enjoy poisson braisé and they've even made a song about tilapia.

Angolans live for their fish soup or caldeirada de peixe and calulu, dried fish with vegetables.

Dough

You need this bite-sized snack at a special event. West Africans enjoy beignets, bofrot, gbofloto, gnonmi, kala or puff puff.

South Africans have dubbed it vetkoek or fat cake. The people of Mozambique stuff their chamussas with beef. Ethiopians eat sambusas. Mandazi is the swahili coconut doughnut. It really is the perfect little warm and comforting sweet!

Plantains

They came to us from Asia by way of bartering and colonization and our lives were forever changed!

Whether you refer to them as kelewele, dodo, boli, allocco, banana-pão, or makemba, you understand that joy is ripping open a pack of these chips or the way you feel when the smell of fried plantains grazes your nose and you anticipate them in your belly.

Rice

The life of an African can not be sweet without rice. Don't debate us. Whether yellow, fried or mixed with tomato purée (You see what we did there?) it is the perfect accompaniment to any meal.

Nigerians and Ghanaians will be battling out who has the best jollof rice until the end of time. The Senegalese will stand by as the originators and other West African nations will simply indulge. Senegalese fish and rice or thiéboudienne is a national dish. Burkinabés eat babende, a mix of spinach and rice with fermented locust beans. Arabic Al Kabsa, rice and chicken, has made it's way to many nations. A Swahili coast specialty is Pilau.

Couscous

Attiéké is a traditional couscous made from ground cassava roots and dubbed one of Ivory Coast's prized possessions.

Couscous, steamed balls of semolina, is pivotal to a Maghrebi home. Coucous, Foofoo, Fufu, Foufou is also cassava or semolina pounded until it has a dough-like consistency. Some of our fondest memories are watching the women in our families perform this exact task.

Vegetables

We love our veggies—when seasoned correctly with a wide array of spices. Tomatoes, onions and chili peppers enrich many dishes.

South Africans chow down on Chakalaka, a simple, spicy dish of onions, tomatoes and often beans. Ethiopians enjoy gomen or collard greens. Kenyan Mukimo is a Kikuyu tribe staple of mashed potatoes and vegetables. Another notable East African salad dish comprised of fresh tomatoes and onions is Kachumbari. Koki is made from cowpeas and a notable Cameroonian dish as is Ndolé, whose main components are stewed nuts and spinach. Nigerians are more inclined to place okra or egusi in their mélanges.

Sauce or Stew

This is very necessary. No ketchup, just sauce!

Ethiopians and Eritreans pair their injera or bread with wat of all kinds. North Africans are satisfied by tanjines. Runtown has informed us if you are Ghanaian, he hopes your love is a sweet as shito.

*

As you prepare to celebrate the holidays and enjoy the many, many, many meals that will be placed before you, remember:

"Don't take another mouthful before you have swallowed what is in your mouth." -African Proverb

Audrey Lang is an alumna of Northeastern University and a Boston-based site merchandiser. A surveyor of life who's enamored with all things fashion, art and Africa, keep up with her on Instagram and Tumblr.

Arts + Culture
'Sailing Back to Africa as a Dutch Woman,' 2017, from Fortia. By Keyezua, photo courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery.

Our 9 Favorite African Visual Artists of 2018

We look back at the contemporary African visual artists who caught our eye this year.

This year, African visual artists have done their due diligence to carve their own path leading to creative autonomy, authentic storytelling and straight up greatness.

From photography and film, to even mixed-media art, the following have produced stand-out work that deserve their due accolades.

Feast your eyes on our nine favorite African visual artists of 2018 below.

Keep reading... Show less
Style
Image via Beyoncé's Instagram.

Here's Every African Designer Beyoncé Wore During Her Trip to South Africa

"Thank you to the talented African designers who kept me feeling fresh. Y'all go so hard," the singer wrote on Instagram.

Beyoncé opted for bold colors and rich patterns during her trip to South Africa earlier this month for Global Citizen Festival, making a vibrant fashion statement with every outfit she was spotted in.

During her performance, the singer sported an ancient Egyptian-inspired beaded body suit, a bodice designed similarly to traditional Zulu jewelry and an emerald green ensemble made in collaboration with South African designers Enhle Mbali Maphumulo of Manual Rossa Apparel and Quiteria & George—but she rocked African-made looks off the stage as well.

In an Instagram post today, Queen Bey shared a slideshow of some of the striking outfits she rocked while in South Africa, and gave a shoutout to the designers behind them. "Thank you to the talented African designers who kept me feeling fresh. Y'all go so hard," wrote Queen Bey.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Still from Youtube

These Nigerian Songs Broke YouTube and Google Records in 2018

Davido's "Fall" has set another YouTube record, while Wizkid's "Fever" was the most googled Nigerian song.

Nigerian music had a big year, and the numbers prove it.

After becoming the most watched Nigerian music video on YouTube earlier this month, the video for Davido's hit song "Fall" has set a new record, becoming the first Nigerian music video to reach 100 million views on YouTube.

The music video, which was uploaded in 2017, edged out Yemi Alade's memorable 2014 video for "Johnny," which currently sits at 98 million views to claim the title.

READ: Best Nigerian Songs of 2018

Last time we checked in, "Fall," directed by Daps, was sitting at just over 98 million views as well, which means it gained 2 million new views in just 2 weeks, as Konbini points out.

Davido - Fall (Official Music Video) youtu.be

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.