West African food

Food tips you can trust


"West African cuisine"

Umbrella term

"West African cuisine" is a useful umbrella term, but not a cuisine per se.

The name embraces dozens of distinct regional and ethnic cuisines set in 20 different West African nations with climates ranging from desert to tropical.

Though there are obvious differences among the local cuisines, there are also commonalities, as I learned during my culinary research trips. They include:

Cooking and dining play an important cultural role in community and family lifestyles.

Most West Africans eat slowly cooked one-pot stews comprising far more vegetables than meat.

They enjoy those stews with a starch staple like pounded yam or plantain.

Peanuts are frequently used as a main ingredient or flavoring agent.

Many dishes are enriched with tomatoes, onions and chilies.

Seafood is especially popular along the coast while goat meat reigns inland. Chicken is cherished nearly everywhere,

Typically, dining is communal and fingers are used to eat.

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