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What Type of Food Do People Eat in Africa?

Updated July 19, 2017

African food is as diverse as its people and culture. Through trade and colonisation, ideas and tastes have been introduced by various countries from Europe and the Middle East, and they have been blended with those of the locals.

Basic Characteristics

Throughout most of the continent, African food is heavily based in starch. Common African starches include sorghum, ground millet, cornmeal, potatoes, yams and rice. Stews are a popular form of preparation, often containing hot spices.

South Africa

South African food contains perhaps the greatest degree of international influence on the continent, namely the meat preparations of the English and the agriculture of the Dutch. In addition, a large Indian work force from England brought curries, spices and lentil dishes.

West Africa

Coastal parts of West Africa use seafood in stews and marinades, with other ingredients such as tomatoes, ginger and hot peppers. Tropical fruits such as coconuts, bananas and melons are popular.

East Africa

East Africa contains the largest amount of game resources. Oddly enough, however, meat is almost entirely absent from the diet there, and products such as blood and milk are more popular.

Other Regions

Northern Africa, a Muslim region that spans from Morocco to Egypt, borders the Mediterranean. Its food reflects that of other Mediterranean areas such as Greece and southern Italy. Ethiopia has a meat-based diet that mostly lacks foreign influence.

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About the Author

Justin Higgins has traveled throughout South America. He writes articles that appear on various websites with a focus on travel and science-related topics. Higgins is a graduate from Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Arts in cultural anthropology.