Like any country, Chad has its own unique styles and traditions. This includes the types of food its citizens consume. Although some of these may seem unusual or unappetizing to Westerners, many foods, from millet to tubers, have become a life source for many Chadian people.
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Millet is a grain crop that is not very well known in the Western Hemisphere but is used in myriad ways in the Chadian diet. In fact, it is one of the few ingredients that is as common in the southern part of the country as it is in the north. Millet can be formed into doughy snacks or used to create a porridge, which is one of the most common dishes in Chad. Locals also use this crop to form a paste called boule, which Chadians use in cooking meats and vegetables.
Sun-dried fish is common in southern Chad. The two main variations are known as salanga (smaller fish) and banda (larger fish). The fish, sometimes salted, are laid out in the hot sun to dry before they are consumed. Although the idea of eating fish that has been sitting out for days may make some Westerners uncomfortable, this is a quite popular dish among Chadians. Many of the fish are caught from either Lake Chad or one of the two rivers that flow through the country.
Flowers are an often overlooked source of food. Chadians, however, make particular use of hibiscus petals, with which they concoct a unique refreshment known as karkanji. Although the flowers are first boiled to extract the nutrients and then flavoured, the drink is eventually served cold, which makes it ideal for the country's warm climate. Many native karkanji drinkers believe that the beverage is also a combatant against such ailments as the common cold.
In northern Chad, almost all of the locals' diet is made up of grain crops and vegetables. Tubers, while relatively unknown in other parts of the world, are one of the root vegetables that has become a staple of Chadians' diet in the northern part of the country. Although this dirt-covered produce is not particularly appealing to the eye, it has saved many Chadians during long periods of famine, as its starchy composition can be used in ways similar to potatoes.
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