10 Amazing African Cities for Food Lovers


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The cuisine in Africa is so diverse, you could spend your whole life traveling the continent on the hunt for the best food and you’d barely scratch the surface. But, if you only have a short time to eat your way across Africa, these cities are renowned for their culinary greatness.

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1. Marrakech, Morocco

If you like spices, you’ll love Marrakech. In “the red city,” so called because of its buildings constructed from red clay, you’ll find flavorful dishes that feature cumin, black pepper, ginger, tumeric, saffron and more.

In terms of what to eat, tagine is the go-to for locals and visitors alike. The slow-cooked stew features chicken, lamb, or beef, as well as vegetables and tasty spices. Another dish to try is kefta: Ground beef or lamb shaped into balls or attached to skewers and grilled.

For dessert, try m’hanncha, or “snake cake.” Coiled like a snake, this pastry is made of phyllo dough filled with an almond paste. It’s flavored with orange blossom water and sometimes cinnamon and honey.

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2. Nairobi, Kenya

In a city as large as Nairobi (population 4+ million), you can eat just about anything you want, from street food like mutura, a sausage made from intestines, stuffed with minced meat and blood to sukuma wiki, collard greens sautéed with onions, tomatoes, and spices.

For a unique dining experience, check out the Carnivore Restaurant. It offers an all-you-can-eat meat feast, featuring exotic meats like ostrich, crocodile and camel roasted on traditional maasai swords over a charcoal pit.

If you’re still hungry after your meat gorge, seek out mahamri for dessert: They’re light, slightly sweet deep-fried pastries flavored with coconut and cardamom.

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3. Cairo, Egypt

If you’re visiting Egypt, Cairo offers more delicious options than you can stomach. For traditional Egyptian food, find the closest Abou El Sid restaurant. As strange as it sounds to Western tastebuds, order the pigeon.

You might be surprised to hear that one of the best things to try in Cairo has pasta in it! Koshari, a street food with rice, lentils, chickpeas and macaroni, is topped with a tangy tomato sauce, garlic vinegar and crispy fried onions.

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4. Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

In the Zanzibar Islands of Tanzania, Stone Town sits right by the water, which means it’s the best place to order seafood. Grilled snapper, grouper, kingfish or octopus curry should be on your list.

Don’t miss the Forodhani Gardens night market, where you can eat your way across the open-air market held each evening. Be sure to try Zanzibar pizza, which is nothing like the pizza you’re familiar with. Instead, it’s a type of stuffed pancake filled with minced meat, vegetables, cheese, and/or egg. There are also sweet versions.

Speaking of sweets, also be sure to try the dates, mangoes, papayas and passion fruit that Tanzania is proud of.

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5. Dakar, Senegal

From gorgeous beachfront restaurants to street food vendors, you can find every type of dining experience in Dakar. If it’s fine dining you’re looking for, plan a day on Goree Island, a UNESCO heritage site that is home to more than a dozen restaurants. Seafood features heavily, naturally, and you can also find Senegalese dishes like yassa poulet; Chicken marinated in lemon juice, onions and mustard, then grilled or fried and simmered in the marinade.

If you need something to satisfy your hunger while sightseeing in Dakar, look for street vendors selling accara, deep-fried black-eyed pea fritters, served with a spicy sauce; or pastels, deep-fried pastries filled with fish and spices, dipped in a tomato-based sauce.

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6. Tunis, Tunisia

If you’re looking for traditional Tunisian food in Tunis, head to Restaurant El Walima for local favorites like brik, a crispy pastry filled with egg, tuna, capers and parsley.

If you want more of a modern take, head to Dar El Jeld. You’ll find fusion versions of marka hlowa (lamb tagine with prunes) and kabkabou (fish and tomato stew).

For dessert, you can find bambalouni, or Tunisian doughnuts, as well as zriba, a sweet semolina cake flavored with rose water and decorated with almonds and pistachios.

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7. Vilanculos, Mozambique

This sweet coastal town is one of the best places for snorkeling and diving in Africa. Thanks to its position on the Mozambique Channel, it’s also a great place for seafood. One can try prawns served with peri-peri sauce or matapa, a traditional dish made with cassava leaves, ground peanuts, coconut milk, garlic, and fish or shrimp.

If you’re looking for a casual vibe where you can relax and enjoy the sea views, sit down at Baraka Beach Club and enjoy a little R&R (Rum and Raspberry). This cocktail is made with rum and raspberry soda, served over ice.

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8. Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos is fiercely proud of its own cuisine, with dishes like pounded yam and egusi soup, as well as jollof rice (rice cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with vegetables and meat or fish). But it also boasts international cuisine like Lebanese and Chinese dishes.

One also has the option to enjoy the hybrids like suya pizza, which combines spicy skewered grilled meat and Italy’s favorite dish!

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9. Cape Town, South Africa

At the southernmost point of the continent is Cape Town, a city that blends Afrikaans and Dutch influences. Nowhere is that more evident than in the city’s cuisine. You’ll find lots of barbecue (called braai) as well as biltong, which is dried and cured meat, similar to beef jerky.

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10. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Last but not least on our list is Addis Ababa. Here you can indulge in Ethiopian favorites like injera, a sourdough flatbread that locals use to scoop meats and sauce. There’s also doro wat, a spicy chicken stew made with berbere spice, onions, garlic and ginger, often served with boiled eggs and injera.

Ethiopia has a strong coffee culture, so be sure to visit a traditional coffee shop like Tomoca (which is as well-known in Addis Ababa as Starbucks is in the U.S.!)

With so many cities boasting mouthwatering dishes, you’ll have trouble narrowing it down!

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