Food Guide to Ivorian Cuisine for Beginners
There could be many reasons why one would decide to visit Cote d’Ivoire and its food could easily be one of them. From the beautiful beach resorts to its stunning cathedral “Notre Dame de la Paix“ in Yamoussoukro- its political capital, not to mention the cultural hub Abidjan; its economical capital represents, Cote d’Ivoire also known as the Ivory Coast has a lot to offer.
For travellers and most importantly traveling foodies, it’s exciting to play a little bit with your taste buds and explore the local delicacies as you visit this West African country.
While the Ivorian cuisine encompasses a diverse range of foods that are split between its 60 ethnic groups, below is the list of the most popular dishes that almost everyone would agree upon.
5 Must Eat Dishes in Ivory Coast
Barbecued or Grilled Fish or Chicken
Imagine having a marinated and well seasoned fish or chicken grilled or barbecued and then served with a mix of tomatoes and onions…there you have what Ivorians call: Poulet (Chicken) or Poisson braisé (Fish).
Before you dive in your grilled chicken or fish (yes, it’s better when you eat it with your hands), you would like to make sure you order a side of Alloco (fried plantains bananas) or Attiéké (cassava ground into couscous-like grains).
Also considered as a snack, Alloco could be easily eaten with a hard-boiled egg and a spicy (or not) sauce also made of onions and tomatoes.
Peanut Butter Stew With White Rice
Yes you read it right and believe me Peanut butter stew is nothing but fabulous. If you like peanut butter and chicken, especially the drumsticks since this is the part preferably used to make it, then you will enjoy without hesitation. Flavourful from the pepper, tomatoes, sometimes okra and other vegetables that compose the stew and of course the peanut butter, this dish is perfect with white rice.
Kedjenou With White Rice
The name may sound as original as the preparation itself yet it’s such a simple, delicious and most of the time highly spiced meal. It’s a dish usually made with chicken slowly cooked with different vegetables in a stew and sometimes sealed with banana leaves. Some prefer to savor it with some Attiéké while others with some white rice. My personal take? Both!
Foutou with Palm Oil Nut Sauce
Foutou is thick and heavy paste made of boiled then pounded plantains or yams. Foutou can be savoured with different stew but my personal favourite remains the palm oil nut sauce. The Foutou is at its best with eaten with your hands (just like the attiéké): simply nip off a piece with your fingers and dip it in the sauce.
The King of street food in Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) is the national Garba. It consists of Attiéké (mentioned earlier) and deep fried pieces of tuna fish. You can eat it well seasoned with tomatoes, chopped onions and peppers with a dash of oil from fried tuna fish and seasoning powder. Depending on where you purchase it, it can be wrapped in a banana leaf. While some might question the hygiene of it all (remember we are talking about street food here), others will simply urge you to taste it at least once.
Written by: Yasmine aka “Afrofoodie”, a West African food lover with international taste buds. She enjoys discovering new cuisines and cultures along the way while travelling, taking pictures and blogging about it all. She launched the 1st food blog of Côte d’Ivoire in 2012. Her mission ? Connecting locals and travellers with the best food experiences. You can follow her foodie adventures at Journal d’une Foodie!
What is your favourite local food you have experienced during your travels? Leave us a comment!