If you enjoy food that doesn’t hold back on spices, you’ll probably love what Cameroon is serving up. Like its neighbor Nigeria, Cameroon has numerous dishes that are full of heat and earthy African aromas, but since the country was colonized by France for a time, you’ll also find French cooking techniques and flavors. Here’s just a sampling of foods from Cameroon that you simply must try.
Ndole (Bitterleaf Soup)
This is considered the national dish in Cameroon and is popular throughout the country. The dish gets its rich flavor from generous helpings of groundnut paste and fresh shrimp which combines with the bitter taste of the greens for an incredible dish. Even if you tried, it would be hard to leave the country without trying this concoction at some point.
Fufu (pictured in the middle) is a staple across west Africa, so it’s no surprise that this dish is seen on dinner tables across the country. The dish is made up of mashed cassava flour and is the perfect accompanying side to grab food with (no forks required). It doesn’t have much flavor itself and is more loved for its consistency. Many people in Cameroon call it couscous, but it has nothing to do with the popular Mediterranean dish.
While they might be more popular in the DRC, these yummy rolls (which are similar to fufu) can be found throughout Cameroon and are often sold in vacuum-sealed packs on the streets. The ‘rolls’ are not actually made of bread, but come from a thick paste of pounded cassava that is steamed to perfection. The result is a delicious finger food that’s perfect by itself.
Also known as ekoki, these delicious beans are a popular snack throughout the country and are made with a mixture of cowpeas (black-eyed peas), palm oil, spices and salt. Like cassava rolls, they are often cooked inside a plantain leaf so the mixture gels together. The resulting flavor and texture has remnants of falafel if you took off the fried coating and just ate the inside.
Also known as yellow soup, this mouth-watering liquid meal is the perfect thing to brighten up your day and taste buds. The soup is made with a combination of spices that are sold as achu spice in many stores, along with smoked cow skin, mushrooms, and cocoyams. The resulting flavor is savory, spicy, and probably unlike anything you’ve ever tried.
This dish tastes like it came from Thailand and not somewhere in west Africa, but if you’re fond of peanut sauce and shrimp paste, you’ll probably love it. Like many Cameroonian staples, the dish is cooked in plantain leaves, but the inside is quite different and made from smoked fish, crayfish, and a ton of grilled peanuts. The result is a super potent paste that should be eating with cassava or plantains to balance the flavor.
Mbanga (Palm Nut) Soup
This hearty soup is popular throughout west Africa and gets plenty of love in Cameroon, too. As can be seen from the red broth, it’s definitely heavy on the palm oil, but also comes with an assortment of fresh and smoked seafood, bitter leaf, and plenty of spices. If you enjoy bouillabaisse or cioppino, this dish will be right up your alley.
Essentially beef kebabs, brochettes are a popular street food throughout the country and are the perfect snack to munch on before chowing down on a hearty Cameroonian soup. It’s quite similar to Nigerian suya, but the Hausa community in Cameroon has added their own subtle twists.
It might not look very appetizing, but this Cameroonian dish is definitely delicious. It’s made from a mix of corn, cassava leaf and palm oil, then cooked down to a thick stew. Large chunks of corn are often thrown in for added appeal.
After all that food, you’re going to need something to wash it down with. Bil-Bil is a popular homemade beer which can be found across Cameroon that’s made from corn, millet, or sorghum. It’s not that high in alcohol, but be sure to try it at your own risk. We recommend just getting some 333 (a popular Asian beer that’s sold everywhere), instead.
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