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Discovering Beninese gastronomy

For many visitors, tasting local Beninese cuisine is a great way to “take the pulse” of the culture. Like the people, the local cuisine varies a lot from one region to another, and tasting some traditional dishes of Benin can leave you with unforgettable memories.

Ablo (dough made from rice flour) and fried fish

As in most West African countries, the streets and markets are full of tiny stalls where dishes are cooked in basins by what people call “good women”. Check at mealtimes if there are crowds, which is a good sign. Beninese cuisine is essentially based on maize paste in the south of the country and yams in the north. It is very varied and rich in color! Several species of fish are eaten. We can mention tilapia, sea bream, carp, and catfish. The most common meat is chicken. Other meats are also eaten such as mutton, beef, pork, and rabbit. Shrimps and crabs are the most consumed seafood. Depending on the region and the season, snails are eaten. Meat and fish are either grilled, fried, or cooked in sauce and served with pasta and rice.

Atassi, rice and beans from Benin, and chilli

The accompaniments are essentially starchy foods or cereals. Thus, the dough in the form of flour-based mash (corn, cassava, yam, semolina, wheat, millet) constitutes the basis of Beninese cuisine and its compositions and color differ according to the region. This pasta is accompanied by different varieties of spicy sauce with different tastes depending on the ingredients (based on local spinach, Okra, tomato, sesame, cashew nuts.

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