What food is Angola known?
Best Angola Food: Meals generally consist of fish or meat stewed in a rich sauce with vegetables such as okra and served with rice or funge (an Angola staple that draws comparisons to polenta). At their most basic, dishes consist of funge and sauce alone. With its long Atlantic coastline, the seafood is particularly good.
In addition to these dishes, Angola offers a wide variety of tropical fruits, such as mangoes, bananas, papayas, and pineapples, which are often enjoyed fresh or used in juices and desserts.
1. Angola Cabidela
Cabidela is a Portuguese dish consisting of rice and poultry or game meat cooked together with animal’s blood. Rice can be cooked alongside meat or served on the side, while red wine or vinegar are sometimes added to moderate the tartness.
With its unusual dark color and a creamy texture, cabidela is considered to be a Portuguese specialty, and it is traditionally associated with various regions in Northern Portugal. It has also been integrated into traditional Brazilian and Angolan cuisine.
2. Angola Funje
One of the most popular foods in Angola, funje is an essential side dish accompanying breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals in numerous kitchens of rural families throughout the country. It is a type of porridge made from cassava flour that is stirred into water.
Funje has a sticky, smooth, and creamy texture, while a slightly bland flavor makes it great for evening out the intense spices found in many Angolan dishes. Traditionally, at their most basic, the dishes consist of funje and a full-flavored, spicy sauce.
3. Angola Calulu
This hearty stew is commonly enjoyed in São Tomé e Príncipe and Angola. Though it is typically prepared with fresh or dry fish and shrimps, when it goes under the name calulu de peixe, some versions can occasionally employ meat.
Additional ingredients include okra, onions, tomatoes, eggplants, and finely chopped greens such as sweet potato leaves or cassava leaves. Calulu is traditionally accompanied by rice or funje — a creamy cassava porridge.
4. Angola Muamba de Galinha
Muamba de galinha or chicken muamba is a dish made with chicken, red palm oil sauce called muamba de dendem, garlic, okra and gindungo - a variety of Angolan hot chile pepper. Palm oil gives the dish a specific flavor, while lycopene provides the red color.
Studies have shown its various health benefits – it is rich in antioxidants, helpful in preventing heart disease, and regulates cholesterol. Since Angola was a Portuguese colony for ages, Portuguese gastronomy had a great influence on Angolan cuisine, so as a result, many Angolan dishes are based on meat and palm oil.
Gindungo is an optional ingredient while preparing the dish. It can be made in spicy or mild versions, depending on personal preferences. The dish is traditionally accompanied by fungee (a starchy food prepared by boiling and stirring corn or cassava into a porridge) and tender cooked beans seasoned with palm oil and salt.
5. Angola Kisaca
Traditional Angolan dish kizaca, sometimes spelled quizaca or kisaca, is one of the most popular vegetarian dishes in the country. It is made with boiled cassava leaves mixed with ground peanuts. Cassava and peanuts are stewed until the dish develops a thick consistency, while the peanuts form a silky, nutty sauce.
Although it is nowadays regarded as the national dish of the country, kizaka has an interesting historical background. For centuries, Angola was a Portuguese colony, and kizaka, like most Angolan dishes, is a combination of European influences and authentic African ingredients.
More interestingly, the main ingredient, cassava, was brought to Angola from Brazil, another former Portuguese colony, where it is regarded as an indigenous ingredient. In Angola, the most popular variety is kizaka com peixe, a dish made with fish, onions, and tomatoes, while rice is traditionally served on the side.
The dish is popular everywhere in Angola, and it is usually served as a side dish alongside meat or fish dishes. Frequently, green cassava leaves can be substituted with spinach.
Angolan cuisine is rich and diverse, influenced by indigenous flavors, Portuguese colonial heritage, and regional ingredients. Here are more popular dishes and food items in Angola:
6. Angola Leite Azedo
People from the indigenous Mucubal community are known to raise their cattle (the Mucubi cattle) which have long supplied them with cow’s milk that needed to be preserved for extended use, thus giving rise to their long tradition of making sour milk called leite azedo.
To make this traditional milk product, the women from the community collect the fresh milk into a hupa - a gourd which has been cut open and hollowed out, but has not been washed. The milk is then allowed to ferment for several hours before it is stirred vigorously for about half an hour.
This milk product is not sold commercially and is typically made for personal consumption. Soured milk is consumed on its own or used as an ingredient in traditional specialties such as maìne or manhini, which is made by combining soured milk, funje (a cornmeal porridge), and dried beef or mutton.
The indigenous Mucubal people also make a traditional sun protection cream by mixing the layer of thicker cream (obtained from the milk’s surface) with a reddish rock powder. Unfortunately, the cattle’s threatened existence due to climate changes has led to a significantly lower supply of milk, which has put this traditional milk product at risk of being lost.
7. Angola Cocada Amarela
Cocada amarela is a sweet Angolan dessert that was originally brought over to the country by the Portuguese, and was then modified by the locals. This custard or a pudding consists of water, sugar, salt, grated coconut, and eggs. It is characterized by a vivid yellow color, which is the result of a large amount of egg yolks, hence its name that can be translated as yellow cocada.
This flavorful pudding is one of the only Western-style desserts that one can find on Angolan tables.
8. Angola Chikwanga
Chikwanga or kwanga is a traditional bread from the Democratic Republic of Congo consisting of cassava flour cakes that are wrapped in dry banana leaves, then steamed. Its savory flavor pairs well with most of the main meals in the country.
It is especially popular to serve warm chikwanga with various African stews, soups, and sauces as it helps to slightly offset their spicy flavors. This cassava-based bread is typically cut into thick round slices before it's served on the plates. Once prepared, chikwanga will keep for a few days, but only if it's kept in the leaf-wrapper in a dry and cool place.
9. Moamba de Ginguba:
This dish features chicken or meat cooked in a sauce made from peanuts (ginguba) and spices. It is often served with rice or funje.
Funge is a staple food in Angola, made from cassava flour. It has a consistency similar to polenta or a thick porridge and is typically served with various stews and sauces.
Pirão is a thick and smooth porridge-like dish made from cornmeal, cassava flour, or other grains. It is commonly eaten with fish or meat stews.
This dish is popular in coastal regions of Angola and is made from cassava leaves, ground peanuts, shrimp, and spices. It is often served with rice.
13. Caril de Carne:
Caril de Carne, or meat curry, is a dish influenced by Portuguese and Indian cuisines. It features tender meat cooked in a flavorful curry sauce, typically served with rice.
Mufete is a traditional Angolan meal consisting of grilled or roasted fish, often accompanied by various side dishes such as pirão (porridge), boiled cassava, and fresh vegetables.
Gafanhotos, or fried grasshoppers, are a popular snack in some regions of Angola. They are seasoned, deep-fried, and enjoyed as a crunchy and protein-rich delicacy.
16. Doce de Ginguba
This is a sweet treat made from peanuts (ginguba). The peanuts are roasted, ground, and mixed with sugar to create a peanut brittle-like candy.