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Located in West Africa, Senegal is a fast-growing nation that is home to more than 13 million citizens. Whether it’s the streets of Dakar, Pikine, Mbaké or Kanel, you will often see familiar local dishes that are enjoyed by the Senegalese people for their daily meals. Senegalese cuisine is often recognized as a melting pot of different cuisine origins, and we can almost see the similarities between Senegal dishes with those from the Middle East, France, and even Asia. Here’s a look at some of the most prominent local dishes that you can find in Senegal:
Some people have gone as far as calling Thiebou Djenne as the national dish of Senegal. It’s a stuffed fish that is cooked with tamarind, habanero pepper, and tomato paste. Often comes with a serving of rice, this dish provides a hearty meal. You can use any type of fish as ingredient but some of the local people use dried stockfish which can be said as an acquired taste.
This is a simple salad that you can easily find in the streets of Senegal but the twist is that the main feature in this salad are cooked black eyed peas which are native to Africa. In the mix you will also find bell pepper, parsley, tomato, cucumber, and scallions tossed with olive oil and lime juiced, topped with some seasoning from the habanero pepper.
For those who love peanut butter, here’s a unique dish from Senegal (originated from Mali) that will keep your taste buds pampered. Maafe is a slow stew of either lamb, fish, or chicken cooked in peanut butter sauce with different types of vegetables thrown into the stew to increase the tastiness. Oftentimes, the vegetables chosen include carrots, potatoes, or yams. The end result is a thick and muddy looking stew which tastes so much better than it looks!
How does caramelized chicken or fish sound? If you ask the Senegal locals, they will tell you it’s music to their ears! They love Yassa, a spicy dish that is first marinated in lime juice and with a little help from the spunky onions, you can get a sizzling hot dish after it’s grilled.
Although not indigenous to Senegal, you can find this dish sold in many stalls in Dakar. The fresh cockles are boiled and then served with a lime where you can just squeeze and drizzle over the cockles. Because there are lots of seafood products in Senegal, that’s why you can come across boiled cockles frequently in this African country.
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