Senegal Foods

By | June 14, 2021

What do people in Senegal eat?

Millet, corn and rice are the staple foods in Senegal. Couscous is also popular. There is also fish. Chicken, beef and lamb are the main meats. Beans and tomatoes are just as common in Senegalese cuisine as peanuts. There are also cookies with peanuts.

What is the national dish?

The national dish in Senegal is Thiéboudienne. It’s fish with rice, with carrots or tomatoes. In Wolof, the court is Ceebujen: ceebu means “rice” and jen fish. In any case, it is pronounced “tschebojen”, also abbreviated to “Tscheb”. If you cook the whole thing with meat instead of fish, it’s called Ceebu Yapp.

What else do the Senegalese like?

Also Yassa consists of marinated in lemon juice (chicken) meat or fish with rice, seasoned with lemon juice and among other many onions. Other popular dishes are Mafe (a stew made from meat, vegetables, peanut sauce, and rice that originated in Mali), Dibi (grilled meat) and Soupe-Kandia (rice, fish or seafood, okra pods). For the preparation it is generally important that everything is fried or deep-fried in peanut oil and that everything is very spicy!

Only with the right hand!

As is common in all of West Africa, people eat with the right hand. The food is served in a large bowl or bowl. Everyone is sitting around it. First, a small bowl of water is passed around so that everyone can wash their hands. Then you pick up the food with your right hand. But sometimes there are also spoons. You eat what is right in front of you, so you don’t get pieces from the right or left…

Morning, noon, evening

For breakfast we only drink a little milk and eat baguette with it. Baguette with scrambled eggs or beans can also be bought at stalls on the street. There are also snacks such as roasted peanuts or corn on the cob. Lunch and dinner are served warm. In between meals or as dessert there is delicious fruit: melons, bananas or mangoes, for example.

What to drink

People only drink after eating, not during the meal. Water is the most common drink. Tea (Attaya) is often served, traditionally in three variants that follow one after the other: the first course is bitter, the second a little less bitter and the third sweet. The tea is poured by pouring it from as high up as possible so that a foam is created. Juices are also popular, for example bissap, which is made from hibiscus flowers, or mango juice. You can find a recipe for Bissap under Burkina Faso ! A juice called bouye is also made from the fruits of the baobab (baobab).

Who are the Talibés?

Some families send their sons to a daara. This is a Koran school. The children live in the Daara like in a boarding school and are taught by a teacher. This religion teacher teaches the children to read the Koran for one hour in the morning and for several hours in the evening. In return for payment, the teacher demands that the boys go begging for him. The teacher lives on these alms.

These boys are called Talibés. They are between 4 and 16 years old. You can see them, usually in groups of several boys, walking through the streets with empty food cans or plastic bowls. They beg for millet, sugar or even money. Their clothes are poor and tattered. If the children do not meet a certain quota, i.e. do not collect enough money, they will be beaten. They are not learning French, arithmetic or writing because they are not attending a normal school.

Many do not have enough to eat and the conditions in the daaras are poor, for example there is no running water. Because the children have to beg eight hours or more a day, they are hardly given any lessons.

According to, between 50,000 and 100,000 Talibés are begging in Senegal, according to Unicef estimates for 2007. The numbers are said to have even increased in the meantime. Sometimes Talibés do not return to school and then become street children.

Senegal Foods