Traditional Zambian Cuisine You Must Try
Updated: Dec 20, 2022
In this blog we made a collection of the best Zambian foods eaten by locals and you should try while you visit. We made a collection of Zambia's staple food from pounded maize. Pounded peanuts, casava, insects and fish. Many of Zambia's dishes can be combined with fresh water fish from the local rivers or big lakes of the country.
Nshima is the staple food of Zambia and a common dish for every ethnic group of the country. Made from finely ground or pounded maize flour called mealie meal from white maize kernels. The flour is than cooked by stirring and mixing with hot water to make a very thick porridge. Nshima is served hot with a choice of relish (known as ndiwo) usually meat or fish and one or two vegetables. Nshima can be considered the national dish of Zambia and is mostly eaten with the hands. To eat the Nshima you take a small piece of the lump, role it to a small ball in your hand, use your thumb to make a small scoop and dip in the vegetable or other side dish. People in Zambia eat Nshima for lunch and dinner. There are also Nshima varieties made from cassava flour, sorghum and millet.
Go on a Ntanda Ventures Culinary Tour to learn more about the authentic dishes of Zambia.
#2 Ifisashi A traditional Zambian dish made by mixing pounded peanuts, tomatoes, onions and vegetables such as spinach, collard greens, pumpkin leaves or cassava leaves. The mixture is cooked in the peanut sauce until it achieves a desired consistency. Prepared during traditional ceremonies and family gatherings.
#3 Chikanda A Zambian snack often referred to as African polony because of its meat-like texture, this dish is entirely vegetarian, prepared with wild orchid tubers. The tubers are dried and pounded then combined with a mixture of pounded peanuts, bicarbonate soda and chilli.
#4 Ifinkubala Caterpillars are a popular delicacy in Zambia, they are soaked in hot water for a few minutes then fried in oil, add some tomato and onion and usually served with nshima.
#5 Kapenta Small dried sardine-type fish that are fried in oil with some tomatoes and onions and served in with nshima.
#6 Tute ne Mbalala This is a country favourite snack. Dried Casava is soaked in water for a couple of days then roasted on a brazier and served with roasted peanuts.
#7 Delele Traditional dish prepared with a local plant or often times okra that is cooked by boiling water, alongside sliced tomatoes and bicarbonate or baking soda. It is well known for its slimy texture.
#8 Vitumbuwa Fritters are fried dough balls of flour, sugar, yeast and water. They are a common tea time snack.
#9 Kalembula (Sweet Potato Leaves)
Sweet potato leaves with onion and tomato, eaten in combination with Nshima and fish or meat.
#10 Vegetables There are plenty of seasonal vegetables that are eaten in Zambia such as spinach, collard greens, okra, pumpkin leaves (Chibwabwa) , cassava and sweet potatoes.
Also read about the traditional ceremonies of Zambia