One of the things we like the most about traveling and living in different countries is trying new foods, new tastes. In Angola, and in the Angolan cuisine, we discovered a whole new world of different flavors, textures, and ingredients we had never tried before, like Funge, Okra, Kizaca, Muamba, Mukua…
We are not experts, only foodies, but we are some experience with different cuisines around the world, like Portuguese, Bulgarian, or Thai. In this article, we share some of our favorite Angolan dishes and ingredients.
Overall Angolan food is a mix of African Food and Portuguese food, because of the huge historical context of the between the countries. In the last years, Angolan gastronomy has been influenced by Brazilian food, which curiously has been originally strongly influenced by African food.
Ingredients of Angola Food
The main staple ingredients of Angolan food include flour, beans and rice, fish (and seafood), pork and chicken, and several vegetables such as sweet potato, plantains, tomatoes, onions, and okra. However, the most important is obviously Cassava.
Cassava is a very important plant in Angola, especially in the North. It is the largest source of carbohydrates in Angola. Angola is the 3rd largest producer of cassava in Africa and is also the biggest consumer. The roots are dried to make bombó and whipped to make fuba (flour).
The leaves of cassava are called kizaca and are used in a few dishes, usually boiled.
Dendém is the fruit of the palm tree and it is used a lot in Angolan cuisine, especially as palm oil. Beans with palm oil are one of our favorite side dishes in Angola.
Angolan Street Food
Ginguba torrada (roasted peanuts)
Angolan cuisine uses a lot of ginguba (peanut) in main dishes and in desserts, but it’s wonderful just like a snack with a cold drink. Especially roasted!
You can roast at home, in the oven, or buy in the street where vendors roast ginguba in coal right in front of you. Finally, many Angolan Restaurants serve Ginguba Torrada as an appetizer.
Ginguba torrada is absolutely delicious, and one of the things you have to eat in Angola.
Paracuca is ginguba with sugar, sometimes with variation, cinnamon, vanilla or jindungo (hot spice). You can find women selling it in the streets in a small plastic bag.
Paracuca can easily be done at home: 2 cups of ginguba 1 cup of sugar and a tea-cup of water. Mix all the ingredients in a pan and stir until water evaporates. In the end, you can join cinnamon or spice. Let cool down and separate the peanuts so they don’t glue to each other.
Picolé is an ice cream that boys sell in the street in a trolley car in the street, especially when it’s hot and in between the crazy traffic.
Banana Assada (toasted banana/ roasted plantain)
In Angola, there is a vast variety of bananas, plantain, red bananas, apple bananas. Plantain is used in many dishes, and as a side dish replacing potatoes or rice. When ripe it is sweet and delicious. Roasted or fried banana with honey is delicious desserts.
Bombó Assado (grilled cassava)
Bombó is the root of the cassava, dried and fermented. It’s used to make funge (typical Angola plate made with cassava flour). It can be toasted or fried and sold as a snack but more frequently is used as a side dish.
Main Dishes of the Angolan cuisine
Mufete of fish
One of the most typical foods of Angola and our favorite dish in Angolan Cuisine, is the mufete, The dish is a combination of grilled fish, beans with palm oil, boiled plantains, boiled sweet potato, cassava flour and the mufete sauce (a sauce with chopped onion, tomato, bell pepper, lemon, and olive oil). It is a mouthful of flavor and a must-try for everyone going to Angola!
In our opinion, it is best eaten in Chicala! We went there a few times and it was delicious.
Muamba de Galinha de Angola or Galinha Rija (Moambe chicken)
Slow-cooked chicken with okra, squash, dendém paste. It’s cooked for one hour and is served with funge. This stew-like dish links very well with funge. The strong Moamba sauce gives flavor to the very mild Cassava funge. This dish is also well known in Gabon and Congo, where it is considered the national dish.
There’s also Muamba fish, but it’s not as well known and seen.
Funge – Cassava flour porridge
This is the base of the Angolan diet and it’s eaten almost every day by Angolans. Funge is made of fuba (flour) of cassava or corn. The north of Angola uses more fuba of cassava and the south uses fuba of corn. The texture of funge is very sticky and doesn’t have much of a flavor, so it’s best eaten with the sauce.
Calulu de peixe (fish calulu)
Fish Calulu is a typical Angolan and São Tomé and Principe dish. It’s cooked with dried and fresh fish, okra, tomato, sweet potato leaves, palm oil. It is served with funge and beans in palm oil.
This is not as much as typical Angolan dish, but there is so much lobster and it is so good in Angola that we decided to include them in the list of things to eat in Angola. Grilled or just boiled, it is so good!
Desserts of Angola Cuisine
We know it is not that traditional (or at least unique to unique to Angola), and they are a lot of other places that have good passion fruit mousse! But this dessert is served everywhere in Angola and it tastes very good.
The passion fruits themselves are impressive, huge even! We never saw such big passion fruits before.
Mukua is the fruit of the Baobab tree mas it is a fruit with a hard shell like a coconut. Inside there are seeds, which are coated with whitish powder. This powder is the fruit pulp which is used to produce the juice, ice-cream, and mousse.
You can easily do mukua juice at home. We only have to join the dried mukua with water, add sugar, and let it rest for hours, then filter. It’s very refreshing.
One of the best things to eat in Angola is Fruit. Angolan fruit is amazing, particularly the tropical ones. Bananas, pineapples, and mangos, in particular, are unbelievably tasty, juicy and sweet. Tip: buy fruits in the street, they are usually better and you are probably helping someone who needs it.