Street food in Africa – a source living for female vendors, a bite of heaven for patrons.

In Africa there are over 1 million street food vendors. The face of street food vending in Africa is typically female. In Ghana 90% of vendors are female. In many cases these diligent, entrepreneuring women are the main or only breadwinners. Street food is quick, affordable and with its home cooked flavours its popular amongst busy work commuters and tourists alike.

What’s cooking on the streets of Africa?

South Africa – Bobotie is a South African favourite. Minced beef is cooked with dried fruit and warming spices. Bobotie is believed to have originated from Indonesian slaves of the Dutch empire during the 17th century.

Uganda – Traditionally eaten in Masaka and Kampala, a Rolex is a favourite amongst amongst Ugandan locals. The name is derived from the Lugandan pronunciation of ‘roll of eggs’. It is a Swahili chapati stuffed with scrambled eggs, shredded cabbage, tomatoes and onions.

Nigeria – Suyas are the ultimate barbecue street snack in Nigeria. Strips of beef are marinated in a mixture of ground peanuts, paprika, onion powder and ginger and charred over a flaming grill. It’s divine.

Ghana – Kelewele is a Ghanian snack made up of fried plantains seasoned with cayenne peppers, salt and ginger. Crunchy on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside, you’ll be back on the streets for more.

Senegal – Yassa is chicken legs marinated in peanut oil, lemon juice, lots of onion, spice and vinegar overnight and cooked over a charcoal fire. It’s best eaten with couscous with friends after a great night out.

Madagascar – Mofo Gasy is a sweet Malagasy breakfast bread made of rice flour, sweetened condensed milk, yeast and vanilla and cooked slowly over a charcoal grill. It is best eaten warm off the grill with freshly brewed coffee.

Cameroon – Beignets or fritters/doughnuts are Cameroon’s street food’s favourite.  They are  fried dough balls made from yeast, flour and water – simple ingredients but an addictive taste. Mami Makalas (name given to the beignet vendors) can be seen frying beignets on the spot, seated next to a pot of hot oil. A common combination is beignets with red beans.

Watch a mami malaka from Cameroon in action, dropping beignets quickly in hot oil is an art unto itself.

Here’s a 10 minute video about the street food business in Ghana. Without any spoilers let’s just say – it’s inspiring

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