Home Lifestyle Food 5 Foods you should try in Senegal

5 Foods you should try in Senegal


Senegal is a West African country located at the shores of the Atlantic ocean. Fishing is one of the chief economic activities, and fish, therefore, forms a major part of the traditional Senegalese meals.

Apart from fish, which is served from big restaurants to the taverns, Senegalese food always contains a mix of cereals and spices.

Below are 5 foods you need to try in Senegal:

1. Thieboudienne

Senegal's thieboudienne.
Senegal’s thieboudienne.

Thieboudienne is a Wolof word that means ‘the rice of fish’.

The meal is derived from tiep or thieb, which is the local term for fish.

There are many tiep meals in Senegal, such as Thieboudienne, Tiep ganaar and tiep yappa.

The main ingredient in these meals is fish and rice.

2. Mafé or maafé

Mafé is a creamy and spicy Senegalese peanut stew.

Senegalese Mafé
Senegalese Mafé

It is made with sun-dried tomatoes and smoke-dried fish and is served with white rice, potatoes, and cowpea/beans.

Vegetables such as eggplant or cabbage make a great addition to this dish.

In addition, you can make substitute the fish with beef, chicken, and lamb or even make a vegetarian version of this spicy soup.

In this case, fish sauce is added to give the gravy its rich Senegalese taste and aroma.

3. Thiof

Thiof meal
Thiof meal

Thiof is the local name for a white grouper, a type of fish at the heart of luxurious treats in north Dakar taverns.

It is best served grilled or stuffed with vegetables and spices.

In the market and in restaurants, it is the most expensive piece, often considered a noble type of fish.

4. Yassa Poulet


This dish is prepared using marinated chicken thighs or breast.

Yassa poisson, which is made using marinated fish is a popular alternative to yassa poulet.

The secret of this dish is in the lemon juice-caramelized onions-vinegar marinate, which is left to soak overnight to bring out the rich flavours and tenderize the chicken.

Both red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar can be used in the marination.

You can add garlic, Dijon mustard and other spices to this Senegalese recipe.

Yassa poulet is served over with rice or sweet potatoes.

5. Pastels Senegalaise (Senegalese pies)

Senegalese pastels
Senegalese pastels

A snack between meals, and appetizer, Senegalese fatayas are made with a dough similar to pizzas.

Their stuffing is made to please and fill you up and rule the evening.

For most people, a beef or fish pastel dipped in kaani sauce is a complete meal on its own.

Kaani is a spicy tomato sauce popular in Senegal.

Other contributors to this article: Rayna Jepkoech