Mozambican cuisine falls into a unique niche in terms of where the cuisine has come from and where it is going to. Blending the best of Portuguese flair, Indian flavor and a twist of African ingenuity, the cuisine of Mozambique is a true treat for anyone. Beverages in Mozambique are what one would normally find throughout the rest of the world, with 1 or 2 exceptions.
Bear in mind that Mozambican’s enjoy adding peppers to a lot of their dishes so be prepared for the food to be hot. You will also find that there are a lot of informal food stalls which can be good to eat at but each one needs to be taken on its merits due to the high number of infectious diseases in the country.
The local food is heavily based upon starches such as rice and potato as well as meat and seafood. Vegetarian dishes are not common but can be found with a bit of effort, although most people won’t understand why you would want to not eat met. Some of the local dishes include:
- Meat: Beef is referred to as Bifel (meaning steak) while chicken is referred to as Frango. Both of these meats are commonly served with a variety of accompaniments such cashew nuts, coconut, beans and various spices. You will also come across Prego steak sandwiches, which is a burger made with a steak covered in chili sauce. Peppers are liberally used quite widely so be sure to be aware of this if you are someone who doesn’t like hot food.
- Fruta: This is any of the wide selection of fresh fruit.
- Matata: Traditional Mozambican seafood stew which is made with peanuts.
- Posho: Maize porridge which is considered a staple food in the poorer regions.
- Batata Fritas: Potato fries which are called chips by the locals.
- Peixe grelhade: Translating as catch of the day, this is a very popular seafood dish due to its ever changing variety and freshness.
There are many other dishes on offer with regional variations making for a very interesting dining experience. Traditionally the main meal in Mozambique is lunch (almoco) and consequently the breakfast (pequeno almoco) meal tends to be quite small. For the more affluent families who have the financial means, dinner (jantar) is seen as the main meal as well as an opportunity to entertain guests.
Both tea (cha is a locally made tea) and coffee are quite popular in Mozambique and can be found almost everywhere. In terms of alcoholic drinks, these are also quite widespread and often you will enjoy a glass of Portuguese wine with a meal. Another firm favorite is a maize based beer which is traditionally enjoyed from a communal pot on social occasions. A word of warning is necessary about a local brew called Nipa which has been known to be dangerous and not often found due to its incredibly high alcohol content. There is also a wide selection of beers on hand from both South Africa and Namibia as well as some commercially brewed local beers.