Madagascar is best known for its diversity when it comes to its cuisine. The country is proud to be one that features some of the world’s most delicious dishes. Rice is the staple of the local people and you will notice that it is rice that dominates much of the cuisine. The local dishes also feature a variety of vegetables along with seafood and meat. This completes the meal that one would eat in Madagascar. Food is generally flavorful and it consists of some basic ingredients like onions, tomatoes, garlic and ginger. Drooling already? If so, continue reading below to find out more about the top traditional food that feature prominently in the cuisine in Madagascar.
1. Lasary (tomato and onion salad)
Lasary is essentially the Madagascar version of an onion and tomato salad. Variations of this dish include adding carrots, green beans, and cabbage. The dish is then seasoned with some drops of vinaigrette, giving it a sour taste. Lasary is one of the most common dishes you will find in Madagascar and is often served as a main dish in the highlands. If you dine out in Madagascar, you will be able to find this item in the menu in many local restaurants.
2. Koba Akondro (Madagascan banana dessert)
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Koba Akondro is best known as an after-dinner dessert made of bananas, rice flour and peanuts. This delicacy is sold in marketplaces and gas stations by local vendors. It is a kind of soft, steamed cake that is made by wrapping a batter of ground peanuts, mashed bananas, honey, and corn flour in banana leaves, and then steaming or boiling the small cakes until the batter has set. These are great treats to take back home to friends and family and to share together with them.
3. Ravimbomanga sy patsamena (sweet potato leaves with dried shrimp)
This is a dish which will remind you of Thai cuisine. This traditional Madagascan dish is made of sweet potato leaves and it is then stewed with dried shrimp and beef in a tomato sauce. This item is served on a pile of rice. Ravimbomanga sy patsamena can be found in many local restaurants around Madagascar. So, if you are familiar with Thai food, then this dish will also go down well with you.
4. Sausage stroganoff
Sausage stroganoff is a traditional Madagascan dish which is packed with powerful proteins. This dish is a blend of spiced or non-spiced sausage that is then blended with bacon. The dish is then mixed with garlic and mushrooms, resulting in an aromatic and delectable item. It is a wholesome meal which packs in all the nutrients. Sausage Stroganoff is essentially served with pasta or rice as the base.
5. Akoho Sy Voanio (chicken curry with coconut milk)
Akoho Sy Voanio is a Madagascan dish which is cooked with chicken meat, coconut milk, tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger and ground pepper. This traditional meal is a simple dish and it has to be served with white rice. Given that it is one of the most popular meals on the island, it is featured in pretty much every Malagasy restaurant. This dish is usually consumed for lunch or special festivals like Christmas. It is a mildly spiced dish which is good for children as well.
6. Sesika (blood sausage)
Sesika is a unique and special local delicacy and a local favorite. As much as this dish resembles black pudding, it is actually poultry blood sausage. Sesika is a combination of all parts of the poultry and is seasoned with local spices. In appearance, it looks like a sausage which has been left on the stove for too long. Unlike other blood sausages, this dish is made using chicken blood and parts.
7. Nem (egg rolls)
Nem is a spring roll-like street food that’s loved in Madagascar. This may look like a simple item but it takes some amount of effort to make it. Vendors first make small, thin crepes in a pan. Then they roll in the filling which can vary from vendor to vendor. The season influences the vegetables that are used for the stuffing but it usually consists of potatoes, cabbage, leeks and onions. After rolling the crepe with the filling, the rolls are then deep fried to a golden brown perfection.
8. Mofo Gasy (Madagascar pancakes)
Mofo Gasy can easily be translated to Madagascar pancakes which are made of rice flour and sugar, and then they are fried within a specific mould. This dish is usually eaten for breakfast and there are many variations of Mofo Gasy based depending on the regions of Madagascar. They can be found in street stalls and are best enjoyed with coffee. Some variations of Mofo Gasy include those made with coconut milk.
9. Smalona (smoked eels)
If you like unagi, then you are most likely to enjoy eating Smalona. While unagi is smoked eels served in Japanese restaurants, Smalona is a smoked eel that is served in Malagasy. In order to prepare lip-smacking Smalona, the eels first need to be smoked. Then, they are stuffed by olives, mushroom, apples and onions. After that, these eels are ready to be eaten. If you like BBQ eels that you will find in a sushi bar, it is likely that Smalona, which has an acquired taste, will go down well with you.
10. Madagascar steak and onions fold over
The Madagascar steak and onions foldover is a local classic and it comes with a perfectly cooked steak that is topped with caramelized onions. These foldovers have an explosion of flavors that will leave you grabbing for more. It has a soft and slightly crispy base, stuffed with a tasty steak and onion filling. These foldovers can be found in street stalls at affordable prices as well as in some restaurants.
Diversity in Madagascar
With so much diversity in the cuisine in Madagascar, there is much to savor and experience. So when out exploring the region, do take some time to try these traditional foods out.
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