Located at the westernmost point of the African continent, Dakar is the largest city in Senegal, where colorful markets and great beaches are bustling year-round. Locals aren’t too busy to be friendly, though; the Senegalese capital has a reputation for being exceedingly welcoming, thanks to a deeply embedded culture of teranga, or hospitality. The cosmopolitan city keeps reinventing itself too, so there’s always something new to check out. In the last few years, Dakar has added a prominent new museum, the Museum of Black Civilizations; a new regional express train connecting the surrounding area; and new gathering places, like the Diamniadio Olympic Stadium.
Dakar’s multicultural food scene is an exploration of international cuisines, including a number of spots serving Cape Verdean cuisine, from the archipelago just 400 miles out to sea to the west. But one should really travel to Dakar to dive into the complex flavors of Senegalese specialities, like thiéboudienne (ceebu jën in Wolof, the most widely spoken language in Senegal). A point of national pride and the most popular local dish, the mixture of tomato-vegetable broth with broken rice and marinated fish was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2021. Even as Dakar has rapidly modernized, the culture remains deeply rooted in its traditions, constantly reflected in its food.
While some Senegalese will tell you the best dishes are savored only in a local’s home, many restaurants have adapted homey flavors for visitors as well. Look out for ancient grains such as millet or fonio, as well as lots of rice; locally grown vegetables like green beans, radish, and cauliflower; grilled meats, especially beef and lamb; and of course tons of seafood from the Atlantic Ocean all around.
A culinary content creator, Yasmine Fofana launched the first food blog of Côte d’Ivoire in 2012. Her mission is to shift the African narrative through the various cuisines and flavors of the continent.Read More