The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Winter is starting to draw closer. Our taste palates will soon begin to start craving more warm and comforting, flavourful foods. African cuisines, such as slowly cooked meats that are well-spiced, stews made with seasonal vegetables, and vegan meals, are friendly on both your body and your budget.

This article will ease you into the restaurants you can walk into for some of the best African food in Calgary. It will be a short introduction to the many regional cuisines of the beautiful and diverse continent where spices and flavour are fully incorporated into your meat and vegetables. 

Hopefully, the rest of the world can catch on to the many different vibrant cuisines of the continent. 

Horn of Africa: Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti

The Horn refers to the peninsula that is the easternmost extension of African land that is home to the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. The region’s most popular dishes are stews with injera, which is an Ethiopian spongy and tangy flatbread made out of a nutty and tiny red grain called teff. InjeraInjera is a spongy sour flatbread common in Ethiopia and EritreaPhoto by Mariam Taiwo

Because these countries' cultures have been linked together throughout their long history, Ethiopia and Eritrea have similar cuisines. Both cultures have heavy and hearty meat and vegetable stews served with injera. Some Horn of Africa restaurants you can find in Calgary include  Abyssinia Restaurant, Ensira Restaurant, Marathon Restaurant, MashaAllah Baraka Somali Restaurant, Hdmona Eritrean restaurant, Luubaan East African Restaurant, EC Fusion & Lounge and much more. 

West Africa: Nigeria, Ghana 

Narrowing down the cuisines of the 16 different nations of West Africa is impossible, however there are some common dishes. 

Cassava vegetable, which is used to make fufu, is a common one. Fufu is a starchy ball of cooked cassava dough which originated in Ghana but is a common dish across West Africa, typically eaten with soups and stews. Peanuts are also a major part of many dishes as it is a major crop in the region. Fish and meat are also very commonly used, as well as other ingredients like okra, tomatoes, onions, red pepper and spices. Some of the best West African restaurants you can find in Calgary are Flavours Restaurant and Merilyn’s Kitchen.JollofriceJollof rice, a dish from Nigeria in West Africa. Photo by Mariam Taiwo

South Africa

South Africa’s cuisine has been shaped not only by native influences but also by its different colonizing countries and trades. The region cooks with beef, pumpkin, sambals and curries. The region also makes use of a lot of beef, pork, shrimp, fish, chicken and a lot of different spices. Soups, cornmeal, vegetables and condiments also make up a large part of its cuisine. Some South African Restaurants you can find in Calgary are PaSu Farm Restaurant, Nando’s Calgary and Barcelos Flame Grilled Chicken.

PeriPeriChicken copy copySouth African PeriPeri Chicken. Photo by Mariam Taiwo

North Africa: Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Morocco

Food from North Africa has majorly European and Middle Eastern influences. Falafels are a major street food in Egypt but they are made from fava beans rather than chickpeas. Couscous is a popular Morrocan cuisine and Tunisia’s cuisine is full of Arabic favourites such as shakshuka and baklava. Most of the staples in this region can also be found in the Mediterrean and they include beans, eggplant, lamb and honey. Tunisia has harissa which is their popular garlic chili paste. To try out North African foods, here are some restaurants to visit: Sultan’s Tent, The Casbah Restaurant, Damascus and Moroccan Tent Restaurant

couscous1Couscous is a popular dish across North Africa. Photo by Mariam Taiwo

Africa is the second largest continent in the world and the second most populated continent with 1.3 billion people and over 30 million square km. Their traditional dishes are influenced by some of their colonizing countries like Britain, France, Portugal and Greece.