Botswana promises an incredible safari experience with the spectacular Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park’s abundance of wildlife. However, this experience is all enriched by unique and delicious traditional Botswana foods. This article will help you experience popular foods in Botswana.
Popular Foods in Botswana
Seswaa is a traditional meat dish of Botswana, made of beef, goat, chicken, or lamb meat. The fatty meat is generally boiled together with onion and pepper until tender, “Just enough salt” is added and then the meat is shredded or pounded. It is often served with polenta, pap (maize meal), or sorghum meal porridge. This dish of shredded and pounded meat is usually eaten at important events, prepared in traditional three-legged pots over an open fire. The men are usually put in charge of making this dish as it involves a bit of muscle for all the pounding once the beef is cooked.
Almost every braai meal (barbeque) in Southern Africa will be accompanied by pap, a word taken from the Dutch meaning ‘porridge’. It may be soft and smooth (slap pap), dry and crumbly (phutu pap) or a thick consistency (stywe pap). It is made from local maize meal (ground maize) and is a staple food for many inhabitants. Maize meal is inexpensive so it is often combined with vegetables for more nutrition, or eaten as a breakfast food mixed with milk, butter, and sugar, or with Maas (fermented milk). Phutu pap is usually served with a savory sauce that includes tomato, onions, and mushrooms.
Vetkoek is a fried dough bread eaten in Botswana and indeed throughout many parts of Africa. Literally translating from Afrikaans to meat ‘fat cake’, vetkoek can be filled up with mince or chicken stew or as a sweet snack with honey, jam, or syrup.
It is also often served on the side of many dishes, as you can see from the picture vetkoek is great for mopping up the juices of soups or stews. It is enjoyed on special occasions including festivals, but it is also widely available from street food stalls and restaurants.
Often called the Wild or African Spinach – Morogo is an interesting combo of any 3 different dark green leafy vegetables, one of which has to be pumpkin leaves.
The dish is truly an acquired taste, even for the locals. It’s considered a more bitter version of ordinary spinach. It’s also a kickass source of protein, often consumed as an alternative to meat. It’s filled with an abundance of vitamin C and vitamin A, iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Morogo is either eaten solo or with a combination of onions, tomatoes, and lots of butter. If you’re all about healthy eating – this is what you need on your plate!
Matemekwane is one of Botswana’s most popular bread dishes. Although Botswana doesn’t actually produce its own bread flavor, these little dumplings have become a part of the country’s staple diet. Matemekwane is a seasoned dumpling often stuffed with meat and vegetables. They are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside and usually served with hot soup or a dip.
One of the popular foods in Botswana to explore is serobe. It is a popular dish from Botswana consisting of cow, sheep, or goat lungs and intestines which are cooked until tender. If sheep or goat is the selected animal, the dish is cooked together with the trotters, which are chopped into smaller pieces and cooked twice until fit for consumption.
Phaphatha is a circular, flattened dumpling from Botswana, consisting of flour and yeast. It is cooked without water, often in a frying pan. Due to its large size, the bread is usually used as an accompaniment to big meals, although it can be consumed for breakfast or as a snack.
8. Goat meat stew
If you are wondering what goat meat tastes like, it is a lot like lamb. If the thought of eating it puts you off, don’t dismiss it because, combined with a combination of carrots, potatoes, peas, and tomatoes, it is delicious. It is probably one of the most popular meats in Southern Africa and very good for you as it is lean, with less saturated fat, calories, and cholesterol than beef. There are many ways to prepare goat meat but slow and long in a stew makes it full of flavor and tender. If it tastes too ‘gamey’, you’ve probably been served an ‘old’ goat.