Food in Daily Life.
The sharing of cooked food is one of the major ways to cement social relationships and express the high value placed on human company. Sharing food and drink demonstrates hospitality and trust. Social support networks among kin and friends, particularly between country folk and their urban relatives, are held together symbolically with gifts of cooked and uncooked food. Sacks of beans, maize, or peanuts “from home” can be seen on the roofs of bush taxis traveling between the countryside and urban centers.
Meals consist of a cooked cereal or root staple accompanied by a sauce or stew. In the southern areas, the major staples are root crops such as cassava and cocoyams, and plantains; in the moist savanna and Grassfields, maize and plantains; and in the arid north, sorghum and millet. Rice and pasta have become popular. Staples may be boiled, pounded, or fried; most commonly they are made into a thick porridge shaped into oblong balls. Sauces usually have a base of palm oil and ground peanuts. Vegetables such as greens, okra, and squashes are common. Hot peppers, onions, ginger, and tomatoes are popular condiments. Dried or fresh fish or meat may be included in the sauce. Uncooked fruits such as bananas, mangoes, papayas, oranges, and avocados are popular snacks and desserts; they are not considered part of meals.
In many regions, men and guests eat before women and children. Hand washing is part of the etiquette of meals. Whether from a separate dish or a common pot, a small ball of porridge is formed by three fingers of the right hand and then dipped in sauce. Westernization has led families to eat together around a common table, using separate place settings and cutlery.
Food taboos vary by ethnic group. The Bassa of the Littoral province serve a gourmet dish of viper steaks in black sauce, but only the oldest males among the Ewondo (Beti) of the Center province may eat viper. Totems of specific clans, healers, or royal dynasties are taboo to certain members of some ethnic groups.
Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. At the visit of an honored guest, a wedding, or a funeral, a chicken, goat, sheep, or steer is served to guests. Special drinks, such as palm wine and millet beer as well as bottled carbonated drinks, beer, and wine are served at these occasions. Among the Bamiléké, as part of coronation festivities, the newly installed paramount chief ceremoniously serves each subject a handful of beans mixed with palm oil to symbolize the chief’s ability to ensure food and fertility in his realm.
Cameroonian cuisine is one of the most varied in Africa due to its location on the crossroads between the north, west, and centre of the continent; added to this is the profound influence of French food, a legacy of the colonial era.
Staple foods in Cameroon include cassava, cocoyam, yam, rice, plantain, potato, maize, beans, and millet, and Ndole, Achu. The French introduced French bread and Italian pasta, which are not as widely consumed, however, due to their price. The main source of protein for most inhabitants is fish, with poultry and meat being too expensive for anything other than special occasions. Bush meat, however, is commonly consumed, some of the most sought after species being the pangolin, the porcupine and the giant rat. There is also a thriving, illegal trade in endangered bush meat species such as chimpanzee and gorilla.
Local food is excellent, but luxury items can be extremely expensive. There are many restaurants in big towns and cities, with good service. Douala and Yaoundé have by far the greatest variety, with many different styles of cuisine represented, including Lebanese, Asian, African and European. Cheap and tasty Cameroonian food is served in chantiers and chop houses. The coastal area offers excellent fresh fish and prawns. Most international hotels have bars.
- Feuille (manioc leaves).
- West African peanut soup.
- Banana bread.
- Zom (spinach with meat).
- Fried sweet potatoes or plantains.
- Beef with pineapple or coconut.
- Achu (Taro in French)
- Condrè (Plantain with goat meat…)
- WataFufu and Eru
- Banane Malaxée
- Pommes Pilées
- Tenue Militaire
- Macabo Rapé
- poison braisé
Things to know:
Although vegetarianism is rare in Cameroon, it is possible for to get by on egg dishes, vegetables, pizza, bread and tropical fruit. Many dishes are served with rice, couscous, mashed manioc or chips made from potato, yam or plantain. Given that Cameroon was colonised repeatedly, New World staples were introduced several centuries ago, as well as European cooking techniques and culture. It is also influenced by its geography, with distinct differences between its North and South regions. Cameroon is made up of over 280+ ethnic groups and cuisine differs between ethnic group and also by region.
The average tip for porters and hotel staff should be about 10%, otherwise service charges are usually included.
• Bili-bili (a homemade beer made from millet, sorghum or corn).
• Palm wine (Well know as Matango)
• Afofo (a firewater distilled from palm sap).
• Coffee. You can’t find easilly Cameroonian coffee in any small shop. If you enter supermarket, and would like to taste coffee made locally, kindly ask for Café moulu de Koutaba or Café UCCAO