As it is commonly said in Uganda, “A delicious meal makes a memorable safari or journey.” Food is a very important and key element in any safari, and for any traveler to have a successful safari, the food must be prepared above and beyond their expectations: because food offers the best token to the experiences gathered in the wilderness. And with that said, Uganda offers some of the most mesmerizing culinary tours in East Africa. Many great travelers who have traveled to Uganda can attest to the exceptionally delicious dishes Uganda offers its visitors not just on wildlife but culinary tours. Just perfectly combined with a truly African setting, you will be served your meals with ancient African traditional crockery items that enrich and beautifully preserve the culinary tourism, history, and traditional origins of Uganda.
Beyond the wildlife and natural features found throughout the country, Uganda is made magical by the amazing and delicious traditional foods it has to offer; enhanced with very fresh and enticing foods obtained from backyard gardens of fertile enriched soils, and well-known for the healthy nutrients that it contains. These foods are excellent for boosting energy levels while on an epic and exciting tour through Uganda.
Culinary tours are on a rapid rise in Uganda, spreading across the country, with each region having its signature dish. This is making culinary tourism so adventurous, a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a traveler with all opportunities to explore Uganda’s different regions; western, eastern, northern, and southern. On a Uganda culinary tour, you get to unwrap what each region has to offer. This culinary journey also provides a traveler with the opportunity to learn more about a specific region visited as well as gain exposure to traditional African customs. Below are the highlights of culinary tours in Uganda in each of the country’s regions;
The central region of Uganda, which is also home to the country’s capital – Kampala, offers the taste of the famous delicious Luwombo. And if you are on a Uganda safari in the central region, you should expect to taste this delicious delicacy. The Luwombo is a masterpiece of the Baganda. According to this tribe, Luwombo is a cultural royalty dish made for esteemed guests for its superb taste. Luwombo comprises various food items, particularly sauces including chicken, beef, goat meat, and fresh ground nuts or mushroom: which are expertly prepared in banana leaves and served alongside a delicious local brew made from sweet bananas. Luwombo is served with matooke, rice, posho, pumpkins, yams, and vegetables.
The western part of Uganda is the source of several foodstuffs for the entire country, and it flourishes with many amazing dishes. However, the most famous dish in this region is the Banyankole’s Kalo and Eshabwe, a delightful meal made from milk and butter that is a very delicious dish to taste while on a trip to western Uganda. You should not pass up the opportunity to sample the freshly prepared long-horned cattle BBQ. A fantastic campfire experience is enhanced by the following refreshing dishes: firinda (popular among the Batooro and Banyoro), matooke, enturire, and a variety of others are just a few of the rich delicacies available in this region of the country.
Furthermore, this part of the country is home to most of the country’s popular safari destinations. Therefore, you can combine your culinary safari with gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park on a wildlife safari in either Queen Elizabeth or Lake Mburo National Parks.
The northern region of Uganda is the place to go for the best vegetarian dishes and other amazing cuisines seasoned to perfection. Despite being rich in delicious dishes, many tourists rarely visit this side of Uganda because of its remoteness, missing out on the delicious dishes prepared here. Some of the dishes that thrive here include Kwon (a staple dough made from maize, millet, or sorghum) or Amukeke (sliced dry sweet potato) served with an amazing vegetable dish made of eggplants, okra, and dried fish. Malakwang, anyoya (a mixture of beans and maize nicely spiced with onions), and other dishes are also available.
The Eastern region of Uganda is the only place on the planet where the outstanding delicacy dish – Malewa is prepared. Malewa is a very simple but so traditionally rich dish in the cultural history of the Gishu tribe. When you travel further into Iteso territory, you will come across “Kalo” (sorghum bread; made by mixing cassava flour with sorghum flour). You will also be served “ebale” (mushroom sauce), which comes in several varieties with local names such as eswei, imaruk, aujo, and many others. These mushrooms can be cooked in a variety of ways, including sun-dried paste or cooked with sour milk. It can also be made without any ingredients by combining it with green vegetables known as “eboo.” It is also customary in many Teso homes to prepare chicken for high-profile visitors such as yourself Make time to travel to the East.
In addition to the general foods consumed throughout the country, some areas have distinct and local food traditions which cut across the entire country. Among these include;
Rolex is a famous street food made of a chapatti that is roasted rather than baked. The chapatti is then used to make a wrap with an egg omelet and a few tomatoes, in addition to several other vegetables (green paper, carrots, etc). This is Uganda’s most popular food delicacy. The Ugandan Rolex is a street dish and can be found on most of the country’s streets.
Katogo is a popular Ugandan dish, particularly in Southern and Central Uganda It is made up of half protein and half starch, with the most common foods being cassava and beans. Other katogo preparations include Matoke with beef, ground nut sauce, or fish. Katogo in Uganda is often prepared as a breakfast meal.
Pilau is a popular dish in Arua district near the Congo border. This dish consists of rice fried with vegetables and chunks of chicken or beef, as well as pilau spices. This pilau is similar to what East Indians call “biryani,” though pilau is milder in comparison to Indian Biryani. However, Pilau can also be found in central Uganda, especially in the city center.
Grasshoppers are green insects that fly seasonally in the western – central part of the country in Masaka District, and most locals make a lot of money because grasshoppers are in high demand during the season. Catching them is done at night and it is amazing how the insects are caught. When light is shone on large tin sheets; this light attracts the When preparing the grasshoppers, their legs, wings, and sometimes heads are removed and fried with onions before being served. Grasshoppers are served like snacks, much like popcorn.
Luwombo is one of the distinct delicacies Uganda has to offer. This is common in Central Uganda. It is a popular Baganda dish often served to guests at restaurants or while on traditional marriages and wedding ceremonies. It is prepared uniquely and usually has chicken, groundnut, mushrooms all wrapped in specific banana leaves.
Guests can accompany their meal with banana juice also made from specific banana plant species known as amabidde. This is planted mainly for brewing purposes and it is never mixed with other banana plants.
Kalo/atap/millet is a special food among Banyakole and Banyoro in Western Uganda and also Teso region at large plus some parts of the North. It is prepared from millet or sorghum flour to make millet/sorghum bread and can be eaten with different sauces – meat, fish, etc. Eshabwe is another common meal among the western tribes. This is made from milk and butter.
Malewa is a popular delicacy dish in the Eastern part of Uganda, particularly among the Bagisu. It is prepared from bamboo shoots that are often dried above a fireplace taking about 3 days. The bamboo shoots are soaked into water overnight to make it soft and its top layer is peeled off. The shoots can then be covered in water and boiled for 30 minutes or more. The water is poured off, and the hard joints of the bamboo are cut off but the soft parts are left. It is the soft parts that are cut into smaller pieces, rinsed in water then boiled again for 30 minutes. The dissolved rock salt/Magadi is poured over the cut bamboo shoots, and after it has boiled for another 30 minutes under medium heat, groundnut sauce can be poured over. The bamboo boils for 35 minutes till it is ready for consumption and it can be eaten with matooke.
Other dishes you can expect on a culinary tour to Uganda include roasted maize, mandazis, samosas, white flying ants, and a variety of others.