Influenced by the flavours of Africa, Portugal, India and the Middle East, Mozambique’s culinary flair is a boon if you truly love and live to eat. From the delicious aromas of piri piri chicken on the barbecue and light Portuguese milk tartlets washed down with an espresso, to fresh seafood straight from the ocean, get your fill of Mozambique in the capital, Maputo. You’ve never tasted anything better…
Crayfish the size of your forearm, prawns the envy of kings and queens… for fresh seafood there’s nothing quite like Mozambique. A cacophony of fishwives will vie for your attention at Maputo’s famous open-air fish markets where the freshest muscles, prawns, calamari and fresh fish are for sale by the kilogram. Hand your tasty catch over to one of the nearby baraccas that will cook up your meal in minutes on an open fire. Tasty seafood, washed down with a 2M or two under the Maputo sunshine in convivial surrounds – a great way to spend a Sunday lunch.
Chilli, peri peri, garlic, olive oil and lemons are liberally used in Mozambican cuisine. The traditional churrasco chicken is liberally marinated in this paste before it is barbecued on the open fire and served with a basic lettuce and tomato salad, fresh Portuguese bread rolls and a mountain of chips. One of the best spots to enjoy churrasco is Piri Piri on 24 de Julho Avenue. Start your churrasco off with a delicious calde verde soup (kale soup) and some crème caramel pudding or arroz doce (rice pudding) to end it off.
Mozambique’s Portuguese influences are perhaps most notable in its pastelarias (patisseries) that dot the capital’s streets. Enjoy a bica (espresso) or meia de leite (café latte) on the pavement as you watch the bustling energy of this African city go by. Recommended pastelarias in Maputo include Cristal, Pastelaria Nautilus in the Polana Shopping Centre and our favourite Pastelaria Surf located in the Jardim dos Namorados overlooking Maputo Bay. Order a pasteis de nata or bolo de arroz (rice flour cake) or any of the tasty and freshly baked Portuguese pastries on offer.
Traditional and tasty
Mozambican food may have strong Portuguese influences, but it has not lost the authenticity of African traditions and flavours. Among the more popular local dishes are Matapa, a dish made from stewed cassava leaves (similar to spinach), ground peanuts, garlic and coconut milk; cassava with red sauce, which includes fresh tomatoes, green peppers, onions, garlic and oil; and the staple xima (pap) served with almost everything.