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Benin Food and Drink

Benin’s cuisine is an exotic fusion of European and African flavours. Fish and shellfish are popular choices in the south, close to the country’s lagoons and Atlantic coast, while chicken comprises the most common protein in the drier north.

No meal, whether it’s a quick snack from a street-side hawker or a full meal at one of Cotonou’s finest restaurants, is complete without a rich sauce. Commonly tomato or peanut based, these sauces are the mainstay of Benin’s stews and fried foods.

Though desserts are thin on the ground, there is a plethora of freshly-picked tropical fruits including mangoes, oranges and bananas. The small locally-grown pineapples, which can be skinned and chopped on the street for you, are particularly fine.

Specialities

Aloko: Deep-fried plantain slices.
Akpan: Fried corn dumplings served with a dipping sauce (common street food).
Smoked fish: Fish smoked over an open fire.
Fufu and garri: Paste formed from either yam or cassava tubers, respectively.
Moyo: A sauce served with fried fish, made from tomatoes, onions and peppers.
Ago glain: Stew made from shellfish such as crab, tomatoes and chillies.
Peanut soup: Made with peanuts, tomatoes and carrots and served with chicken.
Yovo doko: Doughnuts, also called beignet.
Akkara: Fritters made from skinned black-eyed peas.
La Béninoise: Benin’s favourite lager.

Tipping

It is normal to tip 10% in hotels and restaurants.

Drinking age

18.