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World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > Gambia

Gambia Food and Drink

The Gambia has a thriving delicious local cuisine with lots of fresh produce to try and is available at restaurants and hotels. Some hotels and restaurants organise Gambian-style barbecue-buffet nights featuring freshly grilled local fish and chicken, spicy stews and rice dishes. International food is also available at most tourist hotels and restaurants.

Specialities

Benachin – also called Jollof Rice in other countries, a mixture of seasoned meat (fish, mutton, chicken or beef) and rice with tomatoes, tomato paste, onions and chilis. The vegetarian option replaces meat with vegetables.
Domodah – the national dish of The Gambia, domodah is meat stewed in groundnut puree and served with rice.
• Chicken yassa – chicken cooked with onions, garlic and lime, served with rice.
Plasas – meat and smoked fish cooked in palm oil with spinach, served with rice.
Mafe – meat stew simmered in sauce thickened with ground peanuts.
Haako – steamed couscous served with a vegetable sauce.

Things to know

With only a few exceptions, Gambian bars and restaurants are more frequented by tourists than locals. Many Gambians don't drink alcohol, and most prefer to entertain at home, only eating out when away from home or on business.

Tipping

Tips are discretionary. A 10% service charge is sometimes included in hotel and restaurant bills.

Drinking age

18 but not strictly adhered to as so few people consume alcohol.

Regional drinks

• Jul Brew is the local speciality beer.
Attaya – strong and sweet home-brewed tea.
• Baobab juice – a pale non-alcoholic drink made from the fruit of the giant baobab tree.
• Palm wine – a misty white and sweet alcoholic drink made from the sap of certain palm trees.
• Wonjo juice – a non-alcoholic drink made from dried hibiscus flowers.
• Freshly pressed and mixed fruit juice is sold from beach stalls. Make sure the vendor peels the fruit and prepares the juice in front of you.

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