Niger Food and Drink
Although Niger has concentrated on improving its agricultural output, shortages of locally produced foodstuffs are common, owing to drought. Traditional dishes tend to be less varied than in countries further south and are usually based around millet, rice or niebé, a type of bean that has become an important crop. Meals therefore centre on this plain yet filling staple, with flavour added by means of a vegetable or meat sauce.
Spices such as saffron, nutmeg and cinnamon have been introduced into the cuisine after centuries of trade with Arab North Africa, while dishes with a French twist are also common due to France's 19th century colonisation.
Shinkafa: Dense balls of pounded rice served with meat and vegetable stews.
Tattabara: Flame-grilled flattened whole pigeon.
Deguidegui: Tomato stew often served with a mix of spaghetti and macaroni known as maka.
Brochettes: Chunks of beef or mutton placed on a skewer and cooked over an open fire. Most commonly found in Hausa country and the nomadic regions of the north.
Laban: A branded frozen yogurt drink especially popular in the hotter months.
Dodo: Deep-fried slices of plantain.
Palm nut soup: A typical West African dish is ever there was one.
Salaat: Often beginning a meal, colourful salads are made from seasonal vegetables such as lettuce and tomatoes.
Foura: Small balls of ground and slightly fermented millet crushed with milk, sugar and spices.
Ogbono: Also called the bush mango, the tree produces flavour-filled fruit and nuts.
Tea: Ubiquitous drink in Niger, it quenches the thirst of millions of residents daily.
Things to know
Alcohol is available, but there are restrictions because of Muslim beliefs and traditions.
Expected for most services, usually 10%. Most hotels add a 10 to 15% service charge.