Famous dishes from Asia, Europe and the Americas have all left their indelible mark on menus around the world.
African cuisines, however, have been slow to catch on globally.
In Uganda, for example, a dish called “the Rolex” — a rolled chapatti containing a fried egg and vegetables — is wildly popular, but little known outside the country.
“Rolex was started by a few university kids,” says Jon Blanc, the director of Ugandan tour company Kabiza Wilderness Safaris.
“Today all over Uganda men cook them on the street. In Rwanda where no street food is allowed, it is served in restaurants.”
Now, chefs from the African continent, and beyond, are promoting dishes from their home nations in very different ways online — and making a living from it.
Here’s how they are doing it — and, of course, what you should be eating.
Who: Charlene Rumbidzai Shoko, 31
Key Zimbabwean dishes: Sadza, a thickened porridge served at most meals with vegetables and stew; Nhedzi, a wild mushroom soup.
Shoko’s blog zimbokitchen.com
aims “to solve the daily pains of the Zimbabwean home chef, helping people prepare traditional Zimbabwean cuisine”.
“Google organic search has also enabled us to grow — any search on Zimbabwean food brings up ZimboKitchen in the top results,” Shoko adds.
Revenue streams: sales from themed recipe eBooks.
Why Zimbabwean food? It’s a custom to share dishes in Zimbabwean culture, and diners are encouraged to pace themselves and not to finish before the others.
Who: Kaluhi Adagala, 24
Key dishes: Ugali, a dense cornmeal paste; Irio, mashed green peas and potato; and Githeri, a corn and beans dish.
How: Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Adagala uses her blog to promote dishes with a heavy Kenyan influence.
“I take our beloved traditional recipes and reinvent them by adding … a much more global feel with ingredients that are locally available. My mission is to show the world Kenyan food and to put Kenyan food on the global culinary map.”
Revenue stream: brand partnerships, for example assisting with the marketing for Nairobi Food Market.
Why Kenyan food? “Kenyan cuisine is an amalgamation of ethnic, Indian and Arabic cuisine which have been slightly modified over centuries to suit our needs.
“With 42 tribes in our country, food preparation and methods borrows heavily from one tribe to the next which makes Kenyan food a celebration of diversity.”
Taste of Tanzania (Tanzania)
Who: Miriam Kinunda, 47
Key dishes: Ugali, a dense cornmeal paste; Nyama Choma, grilled meat; and chapati, a type of bread.
How: Kinunda’s Taste of Tanzania website, which she started off writing in Swahili, started gaining popularity in 2009.
Revenue stream: self-published books, YouTube channel and Taste of Tanzania spice brand.
Why Tanzanian food? “The Swahili people adapted to the cultures of the people that colonized them, from Persians, British, and Portuguese.
“You can find a few Swahili recipes that use the same names as some Persian or Indian recipes, but are prepared very differently.”
Eat Ethio (Ethiopia)
Who: Helina Tesega, 35
Key dishes: Injera, a spongy flat bread; wat, a spicy meat or vegetable stew; and Kitfo, marinated minced beef.
How: Based in Hong Kong, Tesega is bringing dishes influenced by her mum’s Ethiopian home cooking to Asia.
“There is little understanding [in China] of Ethiopia, its rich history, the people, the food and the culture … I provide a modern insight into all of this in a credible way.”
Revenue stream: supper clubs and catering events.
Why Ethiopian food? “I honestly think Ethiopian food is one of the most flavorsome of cuisines. It’s so distinctive,” Tesega says.
Berbere and niter kibbeh are key to Ethiopian cooking: berbere is a very hot blend of spices made from a large red chilli. Niter Kibbeh is a seasoned, clarified butter used in all kinds of dishes from meat to vegetables and eggs.
Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen (Ghana)
Key dishes: Jollof rice, a one-pot spiced rice dish; fufu, dough-like dish made with cassava; and kelewele, fried seasoned plantains.
How: Born to a Ghanaian father and Irish mother, Adjonyoh started her business after spending time in her grandmother’s kitchen in Ghana, and visiting the famous Kaneshi street market in Accra.
Revenue stream: pop-up restaurants in London and Berlin, catering and cookbooks.
Why Ghanian food? There are some seriously cool venues. Adjonyoh’s latest venture is a restaurant in a shipping container community project Pop Brixton
, in South London.