5 Local Foods To Try In Uganda!

Uganda, The Pearl Of Africa, is abundant in locally grown nutritious food. Ugandans can often pick the ingredients straight from their family gardens to cook amazing healthy meals every day!
Rather different to those of us who buy processed foods from the supermarket daily, this food is straight from ‘farm to table’.

Banana Growing Farm
Bananas grow all over Uganda and are an important diet staple.

So what food should you try when visiting Uganda? Read on to find out…

perhaps on our volunteer program?

1. Matooke

This banana based dish is commonly referred to as Ugandas National Food. Particularly in the Western regions, such as Mbarara (where we are based!).

It is made from plantain (green bananas). These are steamed in banana leaves (or boiled) and then mashed.

This creates a banana product of similar consistency of mashed potatoes! It is often served with ground nut sauce, chicken or vegetables.

Matooke is surprisingly healthy as the main carbohydrate in a meal, mainly comprised of water and rich in potassium, with a number of micro-nutrients the steaming process maintains.

Yellow banana dish - Matooke

2. Gnut Sauce

Is a meal really a meal without this Ugandan food staple?

You would struggle to find a buffet that does not have Gnut sauce on its menu here in Uganda, and for good reason!
Peanut sauce is referred to as Ground nut sauce – or Gnut for short.

Gnut sauce is a delicious creamy condiment, made from sweet red peanuts.
In Uganda, it is served with almost every dish; matoke, cassava, sweet potatoes…

We prepare it by grinding the groundnuts until it resembles peanut butter. This is then mixed with hot water and brought to the boil. Then onion and tomato are generally added.

Peanut Sauce on plate
Matooke with Gnut Sauce.
Credit: Empower African Children

3. Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers, or Nsenene as the locals call them, are a Ugandan delicacy.

Following the heavy rainy season, these critters swarm in masses, to be fried and enjoyed by Ugandans. They are even exported to Europe and America and sell for high prices!

To prepare them, they are pan fried in their own fats with onion and salt to offset their naturally sweet flavors
They are caught and prepared by market vendors who can be seen along the streets selling them by the bucket!

This Ugandan delicacy is high in nutritional value- try something new when you come to volunteer!

fried grasshopper in a bucket
Nsenene, or Grasshoppers, are a delicacy in Uganda.
photo credit

4. Kikomando

Kikomando is a plate of chopped up chappati and beans.

It is a staple meal enjoyed by both rich and poor.
For university students, ghetto dwellers and street children this cheap, tasty and filling plate is a saviour!

So for travelers on a budget this could be your new favorite dish, at only 2000UGX per plate….

Did you know that the famous Ugandan musician turned politician and philanthropist Bobi Wine actually coined the term Kikomando in one of his songs?

Kikomando rice and beans served in uganda
Kikomando – Beans and Chapatti – is a very popular meal here particularly among students – photo credit

5. Rolex

Ah, the humble rolex. There you are in our times of hunger, in need of a snack, or breakfast, or lunch.

Rolex stands are found almost anywhere in Uganda, on every street corner, on the side of the highways.

A rolex at its most humble is a chapatti and a two egg omelette rolled up together, sold for roughly 2000 UGX.
Often though they are prepared with cabbage, tomatoes and onions in the omelette.

Such is the Ugandan love for their rolex, restaurants are beginning to sell their upmarket takes on this basic street food with additions such as avocado… Yum!

Learn more about Rolex here

rolex stand in uganda street food
Rolex stands like this are all over Uganda, with many making a living from them
Credit: Rachel Peet

Those are our top Ugandan staple foods

What are yours?

Come and volunteer with us, the Living Music Foundation and experience life here for yourself! 
>>> Check out our volunteer program here!

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