The best way to enjoy your safari holiday in Uganda is to taste one of the popular dishes locally prepared.
Uganda is a diverse country with many ethnic groups and cultures, and its cuisine reflects that. You will find traditional staples like corn, beans, cassava, plantains, and bananas, as well as dishes influenced by Indian, Arab, and Asian cuisines.
Most Ugandans grow their own food on countryside farms and then it’s sold in local markets. You will rarely find stores/supermarkets selling ‘real food’ apart from flour, sugar and those small ingredients used in cooking.
Here are some of the dishes worth trying on your next safari in Uganda.
14 Local Ugandan Foods To Try
Rolex is not a watch, but a popular street food in Uganda that consists of a chapati rolled with an omelet inside. Rolex is cheap and delicious and can be customized with cheese, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, or any other ingredients you like.
Rolex is a great snack for any time of the day, and you can find it in almost any street corner or market.
This is a classic Ugandan dish that dates back to the 19th century when it was created by the chef of a Buganda king. Luwombo is a stew of chicken, beef, or fish cooked with vegetables and peanut sauce in banana leaves.
The banana leaves give the dish a smoky flavor and keep the meat moist and tender. Luwombo is usually served with rice, matoke, or posho. You can find luwombo in most restaurants that serve local cuisine, especially in Kampala and central Uganda.
Katogo is a traditional breakfast dish that consists of fried plantains mixed with meat or beans in a tomato sauce. Katogo will keep you energized for the day ahead.
Despite being a breakfast dish, katogo can be enjoyed at any time of the day. You can find katogo in local cafes or hotels.
This is a simple but delicious dish of roasted meat on skewers. You can choose from different types of meat, such as chicken, pork, goat, or beef.
Muchomo is seasoned with salt, pepper, and sometimes other spices, and grilled over charcoal until crispy and juicy. Muchomo is often served with roasted plantains (gonja), salad, or chips. You can find muchomo in roadside stalls, markets, and restaurants all over Uganda.
Posho is a staple food in Uganda and many other parts of Africa. It is made from white corn flour that is cooked with water until it forms a stiff dough.
Posho is eaten with your hands, by breaking off a piece and dipping it in a sauce or soup. Posho is very filling and goes well with any kind of meat, beans, or vegetable dish.
Chapati is a flatbread that originated in India, but has become widely adopted in Uganda and other East African countries. Chapati is made from wheat flour, water, salt, and oil, and cooked on a hot griddle until golden and flaky.
Chapati can be eaten plain or with butter, jam, honey, or peanut butter for breakfast, or with meat, beans, or vegetable dishes for lunch or dinner. You can also find chapati rolled with eggs (rolex), or beans (kikomando) as a filling snack.
Pilau is another dish that has Indian roots, but has been adapted to suit the local palate. Pilau is rice cooked with spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric, and sometimes mixed with meat, vegetables, nuts, or raisins.
Pilau is fragrant and flavorful, and can be eaten as a main course or a side dish. You can find pilau in restaurants that serve Indian or Swahili cuisine, or at special occasions like weddings and festivals.
Matoke is the most common type of banana in Uganda, and it is used to make various dishes. Matoke are green bananas that are starchy and not sweet, and they are usually cooked by steaming or boiling them in banana leaves until soft.
Matoke can be eaten plain or mashed with butter or ghee (clarified butter), or mixed with groundnuts (peanuts) or beans to make a thick sauce. Matoke is often served with meat or vegetable dishes as a staple food.
9. Groundnut sauce
Groundnuts are the same as peanuts, and they are widely used in Ugandan cuisine.
Groundnut sauce is a thick and creamy sauce made from roasted peanuts that are ground into a paste and cooked with water, onion, garlic, salt, and sometimes tomatoes or greens. Groundnut sauce can be eaten with matoke, posho, rice, or vegetables.
This is a special treat for pork lovers. It is named after the large and durable locally crafted frying pans used for cooking. Kikalayi is fried pork that is cut into small pieces and cooked in large pans over firewood.
The pork is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and sometimes other spices, and fried until crispy and tender. Kikalayi is served on a big round tray with optional red chili sauce. Kikalayi is best enjoyed with friends and cold drinks. You can find kikalayi in bars, restaurants, and markets that specialize in pork dishes.
Malewa is a delicacy from eastern Uganda that is made from bamboo shoots. Malewa is cooked with onions, tomatoes, and spices, and sometimes mixed with meat or fish.
Malewa has a sour and smoky taste, and is rich in fiber and minerals. Malewa is usually served with rice or millet bread (kalo).
Malakwang is a traditional dish from northern Uganda, especially among the Acholi. It is made from the leaves of a plant with the same name, which has a tangy and sour taste.
Malakwang is usually cooked with peanut butter and tomatoes, and served with sweet potatoes, millet bread, posho, or cassava. Malakwang is not only delicious, but also nutritious and medicinal. It is believed to increase milk production for breastfeeding mothers and to heal wounds when applied as a paste.
13. Akaro/ Kalo
Akaro, also known as Kalo, is a type of millet bread that is popular in some regions of Uganda, especially in the western part. It is made from a mixture of millet flour and cassava flour, which are cooked together in boiling water until they form a thick dough.
Akaro is usually served with meat, fish, vegetables, or sauce. It is a nutritious and filling dish that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Eshabwe is a traditional dish from Uganda, made from ghee, salt, water, and sometimes dry roasted beef. It is a white, thick, and smooth sauce that is usually served with akaro, matooke, potatoes, or other staples.
Eshabwe is a delicacy that originated in Ankole and is often prepared for special ceremonies or occasions. It has a unique taste and aroma that some people may find hard to handle.
Uganda has a lot more to offer in terms of food, culture, and nature, so don’t miss the chance to explore this amazing country. These are just some of the many delicious dishes that you can try on your safari in Uganda. Whether you eat at a restaurant, a market, or a local home, you will be sure to enjoy the flavors and aromas of Ugandan cuisine.
Feel free to talk to us to arrange for you an amazing cultural experience during which you can explore different dishes from Uganda.