The country of Guinea is located on the West coast of Africa. It is also known as Guinea Conakry to distinguish it from Guinea Bissau and Equatorial Guinea, the two other Guineas which are also on Africa’s west coast.
Conakry is the capital city of Guinea and thee official language is French, which is taught in schools, but most residents speak other languages, of which there are over 20. Over 13 million people live in Guinea Conakry.
The country is rich in natural beauty. Over 20 rivers originate from Guinea due to the country’s highlands. Besides the mountainous landscapes and lush forested areas, Guinea also has white sandy beaches. The climate is tropical, with temperatures seldom falling into the 60’s. There are two seasons, dry and wet with the wet season being quite long and rainy.
Most Popular Guinean Dishes
Guinean cuisine features many foods that are locally sourced like tropical fruit, and root vegetables like sweet potatoes, yams and cassava. Corn, rice and peanuts are amongst the most common staple ingredients.
Along the coast, seafood is eaten more than meat, smoked fish is particularly popular. Since most of the population is Muslim, pork is the least eaten meat. Guineans prefer chicken, beef or lamb.
Most dishes feature a sauce, soup or stew served with starches like rice and to. Guinean cuisine is influenced by local tribes as well as food from neighboring countries, particularly Senegal.
So without further ado, here are the absolute must-try traditional dishes of Guinea along with recipes to try for yourself.
Poulet Yassa is a chicken dish made with onions, lemon and mustard. The chicken is first marinated in a mixture containing mustard, lemon juice and spices. One important component of this dish is making a large amount of caramelized onions. The chicken is cooked with the onions until tender.
Poulet Yassa is also made with lamb or fish. Though this dish originates from Senegal, it is the unofficial national dish of Guinea.
Tori or Tô is the Guinean style fufu. It is made from plantains or cassava. Cassava flour or pounded plantain is mixed with water to make a slurry. The mixture is poured into a pot of boiling water and while still cooking, stirred continuously for several minutes until it thickens. At this point the texture is akin to a very thick pudding.
To is usually eaten with stew. Unlike other styles of fufu, for instance Ghanian fufu which is used like a utensil to scoop up food, Guinean fufu can be quite soft so it’s sometimes eaten with stew poured over it.
Fouti is a dish of okra and rice. The okra is boiled together with hot peppers and eggplant. When soft, the vegetables are ground into a thick sauce which is then seasoned with spices. It’s served with rice and topped with fried onions.
Fouti is also called Lafidi and is also a popular dish in Sierra Leone.
Mafe Tiga is a savory peanut butter sauce. Besides unsweetened peanut butter, other ingredients in the sauce are tomatoes, onions, peppers, meat or fish. It is made by first sautéing onions, after which the rest of the ingredients are added except for the peanut butter and meat, if it is being used.
Once the meat and peanut butter are added, the sauce is simmered until ready.
Mafe Tiga is also called groundnut stew. This dish is prepared not only in Guinea, it is popular throughout West Africa. It is usually served with rice or fonio.
Fonio is an ancient grain which is native to West Africa. Guinea grows the most fonio in the world. There are two types, white fonio and black fonio. Considered a superfood in the Western world, fonio is a resilient crop that grows well in poor soil and water conditions.
Fonio is a tiny grain and is described as having mild flavor and a texture similar to couscous. It’s most simply prepared by boiling in water. In Africa, it can be found topped with stews, made into porridge and even rolled into balls and cooked in sauce.
Latchiri is a couscous made from corn whereas kossam is a homemade fermented milk. The latchiri is made by steaming corn meal then flaking it out. Kossam can be made using boiled whole milk, or mixing powdered milk with hot water.
Plain yogurt and sometimes condensed milk or flavoring like vanilla essence is added to the heated milk, covered and left to ferment for several hours to several days. Some methods omit sweeteners, only adding them when the dish is served.
This dish originates from the nomadic Fulani people of West Africa. It is a popular wedding or special event food.
Mango Rafalari is a sweet and savoury mango sauce. Ripe mangoes are cooked with onions, spices and dried fish. The sauce is preferred spicy and served with rice. This dish is popular from around May to September during mango season when fresh ripe mangoes are most abundant.
Maffe Hako Poute
Maffe Hako Poute is a type of stew made from sweet potato leaves. The leaves are finely chopped and cooked in salted water along with chopped onions, maggi flavor cubes, salt and palm oil. It is sometimes made with meat or fish. Maffe Hako Poute is served over rice.
Maffe Hako Bantara
Maffe Hako Bantara is a type of stew made using cassava leaves. First meat and fish are cooked together. The fish is removed then peanut butter and the cassava leaves are added along with flavorings like onions, scallions and peppers. The cooked fish is deboned then added back to the pot. The sauce is cooked slowly over low heat. It is most commonly eaten with white rice.