The foods eaten by people of Central African Republic

The diet of the Central African Republic (CAR) has been influenced by its geography, available natural resources, and cultural practices. The country is rich in natural resources like rivers and forests, which have historically provided a range of fish and game, as well as various fruits and vegetables. Over the past 500 years, the diet has remained relatively consistent, although there have been some introductions of new foods and cooking methods, often due to trade and colonial influences.


  • Cassava: Consumed in various forms including cassava leaves and roots, often made into a paste or porridge.
  • Maize and Millet: These grains are made into porridges or used as a side dish.
  • Rice: Sometimes consumed, although it is less common compared to cassava and other grains.


  • Fish: Given the country's numerous rivers, fish is a common protein source.
  • Bushmeat: Historically, hunting has provided various kinds of meat, such as antelope and boar.
  • Chicken and Goat: Domesticated animals that are raised for consumption but are less common compared to fish and bushmeat.


  • Bananas and Plantains: Consumed both ripe and unripe, often boiled or fried.
  • Papaya and Mango: Also commonly consumed fruits.
  • Wild Fruits: Collected from forests and consumed seasonally.


  • Okra, Spinach, and Tomatoes: Grown locally and often used in stews.
  • Yams and Sweet Potatoes: Often boiled or roasted.


  • Groundnuts (Peanuts): Used in stews and sauces or eaten as snacks.
  • Beans: Also a source of protein, often mixed with rice or cornmeal.

Herbs and Spices:

  • Hot Peppers, Garlic, and Onions: Used to season a variety of dishes.


  • Palm Wine: A traditional alcoholic beverage.
  • Tea and Coffee: Consumed, but not as prevalent as in other parts of the world.

Sweets and Desserts:

  • Sugar Cane: Eaten raw or used to produce sugar.
  • Fruits: Often consumed as the primary form of dessert.

Historical Influences:

  • Indigenous Practices: Traditional methods of cooking include boiling, roasting, and stewing, often over open fires.
  • Colonial Influence: The French colonial period introduced foods like bread and French cooking methods, although these are less common in rural areas.
  • Trade Influence: Trade with neighboring countries has led to the introduction of new spices and foodstuffs over time.

Given the Central African Republic's rich natural resources and cultural diversity, the diet has seen a mix of both traditional and foreign foods. However, the core components—such as cassava, fish, and wild fruits and vegetables—have been consistent over the last 500 years. The ongoing conflicts and political instability in the region have had an impact on food security and availability in more recent times.

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