The Foods eaten by the people of Burkina Faso

The diet of Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa, has evolved over the past 500 years but has remained largely based on locally available ingredients and traditional cooking methods. Influenced by ethnic diversity, climate, and agriculture, the country's cuisine mainly consists of grains, legumes, vegetables, and some animal protein. Here are some of the foods that have been part of the Burkina Faso diet over the last 500 years:

Grains and Starches:

  • Millet and Sorghum: These have been staple grains for centuries, often ground into flour and made into a porridge called "tô."
  • Maize (Corn): Also consumed, often as porridge or grilled.
  • Rice: Increasingly popular but not as traditional as millet or sorghum.
  • Yam and Cassava: Root vegetables that are consumed, often boiled or fried.


  • Chicken and Guinea Fowl: Common sources of animal protein, often grilled or used in stews.
  • Fish: Consumed in areas near rivers and water bodies.
  • Goat and Sheep: Consumed but less frequently, usually during special occasions.
  • Beans and Lentils: Important plant-based sources of protein.


  • Okra: A common ingredient used in soups and stews.
  • Tomatoes, Onions, and Peppers: Commonly used in various dishes.
  • Leafy Greens: Such as amaranth and moringa leaves, are used in stews and soups.


  • Mangoes, Papayas, and Bananas: Commonly consumed when in season.
  • Shea Fruit: The nuts are processed to make shea butter, used both for cooking and skincare.

Herbs and Spices:

  • Hot Peppers: Like Scotch bonnet, are used to spice up dishes.
  • Ginger and Garlic: Used for flavoring in many dishes.
  • Coriander and Parsley: Occasionally used for seasoning.

Fats and Oils:

  • Palm Oil: A common cooking oil.
  • Shea Butter: Also used for cooking in some regions.


  • Water: The most commonly consumed beverage.
  • Millet Beer: Known locally as "dolo," consumed traditionally.
  • Tea and Coffee: Consumed but not as traditionally significant.

Colonial and Modern Influences:

  • Bread: Has become more common, especially in urban areas, due to French colonial influence.
  • Soda and Packaged Snacks: Have become more prevalent with globalization.

The diet of Burkina Faso has largely been shaped by the need to make the most of locally available resources. With a predominantly agricultural economy, many traditional dishes are plant-based with occasional animal protein. The cuisine is often simple but rich in flavors, using various herbs and spices to add complexity to the dishes. Over time, influences from trade, colonialism, and globalization have introduced new foods, but many traditional dishes and ingredients continue to hold a central place in the diet.

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