The Foods eaten by the people of Djibouti

Djibouti's culinary history reflects its geopolitical location, serving as a crossroads of various cultures including Somali, Afar, Yemeni, and French influences. Over the past 500 years, the people of Djibouti have relied heavily on a diet that can sustain them in a hot, arid climate. However, it's worth noting that much of the historical record on Djibouti's traditional cuisine is limited.


  • Rice: Often served with meat or vegetable stews.
  • Sorghum and Millet: These grains are native to the region and are used in various dishes.
  • Injera: A sourdough flatbread made of teff or other grains, borrowed from Ethiopian cuisine.


  • Goat and Camel Meat: Commonly consumed, either grilled or in stews.
  • Fish: Given Djibouti's proximity to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, fish is an essential part of the diet.
  • Chicken: Less commonly consumed but still part of the diet, usually in stews or grilled.

Vegetables and Legumes:

  • Lentils and Chickpeas: Often cooked into stews or made into sides.
  • Tomatoes, Onions, and Peppers: These form the base for many sauces and stews.


  • Bananas: Often eaten fresh or sometimes cooked.
  • Dates and Figs: Consumed fresh or dried, these fruits are a natural source of sugar in the diet.


  • Cardamom, Cinnamon, and Cumin: These are among the spices commonly used, influenced by trade with the Middle East and South Asia.
  • Berbere: A spice mix that includes chili peppers, garlic, and ginger, among others, borrowed from Ethiopian cuisine.


  • Tea and Coffee: Consumed throughout the day, often spiced with cardamom or ginger.
  • Jus de Fruit: Fruit juices are popular, especially in urban areas.

Traditional Dishes:

  • Skoudehkaris: A rice and meat dish often considered the national dish of Djibouti.
  • Fah-fah: A spicy soup made with meat, often goat or camel.
  • Sambusas: Fried pastry filled with meat or lentils, similar to Indian samosas, likely influenced by Arab traders.

Historical Influences:

  • Arab Traders: The spice route brought a variety of flavors and techniques to Djibouti.
  • French Colonial Rule: Introduced French cooking techniques and ingredients like bread and pastries, which are now quite popular.
  • East African Influence: Due to its proximity to Ethiopia and Somalia, similar food items like injera and various stews are common.

Modern Influences:

  • Globalization: As with many other countries, global food chains and international cuisine have started to appear, especially in the capital, Djibouti City.

The diet in Djibouti is shaped by its harsh environment, historical trade routes, and colonial influences, resulting in a cuisine that, while not as diverse as some, offers a unique blend of tastes and flavors.

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