The foods eaten by the people of Madagascar

The cuisine of Madagascar has been influenced by a variety of cultures, including African, French, Indian, and Chinese, due to its unique position in the Indian Ocean and its complex history of colonization and trade. Over the past 500 years, these influences have been assimilated into a distinct culinary tradition.

Staple Foods

  1. Rice (Vary): The most important staple in Madagascar; often eaten three times a day.
  2. Root Vegetables: Cassava, taro, and sweet potatoes are common.
  3. Zebu Meat: Beef from zebu cattle is commonly eaten.


  1. Zebu: This type of cattle is indigenous to Madagascar and forms the basis of many meat dishes.
  2. Fish and Seafood: Being an island, Madagascar has a rich variety of fish and seafood.
  3. Poultry: Chicken and duck are relatively common.
  4. Pork: Less common than zebu and poultry but still consumed.

Vegetables and Fruits

  1. Tomatoes, Onions, and Garlic: Common ingredients in many dishes.
  2. Green Leafy Vegetables: Like anamamy (a local leafy green) and spinach.
  3. Fruits: Bananas, lychees, papayas, and guavas are common.

Legumes and Nuts

  1. Beans and Lentils: Often served as side dishes.
  2. Peanuts: Used in dishes and sauces.

Spices and Seasonings

  1. Vanilla: Madagascar is one of the world's largest producers of vanilla.
  2. Turmeric, Ginger, and Cinnamon: Commonly used in dishes.
  3. Chilies: Used to add heat, though Malagasy food is generally not very spicy.

Traditional Dishes

  1. Romazava: A stew made from greens, zebu meat, and sometimes shrimp or fish.
  2. Varanga: Fried or grilled meat, often served with a side of rice.
  3. Lasary: A chutney-like side dish made from vegetables or fruits.
  4. Koba: A dessert made from peanuts, sugar, and rice flour, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.

Sweets and Desserts

  1. Mofo (bread): Can be sweet or savory, flavored with ingredients like bananas or zebu meat.
  2. Ravitoto: Cassava leaves cooked with pork and coconut milk.
  3. Bonbon Anglais: A colorful layered gelatin dessert.


  1. Litchel: A lychee liqueur.
  2. Ranonapango: A drink made from rice.
  3. Coffee and Tea: Both are commonly consumed, often sweetened with sugar or honey.

Foreign Influences and Modern Foods

  1. French Influence: Dishes like baguettes and foie gras have been incorporated.
  2. Indian and Chinese Influence: The use of rice, certain spices, and techniques like stir-frying are reflective of these influences.
  3. Modern Cuisine: In urban areas, you can find global foods like pizza, burgers, and even sushi.

Madagascar's cuisine reflects its diverse history and the abundant natural resources found on the island. Over the past 500 years, it has evolved to include a wide range of flavors and ingredients, making it a unique and fascinating culinary tradition.

Back to blog

For those eating a modern diet, we recommend adding the below vitamins to your daily routine.