Djibouti’s cuisine is heavily influenced by its neighbors Ethiopia, Somalia, and Yemen, as well as its former occupier France and, to a lesser extent, India. As a stop on the old Spice Road that led to Timbuktu, the country has a variety of dishes that are as distinct as their origin. Here is our selection of the best traditional Djiboutian dishes you must try.
Traditional Djiboutian Dishes You Need to Try
Although Djibouti’s coastal location is much envied by neighbor Ethiopia, Djiboutians are originally nomadic and pastoral people, and thus prefer camel, goat, and lamb meat over seafood and fish. If you’re not a vegetarian, you must try fah-fah, a traditional Djiboutian stew made with goat meat, vegetables, and chilies that can also be made with camel or lamb meat. To soak up the stew sauce, this dish is typically served with canjeero, a sponge-like bread.
Djiboutian banana fritters
This is one sweet treat that will not let you down in Djibouti. You’ll probably try them as beignet de bananes with cinnamon in restaurants throughout Djibouti city, but you really have to try the original recipe, which uses no milk or eggs and only ripe bananas, flour, and a pinch of nutmeg. The mini fritters are usually served warm, dusted with powdered sugar or honey.
Laxoox, or galettes Djiboutiennes
Laxoox, which is similar to canjeroo or Ethiopian injera, is the staple of every meal in Djibouti. Laxoox, pronounced ‘lahooh,’ is one of the few foods shared by Djibouti and its neighbors, Ethiopia and Somalia. Laxoox gets its spongy texture from little holes that form on the top when cooking, and is best made with teff flour and sweetened water and cooked until golden on the bottom. It is a very nutritious flatbread that can be served with runny butter or honey to start the day, or it can be dipped in dishes like loqmad, a meat stew, or misir wat, a red lentil sauce.
Samosas, or samosas as they are known in Djibouti, are ideal appetizers to begin a meal, as the locals used to do. Samosas are made from thin slices of dough that are wrapped and fried before being stuffed with minced meat, onions, and vegetables. In Djibouti, samosas are typically served with a tomato paste sauce. As well as grated vegetables. Some people like to eat them with hot harissa or chili sauce.
One of the best traditional Djiboutian dishes, Cinnamon bananas are one of the most popular desserts in Djibouti’s restaurants. They are not traditional pies because they do not contain eggs or milk and only bananas, flour, and a pinch of nutmeg. The pancakes are cooked by frying them in oil until they are golden brown and served. After being sprayed with cinnamon powder, some people like to eat it with a pinch of sugar powder, while others like it dipped in honey. It is served on the breakfast menu in some restaurants as a light meal with a morning drink, as some people prefer in Djibouti.
The Djibouti mutton broth is one of the most well-known and distinctive dishes in the popular Djibouti cuisine. The mutton broth is made with rice cooked in lamb soup, spices, and overwhelmed cardamom leaves, as well as small pieces of mutton. On the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, whether it is a meal in a restaurant or family spirits at home. The lamb broth is served with sponge Djibouti bread, a green cabbage salad, and a fresh butter sauce. Some people prefer to substitute beef, chicken, or fish for mutton.
Sweet Cakes – xalwo
Sweet cakes are one of the official desserts served at weddings and official holiday celebrations in Djibouti. Sweet cakes are made from dough that has been mixed with milk and vanilla, stuffed with Ajou, and decorated with sesame seeds, and then baked until golden and ripe. Some people like to add flavors to their dough, such as coffee, cinnamon, cardamom, or cloves. Sweet cakes are sometimes served with a pinch of sugar powder and are usually served with a cup of tea or coffee.
The meat dough dish is reminiscent of a Moroccan Muslim meal. It is a well-known dish in Djibouti. The meat dough is made of flour, water, and salt and is cut into squares before being stuffed with minced meat or chicken with onions. Instead of rolled bread, this dough can be used to make quick tuna sandwiches without the addition of meat. For breakfast or dinner, some people prefer cutting out meat and dough with honey and butter.