Street Eats: The Heartbeat of Dakar
Senegal is foodie heaven. Locals and visitors alike can happily get their grub on in every nook and cranny of this West African nation. However, for the time crunched traveler, look no further than Senegal’s capital city of Dakar for a taste of what’s on offer.
The tried and true adage to “eat with pleasure and culture” exemplifies Senegalese cuisine and the unique characters behind every delicious dish. French, Wolof, and North African cooking all converge on this thriving metropolis. Go ahead, take a bite.
1. Tangana Chez
Tanganas can be found on every street corner of Dakar. It’s the place where many Senegalese start their day. Typical fare is a buttered baguette stuffed with beef, egg, boiled potatoes and seasoning wrapped in newspaper to go. A glass of piping hot coffee with condensed milk tops off an oh-so-delicious, yet practical meal.
2. Kermel Market
A gathering place of epic proportions. This popular covered market includes tightly packed rows of vendor stalls selling a cornucopia of food products. From hot orange peppers, okra and tomatoes, to peanut paste, shrimp and lobster, this marché has it all and then some.
3. Café Touba
Flavored with cloves and a distinct African kick, café Touba is an ideal pick-me-up any time of day. Named for the holy city of Touba, this coffee was traditionally consumed by the Islamic Mouride brotherhood, but today is ubiquitous with Dakar’s street scene. Find a roving coffee cart vendor and get your drink on.
4. Le Must Restaurant
On the opposite end of the spectrum exists gourmet dining that caters to an increasingly high-end foodie clientele. Enter Le Must Restaurant, the swanky alternative to Dakar street food. Chef Tamsir gives classic West African dishes a contemporary flare while keeping the atmosphere relaxed and sultry.
5. Beachfront dining
Dakar is surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic so seafood menu items are a no-brainer. Fish is also a key source of protein in the Senegalese diet. As you can imagine, demand is high, but the ocean provides. Common hauls include prawn, lobster, sea urchin, grouper, and much more.